Friday, June 29, 2012

Movie-Inspired Choreography


Summer days like this remind me of one of my favorite movies:  Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl. The first time I saw it in June of 2003 I was not only drawn in by the action and fast pace but also fascinated by the strong themes and flow of the script and story.

I had to see it again. I went with another friend a month later.  

Then, I went with a group of teenagers, and we dressed in costumes - eye patches, scarves, boots, gold medallions.  

I was obsessed!  I spent bright sunny days by myself in obscure little theatres just to see it again. Each time I watched it, I saw something different, something new. At the same I wondered why I was so fascinated by this movie.  I bought the soundtrack and the music was on my mind constantly.  And, yet I still wanted to see it again.  My teenage friend teased me, "You just want to go again so you can ogle Johnny Depp!" 

Eventually I realized that I needed to choreograph a dance to the music.  Really?  I was supposed to teach a class in the fall, and I already had another song picked out.  I had planned to do a sword dance.  (The sword = the Word of God.)  But the only music playing in my head were the themes from Pirates, and I really didn't think that would go over very well with my class, especially for use in a church setting!
So, in the end, I decided I'd allow myself to play for an hour and do some choreography using different sections of the music along with narrated passages from the Bible.  Two hours later, I was still working on it, and thinking - OMG I think this might actually work.  
After I finished the dance, I went to the movie one more time.  There, I sat in the dark, grinning about the new levels and new meaning I had created, and how much the spiritual themes were connected to the action on the screen.  When the final credits rolled, I felt a huge satisfaction and knew that I didn't need to see the movie anymore. 

I had 19 people in my class that fall.  They were all excited about the dance and worked really hard to make sure they learned all of the movements.  We performed that dance for many audiences, in several churches and at different conferences.  It was very well received.   

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