Preparing for a dance presentation is always a long process. The students enjoy learning their dance, but before I can teach them there's a lot of work to do on my own.
First, finding the right music is essential. It often starts the year before, as all songs I hear that I like after one presentation get put on a list as potentials for the next year. For Christmas presentations such as "The Coming King," I have to be intentional about listening to Christmas music long before the season arrives. This year, I started in April, listening to Christmas music on and off (much to my sister's amusement - there's nothing like hearing "Carol of the Bells" while it's 98 degrees outside!) over the summer. In August I got serious and narrowed the songs down to what I was actually going to use, and chose a name that fit the theme.
Then, I play the songs over and over and over, getting a feel for them, learning them intimately. I listen while I clean, cook, wash dishes, sew - whenever there's a time I can two things at once. As I listen, I get ideas for different steps, formations, or an overall feel for each dance. This makes the choreography process a lot easier.
In the week before classes began, I made the final decisions about which class was dancing to which song(s) and decided what they'd wear. After all, the costume makes a difference in the choreography. If the skirt is full and fun and twirly, for example, that class often does more spins, and different colored costumes play into formations.
Then, I start choreographing. I'm always amazed at the creativity God continues to give. I've choreographed over 100 dances since I started teaching and directing, and yet new ideas continue to flow. Sometimes it's a hard process, and I have to try different things before I find a movement I like. Usually, however, it just flows out naturally. It's fun to see God at work, bringing His story to life through dance.
There are 17 total songs for "The Coming King" and so far I've completed choreography for 12 of them, so the end is in sight! The students are learning their dances well, which is good, since my goal is to have the class dances taught by the parent observation days the first week of November.
I'm really excited about "The Coming King" and the diversity of the dances this time. From cute (Basic 2) angels with wings to older (Ballet IV) angels with fluffy, long tutus and gold/silver streamers, to tiny "mothers" (Wee 3) with baby dolls to "sheep" (Wee 2) and shepherds (a group of 5 men dancing to a hilarious song!), as well as many songs in between, this will be a memorable presentation.
May everything involved - choreography included - bring glory to God in and through "The Coming King!"