October 15, 2021

Choreography Clinic; a dialogue among dance makers about making dance

Marlita Hill (photo by Dana Sarmiento)
Marlita Hill (photo by Dana Sarmiento)

No stranger to the vast terrain of Los Angeles, southern California native Marlita Hill bypassed the geography challenges with the creation of her blog Choreography Clinic. Many artists find it difficult to congregate and have meaningful dialogue within their medium, in a city so spread out. “People are so close to each other but they never leave their neighborhood. Something different needs to happen, we are all wanting the same thing,” says Hill.

Due to the scarcity of choreographic dialogue outside of academia, Marlita thought to create an engaging web-based canvas for the practice,  an idea which birthed the Choreography Clinic. Dissecting the process within the work is the driving force throughout Hill’s blog. The C.C.’s manifesto “The goal of this project is not to pin individuals into a singular process, methodology, or philosophy, rather, it is to reflect on and share our experiences, successes, failures, insights, regrets, and discoveries along our individual choreographic journeys,” brings clarity to the purpose and expectations to each contributor. “All types of dance exist here, whether or not it’s accessible location wise is another story.”

Hill’s initial introduction to this need in L.A. was her time spent volunteering at Help Desk LA, a community of professionals that seek to pair mentor and mentees. “I desired the kind of dialogue and process that I had in school.  I started it for selfish reasons, because I wanted to know more and I realized other people did as well.”

Choreography clinic does not solely function as a dialogue forum, but a virtual corkboard, plastered with inspirational videos of well-known choreographers, and their process. The site also includes choreographic and dance opportunities around Los Angeles; sources for workshops, showcases and non-linear pieces that are showing throughout the city.  The Choreography Clinic is a touchstone for anyone looking to seek out dance and choreography in a space other than commercial and mainstream auditions. Each month Hill posts four to six varied questions to her fellow choreographers. “Not one process but to reflect on different ways that we come up with choreography, the minutia.” Choreographers reflect over their body of work, through a process-based forum, with fellow choreographers and dancers. Marlita’s chief desire is to continue to draw in a plethora of individuals and discussions in hopes that her created community will learn from each other. “ I would like to cross genre lines but change the conversation, everybody is cross-fertilizing now.”

Still in the early stages Marlita’s biggest challenge has been to continually post and to encourage actual dialogue on the site, while juggling her position as teacher at the Dance Academy at Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts. While the working environment as a dance teacher has its’ rewards and limitations, Hill has a constant deadline to meet, “I am a choreography machine.”

“It’s a solitary existence, creating a piece of work, if you’re not careful you do not have that time to replenish.” The contributing choreographers all tell Hill that her site gives them beneficial time to reflect on their process. Hill’s experience through the site has shown her that time constraint, and the opportunity to play with ideas are both struggles for new and seasoned choreographers.

In lieu of an actual physical space, with her blog she hopes to branch out so that it becomes a literal space, encompassing workshops, group mentorships and a continued dialogue. At present her best hope is that C.C. continues to sprout legs of it’s own, helping to create dialogue throughout pockets of Los Angeles. “People are slowly learning about it, I post to LA culture net and the participating choreographers are spreading the word.”

 

https://choreoclinic.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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