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  1. #1
    V.I.P. alosha's Avatar
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    Default Mislabeling a performance

    So what do you do when a dancer says that her performance was improvised, when you know it wasn't because you've seen her perform the same routine previously?

    To be labeled as improvised does the whole piece need to be, or just a tiny bit (about 30 sec) ?

    Argh.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    That's an interesting question - sometimes depending on the piece, i have a general framework for a choreography; i might choreograph the landmark segments of the music and have general ideas of movement for the rest which change each time i perform it.

    I guess whether i call it improvised or not depends on how long and frequent the landmark segments are. If there's only one and it's not too long, i'll call it improv, if there are a couple and they take up at least a minute of the song then i'm not so inclined to call it improv.
    Last edited by Mya; 05-25-2009 at 05:46 PM. Reason: i used "choreography" as a verb - what a moron.

  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I never choreograph anything if I can help it, but after dancing to the same music a few dozen times, it is not unusual for me to repeat particular interpretations simply because they suit the music best. To my mind, choreographed dances result from carefully planned and counted movements to a certain piece of music. Interpretive dances are created as the music plays, though they are not completely re-created each time because the dancer is so familiar with the music.

    Lord, what a jumble of words. Does that make any sense at all? Sorry, but I just washed my mind and can't do a thing with it.

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    A dance can have a structure without it being a choreography.

    Most people who improvise have some structure in mind, at least a beginning, middle and end.

    Some people do just 'wing it'.

    If they are very skilled they get away with it, if they are not... then they looked like they 'winged it'.

    Being economical with the truth is another matter all together.

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    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    OK! well based on Caro's definition, i can probably comfortably say that i don't choreograph.

    I'm not fond of ambiguity myself.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. alosha's Avatar
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    To me improvised it 'mostly improvised'. I know that when you've listened to the music, you know that "this spot would be good for _____" and the like, and I am a huge fan of that. The problem is, this is a piece that she's done exactly the same, save for a few spots. I guess since it was improvised at one point, it's ok for her to say its an improvised solo? When I see something advertised at 'improvised' i think they're coming up with the majority on the spot and in the moment, which gives the performance that much more personality. With her, I think that's why she labeled it as such, so she gets "OMG you improvised that????" type comments.

    Just wanted to clarify for my own understanding, as I'm studying ATS, so improvised means "very much so" improvised to me.

  7. #7
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I don't know much about ATS, but it was my impression that dancers learn combinations and are guided by a lead dancer as to what combination is to be danced next in any given performance. Did I misunderstand?

    The ultimate improvisation, of course, is to dance to music you've never danced to before. As Caroline says, less skilled dancers will look like they are winging it while those with excellent improvisational skills will look as smooth as silk.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 05-25-2009 at 07:50 PM.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. alosha's Avatar
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    in ATS, you know the move, but not until they cue it, so you really don't know what to expect until it happens. But with a choreographed routine, you do a certain thing in a certain spot. So is it ok to call a choreography improvised if only a small bit of it is?

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    If it is music I know, then an improvised piece will have a structure in my head - I might abandon it on the day - but most times it will be similar. The actual bits that fill the blocks will vary on how I feel, what I have been recently working on, physical space, mood of the crowd, whether I'm going to interact with the audience etc. But I imagine if I improvise to the same music dozens of times it will get a sameness.

    Is this what you saw? Also, how good is your dance memory? I recently had a student that insisted she saw X performing a class choreography. She even remembered details of the costume. A quick flick of a video of the show in question revealed X performed a piece which included a Turkish walk with fists hitting hips. The class choreography included the same move - but nothing else was the same. No shared combos. Different music. But I know I'll have to show the video to my student before she'll believe me

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Default But is ATS really improv?

    Quote Originally Posted by alosha View Post
    in ATS, you know the move, but not until they cue it, so you really don't know what to expect until it happens. But with a choreographed routine, you do a certain thing in a certain spot. So is it ok to call a choreography improvised if only a small bit of it is?
    I'm always a little sceptical about ATS improv. As I understand, one person improvs the rest play follow the bouncing butt. Just like we do in Egyptian classes. Only in class the next move can be literally anything - we probably have never seen a breakdown of it and it may not be repeated.

    From friends who do ATS, I understand not only do they learn a set of acceptable moves - and cues - separately, but they also practice together like nothing else. Is this really improv? Not for the group obviously, but for the leader? First, the moves are pre-defined, the assembly has all sorts of rules, then they practice the same number for hours every week. I'd put money on the result, in most cases, is very similar from run to run. Yes, something new might be thrown in, but the point of all that rehearsal is to make sure the group is never surprised and unable to follow.

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