Back in the dark ages of the Annual Show, I wrote the whole thing. Then as the years went by I wrote less and less. The past few years I haven’t written a student routine and left all that choreo to my amazing staff. This year a group of students asked if we could do a 40+ routine and if I’d write it as I am one of the only 40+ members of staff so I came out of choreography retirement to write a student routine this year. The goal for a student routine is that they have an amazing time and feel successful. That is everything you want when creating it. It is challenging to walk the line making it difficult enough that they work at it but also do-able enough that they will NAIL IT on show day.
Let me tell you, it is HARD work writing a student show routine. The first step to a great routine is a great song choice. It has to speak to you and you have to have a vision for it when listening to it. For me, the song choice came quickly. But when I went to buy the song off iTunes to edit it to length the original version wasn’t available, just a newer version. I bought it and figured it would be fine, afterall it was the same basic song. But I couldn’t get excited about the new version. I kept trying to choreo and kept hitting an inspiration wall. So while sitting in the airport having a meltdown that I couldn’t write the routine, I wrote Instructor Alison and sent her the YouTube of my original song and asked if she could make some magic happen so I could use THAT version. SHE DID. (she’s a magical unicorn with amazing editing and sound skills!) Once I got the correct version of the song, I started to feel inspired!
Writing doubles is tricky. You have ideas in your head with two humans that then don’t actually work for two humans! So I asked Instructor Kim to do a choreo session with me. We met. Tried stuff. Laughed. And created. It is so helpful to have another body and another creative mind when building a routine. We started by blocking out the song: doubles sequence here, individual solos here, floor work here, big dance group here, etc. Then taking into account what the women in my routine had told me they loved, we created our big doubles sequences. Then freedanced to sections to find the right movement for the right music.
When I type it out like that, it sounds simple; You follow the formula and magic happens! But that isn’t it. You agonize. You worry. You put off going to the studio to try to write it because you think maybe you’re a fraud and won’t be able to. Yes, me, the person who wrote the whole show for years was thinking maybe I’m not good enough to write a routine this year. Imposter syndrome is so real in the heads of all of us. You spend so much time thinking about it and panicking about it. The good news is that when you finally set a deadline and drag yourself to the studio to actually write it, you aren’t an imposter and you CAN do this.
Students as you get ready to perform, love on your instructor. She worked hard and agonized over what she brought to you. All she wants is for you to feel amazing at the end of November 13th.