Juicing Creative Juices

By: Chelle Reay

Every artist under the sun has gone through a creative block at one point or another. For me it has been too many times to count. It can be so disheartening and can smother what little inspiration you have left! So I have compiled a list of my favorite choreographic tasks to get the juices flowing! Let’s create people!

P.S. This blog post comes during a state of quarantine so even if you don’t have a choreographic deadline these are great for a creative movement jam sesh! (And will perhaps tucker out those stir crazy kiddos!) 

Mona Lisa Dance: Head to a Museum (or your Google app) and gaze at some beautiful art! Imitate gestures or poses, abstract lines and shapes, or even the motion of brush strokes! Stand in front of a painting and pretend to paint it using large motions, following the strokes, lines, splatters, and smears. Paint with your nose, hips, knee, ear, or belly button! Find a statue and improvise movement that is the opposite of the statues echo (a duet you might say). There’s no better inspiration than other artist’s work! 

Room Twister: Write body parts on different slips of paper (elbow, heel, head, knee, etc.), put them in a bowl. Then write parts of the room on different slips of paper (clock, window, chair, floor, etc.), put them in a separate bowl. Draw a body part slip (let’s say you draw elbow), and then draw a room slip (let’s say you draw floor), so then you would put your elbow to the floor or motion towards the floor. Continue to draw slips and correlate the body parts with spots in the room. Piece them all together to make a movement phrase! You can add your own transitions if you prefer, but I find it more interesting and challenging when tack them together and see what happens! 

Story Time: Grab your favorite children’s book and act out the story! I suggest acting out a page, then turning that into 1 abstract movement. You can also copy a shape on the page and add movement to it. Do this for each page and voila! You have a movement phrase! This is a good one to do with kiddos! 

Volleyball on the Moon: Write down random and nonsensical actions down on a paper (it’s a little more interesting to have a friend come up with them), and create abstract versions of the actions and piece them together. Some examples: play volleyball on the moon, scramble really thick eggs, roll a bowling ball down your body, swim in a cloud, bounce a ball with your elbows, dodge hot rain. Go wild! 

The Genius Novice: This one is one of my favorites because I always end up laughing on the floor. I have my husband improv dance for me (I tell him to do ballet or modern) and I try to imitate what he’s doing. I keep the movements I like and piece together a phrase. He’s not a dancer so he’s not hindered by what’s “impressive” or “beautiful” so his movements are so unique and sometimes truly hilarious. Here’s to hoping y’all have someone in your life goofy enough to go for it! 

Walkabout: Take a walk outside and be inspired! Imitate the motion of the trees, the staccato rhythm of a squirrel, the subtle gestures of pedestrians, the shape of a rock, the swirl of running water, the rush of wind, or the flapping wings of a bird. Yes you get some raised eyebrows from strangers, but MAN is it invigorating! If the notion of “outside” is too broad or overwhelming you can give yourself some restrictions such as, only imitate things that are the color green, or only imitate living things or only create movement from the sounds you hear. The sky’s the limit!