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COLLABORATIVE COMPOSITION

The dancers and musicians (and sometimes other artists) of American Creative Dance use a collaborative process to compose.  This process requires that all the artists contribute to the composition, but it also means that the work is collective, not just the creation of one person.

This is actually both a very exciting and a very scary undertaking.  One of the members of this company said that she felt as though she were jumping off a cliff in every rehearsal and every performance for a year!  Once, when the dancers asked a singer to use words in her accompaniment, she was so terrified at first that she could not proceed.  One of the dancers reminded her that she sings opera and oratorio regularly and brilliantly and those have words.  Her response was, “Yes, but I just read the words, I don't make them up.”  Even performers like that one, who long for the opportunity to do this kind of work can be daunted by it.  Most performers have little if any experience creating the work they perform, much less doing so as they perform it.

Not all performing artists want to do this kind of work.  But some do.  And those who do, even though they find it scary, long for the freedom to create.  Another of our performers watching some rehearsal tape one day remarked that he had wanted to be in a dance company like this all his life.


Curtain Call

Usually our creative process begins with group discussion and decisions about what creative problems to solve.  The dancers have to identify which elements of movement (time, space, force) will be needed, what shades of those elements.  Usually at least a preliminary sequence of elements is determined at this stage of planning.  The musicians must identify the sounds that accompany those kinds of movement.  If there are other artists involved in the project, they may want to think about how they will create visual images or text appropriate for the work under construction.

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