Wondering where to find inspiration for choreography? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve been choreographing for as long as I can remember, but professionally for nearly ten years!
Finding inspiration for a creative practice is not a one-size-fits-all deal. It’s not even a one-size-fits-one-forever deal. You’re probably going to find inspiration in one place one day, and find it in a new place the next. That’s good! Creativity likes to keep artists on their toes and it’s good for you (the artist) to be ready for opportunities wherever they are.
So, where can you find inspiration for choreography?
Songs you hear.
This is my most common way of getting choreographic inspiration. I hear a song, I think “whoa, I LOVE this song!”, I Shazam it, and come back to it later for choreography.
The trick with this technique is to always be listening. You might hear that song on shuffle on Spotify, but you also might hear it in a TV commercial, at a restaurant, at a boutique, at the grocery store, in an elevator, the locker room, somebody else’s phone… Just always be ready to get struck with inspiration!
Other dance routines.
If you’re watching a performance, watch out for movement that you don’t normally try, or for accents in the music you don’t normally hit. Look for what’s different and try playing with that. And remember, stealing a single move is okay – that’s kind of how art works – but you can’t steal an entire combo or routine.
Learning from other choreographers is a great way to learn and grow, so if you have the chance to watch work by other artists, recognize it as the opportunity it truly is.
Maybe you just want to share your frustration with what’s happening in the world, or maybe you want to draw attention to something you think more people need to know about. Drawing from current events and putting it into movement is a great way for you to process your feelings, let your voice be heard in your best way, and perhaps make a difference!
Turn inward and ask yourself if you have any untold stories that need to be shared. They can be serious (tales of hardship), or simple (carefree childhood days). One thing that I’ve learned in my journey as a creative entrepreneur is that each person in this world is unique because even if we have similar experiences, we all have different ways to share those experiences. So if you want to choreograph about the your first day of school, don’t worry that everyone has been through that, your story will be unique because it’s coming from you.
Separating yourself from the craft.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, inspiration and ideas just don’t come. In those cases, it can be good to separate yourself from your work. Go for a walk, go on a vacation, read a book or a magazine. Disconnect your brain from that headspace of trying to create movement. If you give yourself enough space and time, inspiration may strike at the strangest moment. Maybe the way that tree is bent over makes you want to turn that into a dance move. Maybe you’re wondering what’s the story behind that man in line at the grocery store and want to write one for him. And maybe you saw an interestingly shaped statue at the art gallery and you want to recreate it with dancers’ bodies.
Of course, you might find inspiration in all or only one of these places. You as an artist are constantly changing, and where you find inspiration will be changing, too. My best advice: always be open to those weird moments when the muse stops by.
Where have you found inspiration?