Less Choreography, More Dance

Less Choreography, More Dance

Have you been to a dance class that was supposed to be beginner-appropriate or all-levels, but the class progressed in a way that made you want to disappear?

Maybe you had fun the first few minutes when the sequence was short, but then the instructor moved on, and on, and on. With rapidly dwindling confidence, you were left stumbling in the wake of an ever-growing sequence. Perhaps physically you could have done it all, but you needed more time to really 'get it'. It was just too much to remember.

I've been there. In classes and in auditions, I've been there.

You can only stumble around, a count behind everyone else, for so long before you want to shrivel into the corner and become unseen.

When you’re new to a style or form (or even just with a new teacher), learning a lengthy complex piece of choreography (maybe alongside people much younger or more skilled than you) is daunting and often
disheartening. Based on what I've observed, the amount of choreography delivered in many dance classes leaves a LOT of people behind.

In my opinion, if you are still trying to remember the choreo during the last minutes of class, you're missing out on the joy of dancing, the part where the movement starts to carry you and you can transcend who you were when you arrived.

My message is this:

Dance Camp for Life

Dance Camp for Life

I survived B12 Festival (kind of).

As part of my continued efforts to be a student in immersive movement experiences of all different kinds, I signed Ken and I up for 10 days of workshops at Berlin’s premier contemporary dance festival, B12.

B12’s slogan is ‘Research or Die,’ so I thought it was safe to assume that workshops would involve a solid amount of exploration/creation/integration, but that was not really the case. Below is a summary of my experience and some insights on teaching:

Don't Wait for the Opportunity to Dance

Don't Wait for the Opportunity to Dance

Did you know I spent decades of my life *wishing* I had the courage to be fully IN my dance?  

Until my mid-twenties, I did the majority of my ‘dancing’ as a student in dance classes. As I learned and reviewed, I pushed myself, but I arely felt the dance was emanating from my body in a truthful way. 

In an attempt to feel more connected to my movement, I would remind myself of how much I love to dance. I would repeat versions of the phrase, "You want this, you live for this, don’t let this opportunity slip by."

Six Days of Surrender

Six Days of Surrender

A few weeks ago I attended the Brazilian Zouk retreat in Sagunto, Spain, led by Xandy Liberato. I suspected, when I impulsively registered, that I was diving into the deep end. Generally, when you choose to work closely with a master/innovator of a form, you should know something, or a lot of something, before you show up. I didn’t know anything about Brazilian Zouk except the superficial qualities I’d ascertained from watching Youtube vids. Some were really swirly and free, and some were really crotch-grindy. I liked the swirly ones.



It's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. This means people don't spend as much time outside. But, regardless of season, being outside is an important part of avoiding the winter blues, a.k.a., "SAD" (seasonal affective disorder). You know how winter can be de-motivating and glum? You don't want to move because you're cold, or it's dark?

During daylight, GO OUTSIDE. I'm using all caps not to yell, but to state my enthusiasm over this incredibly simple principle that most of us have forgotten.

I find that a few minutes outside leaves me focused and de-stressed. My postural muscles wake up. As a result, I work more effectively when I go back inside. 

Mirror Flow

Mirror Flow

I had just finished seven days of all-day teaching. After so much energy output, I always feel like I need to move for myself to recharge and reset. Becoming a couch vegetable does not work for me. I need foam roller time, floor time or nature time.

We were in a uniquely black dance studio and Ken put his camera on a tripod. We took turns doing some easy, full-song freestyles. He told me that the footage was super dark (which surprised me since the overhead lights were on), and that I was almost always in the far side of the frame (which is typical of me)

Training at Luna Salada Hotel de Sal

When you are in remote Bolivia, you either eat, spend time on the salt, or work it out in the hotel bar. I did lots of are some moments form my training in the only room with a wood floor in an otherwise completely salt-made hotel.

Filmed at Luna Salada Hotel de Sal.

Continuous Shoulder Pivots

Overhead view of continuous shoulder pivots. This technique is seen in contemporary dance and martial arts under a few different names. I love this movement because the head, arms, pelvis, legs and breath all play a constantly dynamic role. When one body part lags, the fluidity is lost.

Snow Movement

Warning: The following video is a simulation. Do not go outside in your knickers and attempt floor work in snow piles. Happy Valentine's Day. With love, Marlo

Special Thanks to Casey Reuter for volunteering the time to shoot and edit the video, and to Jessica Wilson-Silas for her camera work.