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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

BAM! A sudden burst of inspiration

So, in addition to really needing to get my arse into the studio [um, fail last night... *blushes in embarrassment*...], I also need to get on the ball with some choreography. Like now! It's "strongly suggested" that us dance majors choreograph a piece for each semester's Student Dance Concert. This is the concert I did my "Love Lockdown" piece for last semester (more about that here and here). So, I have that to get busy with that. AND, I have instructions to choreo a li'l swing ditty for Tour Company this year.

Most the summer I've been putting off the Tour choreo, saying I'll do it after Chicago. Welllll, it's well after Chicago and I don't even have a song picked. Cripes. Similar song and dance for the Student Concert choreo. Having a song to choreograph to is kinda crucial for me. Some people can start putting movement together and then put a song to it, but not me. I can only choreograph when I'm moved, and music is what moves me.

So, finding music for both has been on my mind, but I haven't had much luck... until this afternoon!

I was looking for something to listen to on iTunes while working, and noticed that a few people here in the building had their iTunes libraries on "share". So I jumped on one gal's library and started scrolling through. I was enjoying a lovely smorgasbord of AC/DC, Gnarls Barkley, Duran Duran, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, En Vogue, etc., when the Flobots came on. Ooh, the Flobots! If you don't know these guys, check 'em out on YouTube. For one, they're sweet; secondly, they're local to Denver; and C, one of the guys in the band is a hip hop dance friend from years ago... but I digress...

So, the Flobots' album is playing and one song in particular strikes a chord for me: "Anne Braden". The song is about a woman from the South who talks about fighting against lynchings. This piques my curiosity, as I'm ever-interested in anything related to Civil Rights... so I Google Anne Braden and find out that she was a real lady. She was a southern white women who fought against racism in the 1950's, at a time when it was very unbecoming of any white southerner to speak up about racism, much less a southern lady.

Then I suddenly remembered something I saw at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. Again, I'm very interested in Civil Rights history in this country, so while at the museum I told my friends that I had to go see the Civil Rights exhibit, to be sure to see displays about "my homeboy", Martin Luther King, Jr. (My friends thought this was hilarious, coming from their white friend). Well, while checking things out in the "Tracing the Civil Rights Movement" exhibit, I saw a display about the event that ignited the entire U.S. Civil Rights movement (according to my findings on the Internets today): the murder of Emmett Till.

Oh. My. God. The pictures in this exhibit were the most horrifying things I've ever seen. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I suddenly got hot, my head felt light and floaty, and I started crying right there. My friends had to steer me away because I was so traumatized. I won't outline the details here, but go look up Emmett Till on Google Images and see for yourself.

Long story short, I've been inspired to choreograph a piece for the Student Dance Concert based on my views about racial prejudice, hate crimes, civil rights and social justice in the great, noble US of A. Hearing that Flobot song, which triggered the memory of the Emmet Till exhibit and how profoundly horrifying it was... is the trigger I needed. Something that triggers an emotional response from deep inside is a creative catalyst for me. I have a really hard time creating something that doesn't have much heart behind it. It feels trite and fake. And I want to be proud of what I put on stage and what I do on stage. I don't know exactly what this piece will entail or how it will look yet, and I have no idea what music I'll use, but the ideas are starting to flow and take shape from the indecisive "I could do this... or this..." fog, a place I was floating around in just this morning.

Once the creative juices are let loose, it's like whitewater rafting on class-4 rapids... hold on tight, y'all!


  1. flbots are raaadddddddddd i went to school with the viola player

  2. you have no idea, I was such a fool, Our passions are so aligned and I have NO way to excursive them.I feel like my legs are buried in the ground. <--- ignore all that. Right now I am reading a very interesting book:

    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, Written By Himself

    It's about Olaudah Equiano, a slave captured in a field as a boy - he tells his own story about his hardships and eventual freedom. AMAZING so far. Maybe it would provide you a little more inspiration, it is public domain so its free, and they have audio: