best in show?

This year, Emory Swing Club once again showed its face at Best In Show. I’d never participated in the event before, but I remember it had been the highlight of the first few days when I was a freshman, so I was pretty excited. Anne asked me at the beginning of summer if I’d help choreograph the piece, and I wholeheartedly agreed…without really realizing what I was getting myself into.

Choreography is hard. I knew that, honestly — I mean, I’ve gotten a little bit of experience from the Flying Biscuits, and I know it’s a challenge. But in that situation, I’ve never been the best dancer, I’ve never had experience choreographing, and I’ve never been expected to think of fantastic moves off the top of my head. I can contribute to choreography, but I have a hard time starting it, and a harder time figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. So this was hard — not only was I the most experienced dancer in the piece, I was also the only one with any sort of choreography or performance experience. There was a lot of pressure.

More than that, I had to choreograph a piece that was comprised almost entirely of six count moves — and considering my love for swingouts and awesome little variations, that was hard! Anne, thankfully, was there to keep me in line and reprimand me when I was planning out a choreography which would be too hard for the level of dancers we had. I was able to convince her that jump charleston, the “tango” move, and a babydoll weren’t too hard…but that was really as complicated as we could get!

Anne and I had two intensive days of choreography during the week, and on Sunday morning, we ran through everything and made sure it work while trying to figure out the counts so we could teach it. That afternoon, we spent four hours teaching the choreography…and I’ve never even taught a group before! Not in a setting like this, where have to teach counts (instead of what I usually say: rock step, step-step, and yeah!) and have to figure out the pace that we can move at. I also don’t quite have the vocabulary necessary to teach the moves that I wanted to teach — I’ve just never had the need to learn it! So, the day was fraught with me trying to get across how to do a move and trying to explain it five different ways before finally, one way clicked. After four hours, we were spent. (More thoughts on teaching another time, if I remember to write it all down.)

That night, I choreographed some more with Matt for our solo, and we kept it simple and fun. And then the next day, Anne ran over the choreography with Koren (the guy?), who hadn’t had the opportunity to learn it the day before. And then the next day, we ran over it a few more times and finally performed it. Talk about your whirlwind choreograph-practice-perform!

I was super nervous that it would be too long / complex for everyone to remember and that we’d all just forget in the middle and run around like chickens with our heads cut off, and then I would be left alone doing some fishtails, boogie forwards, and apple jacks until the end of the song while my teammates cowered in the corner, scared of the 1200-ish freshmen who were booing me off stage…

Thankfully, it actually went quite well. And I have proof!

Some other minor updates:

1. My father is doing much better. He’s moved to the North Fulton Rehab facility, and they’ve said he’ll probably be out by next Thursday. He’s regaining the ability to walk without worrying about balance, and they’re finally figuring out the right dosage for his heart medication, so he feels considerably better.

2. School has started back up. Whoo…? It’s pretty normal. I mean, it’s boring and time-consuming and annoying, and I’d really rather just be working so I could make money, but that’s not gonna happen until after I graduate. So for now, I appreciate that all my teachers are nice and reasonable and that the class subjects actually seem interesting


3 thoughts on “best in show?

  1. My dance background was exclusively in choreography. The concept of lead/follow was completely foreign to me when I started.

    I’ve said this before, but the piece was lovely, and I was impressed. Especially because you didn’t do what I did a few years ago, and borrow all your leads from the community. :)

  2. Thanks, Tonia. <3 I was really proud of it — I actually had much lower expectations, haha, mostly because I had no experience choreographing / teaching anything before…it was fun. :)

  3. Pingback: dance posts: reference / archive | The Lindy Affair

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