While I was in Tallinn last weekend I stumbled across a performing arts degree show – three choreographers demonstrating their wares for friends, family, tutors and punters like me (albeit not many from the UK, I’d guess).
It was intriguing to see some examples of ‘student choreography’ – a change for me, since in my work I’m privileged to have the opportunity to see dancing at the very highest level, crafted by seasoned professionals who’ve worked their way up the ranks.
It all starts somewhere though…just maybe in a performance room in a university in Estonia, one of the smallest countries in the world (pop. 1.2m).
There were three performances, of varying quality and interest if I’m honest (the droopiness of my travel mate’s eyelids acting as one measure of this) but all quite fun in their own way.
One thing I really clocked that evening was the importance of choreographing the WHOLE piece; you don’t look at a painting and observe the brush strokes individually, you look at the effect of the whole work. In the same way you don’t just look at individual elements of dance in assessing its overall success, you look at the impact of the whole thing.
The whole is more than the sum of the parts.
How to put this diplomatically? I think that some of the choreography students hadn’t taken that on board, particularly in the case of one piece that was overlong to the point of self-indulgence. (Eyelid measure: completely shut for a sustained period.)
But it’s easy to be critical, particularly from a standpoint of almost complete ignorance, so I should say that actually they all did a good job – can’t be easy putting yourself on show like that for 10, 15, 30 minutes.
Hästi tehtud, one and all.