One of my more controversial pieces was inspired strangely enough, by Showgirls. Although alot of my choreo is inspired by Vegas Showgirls, the Showgirls I’m referring to here is that amazingly craptastic 90s movie starring Jesse from Saved by the Bell. I LOVE her character in that movie. So ridiculous!! She is just pissed off at everything! The whole movie is her being pissed off and running away. My favorite scene is when she is angrily eating her fast food. Hilarious!! Got me to thinking about the relationship between the action of being anger and comedy. Basically roots back to the idea of incongruent comedy; the inconsistency with set ideas usually ends up being funny. What could I be angry about that you aren’t normally angry about?
I went with angry Dad because at some other point I was trying to think of different things I could shake other than ma boobs. I remember when I thought I was so clever because I shook a martini in a Burletta. Turns out that one had been done.. alot.. by people way cooler than me. Not so clever. My thought process basically went like this:
“Maracas? Tamborine? Martini? Baby? BABY!! hahah ya.. thats it.. shake a baby..”
I knew that this would be challenging to pull off. I mean how can you win against a baby?? Everyone likes babies... in theory anyway. But I felt that if I made it ridiculous enough with dance movements it would create enough of a comedic reality for people to feel safe laughing. I think that my downfall was my costume. I orginally had wanted it for the character to look like a 50s Dad. The Dad from Leave it to Beaver. But I ended up looking like a Beastie Boys video. I think it might have gone abit better if I had been a redneck Dad. Someone the audience could feel superior to. Unfortunately I think I ended up looking abit like an angry Italian Dad. Annnd they are scary in real life; poor abused Adult children of angry Italian Dads probably did not like this one. I also had creative differences with producers of the show who wanted a happy ending instead of me booting the baby a final time. Fair enough. Like I said, it’s hard to get people to like you instead of the baby. I ended up doing my alternate ending at a different venue. All in all.. I thought it was funny and I learned the importance of character costuming. This number is officially retired but lives on in youtube land. Maybe in the future I will try another number featuring the angry. but no babies. Hope you Enjoy!
note: for alternate ending click here
note part 2: you think its kinda funny.. kinda.
One of the best parts of doing choreo is being able to collaborate with other awesome people that I super admire. This number was completely inspired by his majesty of the tight and bright, Spandy Andy. Spandy is a local street performer in Vancouver whose goal in life is to make the world a happier place. He achieves this goal by sporting his signature spandex and busting moves all over town (usually English Bay). I spotted Spandy at a Burlesque show I had performed at and recognized him from his appearance on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. I then proceeded to stalk the shit out of him on Facebook and asked if he would be interested in doing a number with the Chickens. Luckily he agreed and I was over the moon.
I wanted the number to feature Spandy in all his glory; I knew that he deserved the recognition from our audience and that they would love his energy and mad skills and style. I also wanted to make it as easy as possible for him to be able to jump into the group. I ended up making up choreography for the girls first without Spandy. The idea was that the girls would set the scene but then end up as back up dancers while Spandy did his thing up front. I picked the most annoying song about dancing I could find for the first part. “I could have danced all night” from My Fair Lady so that the the two songs would really contrast. The song lent the idea that this was at the end of the night after the party so I thought that we would start in nightgowns. I originally wanted pretty PJs but the characters and choreography ended up more like hyperactive children so I went with granny jammies instead. This met with abit of backlash! Listen to me Mother @$@!%S! The second song I picked from Spandy’s playlist. How can you not want to dance-hump when you hear this song? It really spoke to me in terms of comic potential. I was aiming for a comedic number so I chose lots of movements that I think are really funny and silly. How many times will I put that FlashDance run in a circle move into a number? I can’t tell you. But I’m probably not going to stop. We tried to hip hop but we definitely don’t have the same abilities as Andy so it was a good thing he was there.
I chose dancers from SC that have either shown stronger dance ability, comedic chops, or a giant crush on Spandy. I also wanted to be able to get some of the newer members on stage that I thought would be able to hold their own in terms of comedic presence.
Overall I was really pleased with the number. We had great audience reception and it came across as super fun and full of energy, just like Spandy!! Hope you enjoy!!
note: all Spandy’s choreo is his own; I just took care of the ladies
note part 2: for an up close and personal look at the second half click here
note part 3: SPANDY FOR PRESIDENT! <3
This piece was one that was completely inspired by the music. According to Wikipedia:
"Seeing pink elephants" is a euphemism for drunken hallucination, caused by alcoholic hallucinosis or delirium tremens. The first recorded use of the term is by Jack London in 1913, who describes one sort of alcoholic in the autobiographical John Barleycorn as "the man whom we all know, stupid, unimaginative, whose brain is bitten numbly by numb maggots; who walks generously with wide-spread, tentative legs, falls frequently in the gutter, and who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants.
So there! And we all of course remember the scene from Dumbo where he gets drunk and hallucinates all sorts of wackety-schmackety elephants. I love this!!! So much imagination, fantasy and action! I was striving to create something that was just as much of a fever dream and that would have the same intensity using movement and live performance.
I wanted this to be an all inclusive number; meaning it was open to any member of Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society that wanted to be part of my weirdy vision. I was counting on the visual effect of many many dancers in crazy pink costumes. My challenges with this piece involved the varying levels of dance ability in the group and the fact that there were so many of them!! Listen to me Mother @$!@$s!! This was also hard because of scheduling!! Absolutely impossible to have everyone in the same room ever!! Therefore it was important to keep the movements simple and easy to pick up in case you had to miss a rehearsal. You can see where I added a second group after the first two minutes. They were basically the group that couldn’t make it to the first rehearsal! I tried to incorporate movements that suggested weight and insanity.
I felt that the diversity of the group helped the number overall by creating spectacular imagery and helped the choreo as we were able to use the different skill sets for differing sections of the dance i.e. Lacey L’Amour as the Ballerina and Star Buxom as the Belly Dancer. I felt very happy with the overall result but feel that I could have incorporated more tease into the choreography. Hope you enjoy!!
Note: Star Buxom’s solo is all her own choreography! I just told her when to go and she did!!
Double Note: D'oh! Only our rehearsal in on Youtube! If you would like to see how we did at showtime, check out http://vimeo.com/8814209
Triple Note: I've also included the original scene from Dumbo so you can contrast and compare.. we are obviously much better ;)
My adventures in Burlesque Choreography!