I interviewed for another high school musical choreography job yesterday. I really hope I get it, but they have one of the most intense rehearsal schedules I’ve ever seen. And with my already crazy schedule, they may not be compatible. Which would make me sad, as I’d really like to work with this creative group of people on one of my all-time favorite shows...stay tuned!
One thing I’ve come to find about high schools is, while they have high expectations of their shows, the same doesn’t always apply to dance. They hire pros for direction, music direction, even tech. But they often find it acceptable to use dance from a video or have a student choreograph the production.
I’m not entirely certain why this is, but I have a few thoughts:
- People simply don’t have enough knowledge of dance as an art form to understand what goes into creating and teaching it. Therefore, they don’t realize the difference between a professional person and a video or student.
- Corollary- Most people don’t know the difference between dance for stage shows and dance for a recital. Often they recognize it when the see it, but they wouldn’t be able to describe it or ask for it. Dance for stage is a totally different animal than dance for recital. It has to serve the story.
- Dance is the element that goes with everything else, i.e., it goes with the songs they’ve already learned, that fits into the scenes they’ve already learned. Therefore, those two elements are more important.
- Corollary- Money and time should be spent on songs and scenes, then whatever is leftover can be used for dance. Often what’s leftover isn’t enough to pay a professional, or time to rehearsal a quality piece.
If you’ve got more ideas on this, I’d love to hear them!
I applaud the Cappies program for getting schools to step up in this area. A little bit of competition is a healthy thing. I think this organization is a big reason why more schools, at least in my area, are trying to bolster the dancing in their productions.
I am passionate about creating great dance, for all ages, in all settings. That’s part of why I love teaching high school. They are at an age where they can understand the difference between dance as art, and dance as steps.
If they are involved in theatre, they love it. They are working it in around jobs, school work and college visits. They want to be there, they want to perform. We do them a disservice every time we ask less of them than professionalism in all aspects of theatre.
Again, if you have thoughts on this topic, please share!