11/11/2010

So You Think You Can Zombie Dance?

Spend the day being a mom since the kidlets were off school for the day. We talked about Veteran's Day early on, and my older one knew it was originally Armistice Day, the end of the War to End All Wars. The irony of it wasn't lost on her, unfortunately. I hope our servicemen and servicewomen all come home soon and that we're here to do the right thing - take care of their hearts and souls, the collateral damage for the policies we voters can't seem to change.

Along with the usual errands for bigger shoes and other necessary things for the winter (like hot cocoa and dried mangoes... no, we don't eat them together, but they can both be found cheap at Costco), I helped choreograph a Zombie Dance.

Seems my younger one and two of her friends thought it would be cool to do something with Ramalama Bang Bang, and since the hot thing to do in Season 2 of SYTYCD was Zombie dancing, well, there you go. A plan.

The gals had their part started. Lots of cartwheels and horsekicks (yep, Zombies can do that when they're young and spry), but the one guy of the group wasn't sure what to do. He wanted to be there and tried gamely to show me his splits (side ones were decent, not so much on the forward ones), but choreography is about contrasts, so we did work on creating different levels and shapes for him than for the gals. It was... not quite chaos, but definitely not exactly organized.

Organic, more like it, which is how I like things created. Let the music move your body, I told them, what does it tell you to do? The guy was on the floor doing a cross between a soldier crawling along the ground and a zombie crawling out of a grave. The gals were cartwheeling and somehow not colliding with each other or the walls or the bookshelves or me. Lots of counting out loud and going back to the beginning.

I still think it's terribly funny that they want to do a Zombie dance for a talent show in January, but they have their hearts set on it. Who cares if it's not Halloween any more, or that the performance is for a Catholic school audience? Keep those movements jerky and off kilter!

I've got the song running through my head now, the deep beat and the synthesized waa-waa's. I see their bodies moving to the beat, trying to lift their legs and arms at just the right time, switching directions, circling and moving in formation back and front again. They're all very serious about it, but working it out creatively too. Everything is possible and it's one of those lessons in creativity.

So you've got an idea and you think you've got it figured out, but out on the dance floor it's not quite together. Your body can't quite move the way you imagined. Doesn't matter. Just keep to the beat, keep moving, keep looking like a zombie, because that's what you want to bring to the world, right now, something quirky and unexpected. Creativity isn't about knowing how to do it ahead of time, it's about having faith in the vision, faith in the tools and skills you've got, faith in the very act of creating.

We'll be rehearsing for a few more weeks before tryouts in December. They've got about half down pat, and I imagine that our next rehearsal will be getting past the overthinking that invariably happens the second time around a performance. I wonder if that's the way it is with second drafts, if they're hard because their like a second performance - lots of second guessing and second thoughts about whether the darned project is going to work.

I hope to get to a second draft sooner than later, but dern it, I gotta get that first draft done first! In the meantime, I'm feeling like a Zombie-2-3-4, turn-2-3-4, circle...