I had my first private lesson with Estee Zakar, with the goal of choreographing (or at least starting to choreograph) my performance in August. Up to now, I’ve been listening to the song I chose (Kiss the Sky, by Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra) over and over and trying to think of what moves would sort of “match” the music. Not really the most structured way of doing things.

When I met with Estee, the first thing she did was take out a notebook and play the song. She told me she was mapping the song. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I know Estee is a pro (literally), so I waited for her to finish.

Estee had written the song length at the top of a piece of paper, and then sketched out the various times when the music changed intensity, with little arrows to indicate if the intensity was rising or falling.  She also made a little graph that had the same info- it showed the music picking up, falling off, and then picking up again.

Using that as a starting point, we discussed what the song was about, and what the pole was representing (the way out? The enemy? Something else?) in the story. Then we started piecing together different moves that would help tell the same story the music was telling.

I also had a practice session with Shawna and Nichole, where we added more of the same. The more I hear the song, the more things I can add to the performance. It’s a fun, if arduous process. I’m so glad that I chose to do this.

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