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 Post subject: choreographing for new audiences
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:24 pm
Posts: 1
Hi, I'm writing a research project about creating and developing audiences for dance. The project is mostly about funding/marketing/educating but I would like to include a little about the creative process.
If anyone has any ideas about what things a choreographer would think about when devising a new piece (contemporary/ballet/or any kind of dance really!) specifically aimed at an audience with little or no experience of dance I would love to hear about them!

 Post subject: research
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:10 pm 
My current research is on the area of dance making - however early days at the moment! There is a book available in Australia called "Thinking in Four Dimensions" by McKechnie, Grove, Stevens ( I think it's published by Melbourne University Press), which covers the area of process. The authors have also researched the level of enjoyment the audience experiences when watching dance. It could be relevent to what you are doing.

 Post subject: Strong
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:16 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
Personally, I think the classical dance is so strong, that any decent variation or pas de deux, if danced with technique, true detail and emotion, will suffice to get the attention and interest even of the most complete neophyte.

And even where there be lacking costly sets, lighting and costume.

Frederick Ashton, then nine years old, saw Anna Pavlova dance in a small, ramshackle, poorly-lighted theatre in Peru for about ten minutes, and went on to devote his entire life to the art form.

So it's very strong meat, if you have the stomach for it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
We'll have to agree to differ, Katherine. While ballet is a great art form and excites many on a first viewing, it remains a closed book for perhaps a majority of the general population in the Anglo-Saxon world. As evidence, I would offer my attempts to take corporate guests to ballet performances and the negative reactions that resulted. The fact is that this stylised form needs decoding and for many it remains a closed book.

In terms of attracting non-dance audienaces, two forms spring to mind:

- Matthew Bourne's contemporary dance theatre presentations, featuring humour, understandable narrative and emotional clout, do bring in non-dance audiences. Indeed, Bourne has said that this is his aim. When his contemporary dance "Swan Lake" came to London's West End, more than one of those interviewed post-show said that they were not attracted to ballet, but this had kept their attention.

- The other style that I have seen attract non-dance (and dance) audiences is hip-hop/street dance. With its energy and sensational moves, it usually creates a stir in a theatre environment. The problem comes in sustaining interest over more than say 15 minutes, although groups such as Renee Harris and Compagnie Kafig are well on the way to achieving this.

The most general point in dealing with non-dance audiences, is to remember that they will not be used to decoding dance symbology, so keep it simple.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 6
I've personally always kept the audience in mind when choreographing. My background is in ballet but i've opted for a lot of commercial hip hop/jazz/pop type dancing and have gotted quite a reaction. Another audience pleaser is using humor! I did a small ballet on a male 'player' it was hilarious... got a huge reaction. Just something that the untrained eye can understand - people like to come away from a performance feeling that they 'understood' the dance.

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