Wow this one is a hot topic.
It is increasingly easier to copy choreography, which often results in publicly shaming the individual who stole it.
Why steal choreography?
“Because I have to create something successful and my work isn’t good enough.”
“I have to create a dance in a style outside of my expertise.”
“I have to choreograph 40 dances and how am I supposed to make each one of them brilliant.”
“I’m just not good enough period, and I need to please the customers.”
It took me a long time to find my voice. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing when I started choreographing. My earliest efforts were mashups of things I learned at conventions, tap festivals, classes I took at Edge PAC (miss you!). I thought, I couldn’t possibly come up with something as good!
So, while yes, it’s wrong and immoral (and sometimes illegal) to copy someone’s choreography verbatim, I have to say I have a little empathy.
I want to say, you can do it. Explore your own voice. It might not always come out amazing but it’s yours. And the only way to strengthen that choreographic muscle is to work it.
Be comfortable with something not being right or good.
And if you ARE publicly called out for stealing choreography, for god’s sake own it. Say I’m sorry. Say, I’m a huge fan of your work and I was in a creative rut. The worst reaction is no reaction. The longer you wait, the harder it is to dig yourself out of that hole.
And if you do feel like you’re in a rut, visit some of the great works: Paul Taylor’s Esplanade, Twyla’s In the Upper Room, Brenda Bufalino’s Strike Up the A-Train. There’s inspiration everywhere. Let it spark ideas. Ideas that are yours.