Being assistant choreographer this year was tons of fun! I got to experience a side of the theater program that I hadn’t seen before. A typical day for me working on Legally Blonde consists of me coming up with choreography in my room or dining room, basically anywhere I can find a mirror. I will also take any break I have at my outside of school dance studio to work on choreography, if I’m not doing homework.
This year I had the opportunity to choreograph the "Bend and Snap.” It was challenging coming up with choreography that would work not only for every person in the number, but for the stage, and for musical theater in general. I’ve never had to choreograph a musical theater piece, so I never really have to think about the fact that people will be singing while dancing. So this year I learned a lot about choreography and about working through certain challenges. The other obstacle I came across was the fact that every dancer has different skill levels and styles, so I realized that I couldn’t just choreograph things that I know that I can do well, which is my general strategy when I choreograph pieces.
There are many, many talented dancers in the program, but it’s important to realize that they all come from different backgrounds dance wise. My favorite things to do in my dances are turns and leaps, because those are my strong suits, but I learned that it may not be the strongest points for everyone else. After realizing that, and getting familiar with the group as a whole, and what they’re capable of, I was able to tweak the dances.
Another part of the process that I hadn’t been quite prepared for was working on spacing. The set created problems with dancing because a lot of the choreography required traveling, but the space was extremely limited, so I also had to learn to work around that limitation. All in all, I learned a lot this year about choreographing and working with others. I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to do something like this again in the years to come!
-- Shannon Peters, '14