Sunday evening I went over to Concord Academy to hear Seán Curran talk about how he creates choreography. Betsy, one of the dancers from his company, did a beautiful job of demonstrating what he meant.
As a little boy growing up in Watertown, Seán said, he waited eagerly for the mail that brought Look magazine. He liked to cut out pictures and make collages with them.
He says that his approach to choreography is similar. He arranges many snippets or dance phrases in different ways. His challenge is to edit down the many ideas so that the choreography doesn’t topple from too much weight.
I make collages, too. I have always liked the idea of taking a bunch of random things people have said and trying to make a play out of them, for example.
I also make collage greeting cards. I keep a box of promising pictures, cut from magazines and gallery postcards. I go through the whole pile and set aside maybe 20 items that somehow remind me of the person for whom I am making the card. Then I edit them down to the few pieces that will be best for the particular occasion.
All that happens before I cut the shapes and decide on how to arrange them. Sometimes I do a cutout of a cutout and put something else in the space: for example, I cut a vista out of a painting of a window and put a girl in the space (bottom right).
Here are examples.