Comedy and dance are not usually thought of as synonymous, however they can actually have quite a lot in common. The human body can be just as comical as it can be beautiful. Like any tool, it’s all in how you use it. A dance may make you laugh because of the delivery and timing of movements, the expressions, the costume and music choices or theatrics. However, funny choreography doesn’t always make for a funny performance. It really comes through thanks to the commitment of the performers.
The last couple of pieces I’ve choreographed have ended up being overtly serious so this is a refreshing departure from my choreographic MO. I’m not intentionally funny myself, so this is a real stretch for me. At least I feel like I’m not funny when I try to be funny. However, I’m very good at being unintentionally funny. For example, I had a party at my apartment several years ago. Some of my friends from high school came over and I knew that two of them were planning on moving in together soon and becoming roommates. I asked about how that was going, and one said very curtly, “That’s not happening anymore. She’s asked her boyfriend to move in with her instead.” I promptly lost my footing, my legs slipped out from under me and I fell right on my behind. I still have no idea what happened but I would like to think that it was an immediate subconscious reaction to diffuse the conversation and divert the attention to my clumsiness.
I lucked out because I have some wonderfully committed dancers who have taken my ideas and can now communicate them in their own unique ways. I don’t know that I would be as effective at being funny as these four are. My piece is fourth in the Pairings line-up this year, which means that the audience will be feeling good and toasty, and hopefully comfortable enough to react and laugh out loud. This is my first attempt at a lighter work. And again, I’m not good at being funny on purpose… but hopefully people do find it funny because gosh darn it, it feels good to laugh!