The stage, the lights, the public, the energy, the nerves, the excitement, the doubt, the waiting combined with impatience, it is a rollercoaster of emotions. And it is this rollercoaster we go through before show-time, which we used to do every weekend. And I love it. And boy, do I miss it now. But it is not just the performing that I love and miss. It is also this whole process and progress leading to the show.
In the first blog I already wrote about our very first Bachata Passion couple show, Eres Tu. And since that start we have made a lot of different shows not just for us as a couple, but also for all the Bachata Passion teams. Today I will take you on the journey of creating a BP show and getting it ready for showtime!
Where to start?
We make the shows with a specific team in mind, we know who is going to dance it and want to make sure that it fits. So first we think of what kind of show we want to make. Is it going to be more Sensual or Dominican, a fast-energetic song, a more romantic song or maybe a more dramatic song? We try to plan this among all the teams, to create different experiences / feelings for all the shows. So, per year each team & show has their own character.
The song is where it all starts. Therefore, we prefer not to mix multiple songs in 1 show, because we want to use the story and the feeling of the song and reflect that in the show. After we pick a song we start with the ideas for the dance.
Creating the actual choreography goes in parts. First, we determine the build-up of the song, making a mix of the song with all the parts we would love to include. From this mix we decide which parts are going to be partnering, footwork, stunts, etc. Then we usually make a part of the choreography and we teach/train it with the team. We never make a full choreography and then start training. Why in this order? Because training the first part of the show gives us the opportunity to really feel the song, and experience how it feels to dance this. From this we usually get a lot more inspiration to continue creating.
Inspiration for the Choreography
For stunts we usually look at other dance styles for inspiration, or we work with the stunts we have and then try to create new endings with the technique we have. This goes with a lot of falling, practicing, failing, and trying again. Bruises for the ladies, sore muscles for the guys.
For me, I love creating the footwork parts. They are usually a challenge to create because of all the musicality we want to show. Most of the time we create this by first analysing what instruments we hear and want to catch and then just improvising on the song. One of us watches, the other improvises. And we take the parts we like and combine them.
For the partnering parts we usually take most of the time because we analyse and discuss the song first. Do we want to focus on the lyrics, or do we prefer to catch a certain instrument? We always keep discussing how we can add showy elements while still staying true to Bachata. For us, a Bachata show needs real Bachata elements, basics, figures and true leading & following. So, this is always the struggle to maintain that in each show. Usually Geno and I create the foundation of the figures, and once we start practicing together with the teams everyone has input on styling and finishing touches. This is the great part of working with teams, everyone has different backgrounds and ideas to add to the show and we try to incorporate them all shows.
Practice, practice, practice
Once we have a full choreography then the team positions & lines come into play. Until the full choreography is finished, we always train without positions. Everyone trains with everyone from the team, so that we are not dependant on specific couples or positions. Once the choreography is almost finished, we start making lines, switches, and changes. Deciding who starts where, which dancers share a position and most importantly which dancers must do stunts together.
And then we practice, and practice, and practice. Because as a team the most important thing is to practice together, really learn how to feel the music & the choreography in the same way as your teammates. For us this is key. Perform together! Watch each other, adapt, work together and really perform as a team. This means that the team comes first. No focus on personal ego or accomplishments but making sure we perform and enjoy together.
Progress & pushing your limits
It is always so great to see that the combinations, stunts, footworks that we made come to life. And to realize as a dancer that something you could not do when we started training, now is a solid part of the show. It is exactly this progress that I love of shows. Pushing my limits and those of our team members. Showing that with hard work you can put on a show you never thought you could. But being ready in practice is something completely different than performing on stage. This is a whole different adrenaline rush, which I will dive into next Blog!
I started writing this blog article after a question by Diana, I hope this gives you a peak behind the scenes of how we create shows. But now I am curious of course: What do you enjoy most about the process of creating / learning / performing a show? If you have no experience yet, is this something you would like to do eventually? Let me know in the comments! We are starting our choreo challenges again this week, so if you would like a first experience with shows this is YOUR CHANCE! Message me if you would like to join a partnering or Ladystyling choreo challenge we will send you all the info!