The Process Of Choreography (Part 2): Choreography and the Record Producer

The process of choreography is variable and complex, and several projects ‘ohana Dreamdance has done in the past year, along with the Tenth Anniversary of Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances, makes this a good time to talk about that process. Extensions Dance Company, who’s 2010 Showcase is on Saturday, May 29 at the Ruth Page Center For the Arts, will be performing Lizzie MacKenzie’s work “Time Now”, set to two ‘ohana Dreamdance tracks, “Time Now” and “Some Time”. We’ve just finished the choreography mix of our track “What Was Beyond” for Shayna Swanson’s brilliant aerial choreography and performance. Finally, Mollie Mock and Jeremy Blair’s enchanting work “Reflect”, set to our track “Hidden”, premiered at New Dances last year and has just completed it’s first year in the Thodos Dance Chicago repertoire.

But maybe I should explain how I got mixed up in all of this to begin with. I’m a record producer by trade, but like many mixer/producers, I’ve also spent a lot of time recording and mixing projects that I was not producing. Before the development of system-based recording, choreographers like Melissa Thodos had to find a recording studio to put together the music for their works, and that was my first exposure to the world of Dance.

Since the founding of Thodos Dance Chicago, and especially since the inception of their New Dances program, I’ve done the sound design for maybe a couple of hundred choregraphic works -- I wouldn’t know exactly how to count them all. My work with Thodos Dance gradually turned into a sort of specialized expertise in the very delicate process of putting music together for Dance Creation, and that led to my work with a number of talented choreographers, doing projects for a variety of different companies. With aotpr’s group ‘ohana Dreamdance I’ve also composed original scores for about a dozen original choreographic works, which is an even more intense journey into the mysterious world of Choreography, and the always remarkable mind of the Choreographer.

I should admit that in working with Dance I’ve often felt like an exchange student from another planet. Even after all of the projects I’ve worked on, I still sometimes feel that, although all of these new people -- these choreographers, and dancers, and artistic directors, and boards, and critics --- are a lot like the ones back in my own country (the land of making records), my, my, my, they sure see things differently sometimes. I have a pretty good idea why, but that’s the next article.

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