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HOW TO MAKE A DANCE: A VISUAL GUIDE

When viewing a dance for the first time, there is often more going on than we as a viewer are able to grasp. The purpose of the videos on this page is to reveal how dances are built of many separate parts. With study, we are able to recognize individual themes and motifs in dance, as we do when we hear a motif in music, such as the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. With careful viewing we are able to make more sense of complexity in dance. This page illustrates choreographic tools that are fundamental to the construction of dance understanding how to make dances and how to view them. Follow the order of the individual videos to gain the most benefit from the progression. Before viewing the first video, please listen to this 20-second audio message.

START WITH AN AUDIO MESSAGE

THE FIRST STEPS
Click on the images below to view and hear about each concept.
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PHRASE FOR ONE
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QUARTET
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PHRASE FOR TWO
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PATHWAYS AND DIRECTIONS
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RETROGRADE
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PUTTING IT TOGETHER
MANIPULATIONS
Click on the images below to view and hear about each concept.
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ADDING TURNS
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THEMATIC DEVELOPMENT
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TRAVELING
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CHANGING LEVELS & SPACING
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BUILDING A PHRASE
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FACINGS AND TEMPO
MOTIF AND VARIATION
Click on the images below to view and hear about each concept.
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MOTIF AND VARIATION
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MOTIF AND VARIATION 3
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MOTIF AND VARIATION 2
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MOTIF AND VARIATION 4
UNISON AND CANON
Click on the images below to view and hear about each concept.
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GROUP UNISON
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DOUBLE CANON: MIRRORING
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DOWN THE LINE
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QUARTETS CANON

MORE CONTENT AVAILABLE ON DEMAND

These videos are samples of the Project CHORD content and experience. The expanded version of this teaching tool is available. The teaching resource is composed of multiple highly-adaptable lessons, tailor-made for any population: a class of young students, pre-professional dancers, dance teachers, an elderhostel group. Anyone interested in enriching their understanding of making and interpreting dance is most welcome to inquire. The full Project CHORD experience involves inviting Daniel Gwirtzman, the choreographer of the platform’s repertory, to work directly with your participants remotely or in-person. The Company’s Education Director, and a dance professor working in Higher Education the past twenty years, Daniel introduces dance composition to university students; offers professional development workshops to educators and businesses; and presents master classes to students pre-K through high school. Based on the scope and interest, other dancers from the Company are available to join. The a la carte menu of content to consider range from

  • Diving into the devices in greater depth

  • Viewing the full dance, Accelerate, from which these videos are excerpted

  • Learning and performing sections of the dance

  • Creating choreographic studies based on each concept

If you are interested to learn more about these extended options, please send the Company an email.

THE HISTORY OF PROJECT CHORD

Project CHORD, an acronym for Choreographic Help on Realizing Dance, was designed as a digital resource to advance choreographic pedagogy. By illustrating the fundamentals of dance making through films, the tool sought to fill a void in the teaching of choreography. The project was created in collaboration with the City of New York’s Kingsborough Community College thanks to a CUNY Development Initiative grant, and Kennesaw State University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, in Atlanta. This teaching tool was born from a collaborative engagement between Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company and a team of student apprentices, all dance majors at the time at KSU. The four dancers, Simone Stevens, Simon Phillips, Jaiva Crawford, and Isaac Rose developed this project over several months with Daniel through the creation of a new dance, Accelerate. The project culminated in a three-and-a-half week residency in New York City, when the dancers worked alongside the Company dancers, a transformative experience for the students. Project CHORD has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference in Phoenix, AZ, New York University’s Tisch Dance and New Media Conference, and Towson University’s Department of Dance in Maryland.