Choreographing for Dummies: How NOT to get aerialist block when working on a routine

If you are getting to the point of choreographing your first ever routine or are thinking about it you might experience a bout of what I like to call ‘aerialist block’. It’s similar to writers block or white fright (which is what painters experience) except that instead of the concepts and creativity flowing naturally you have absolutely no idea what to do and spend your gym time sitting in the same position waiting for it to come and knock you on the head.


You can’t force creaivty and in fact the more you try and make it happen, the harder is will resist! But there is no need to go home and cry into your pillow, here are some things I encountered when I  first took the plunge.

If your having trouble coming up with an idea, cut yourself some slack! Go outside, enjoy a coffee, go to the zoo, watch old movies… basically do anything to get your mind off it for awhile. When the time is right the concept will slap you in the face when you least expect it and you can get started on bringing it to life.

If you are not 100% sure on your idea or concept and your not terribly excited about it, you are not going in it with your whole heart. If you make a desicion try and stick to it and only adjust minor things that won’t disrupt your creativity in the project. The more you change your mind the more you feel your starting again and this can be quite exhausting. Even if your not overjoyed with your idea, make the commitment and work hard making it your own but locking in something solid will help you stay focused throughout the whole process and keep you on point.

Make sure that the audience and your track are both age appropriate. Of course it would be unwise to choose a song that drops the F-bomb for an audience of minors and grandparents; thats just bad planning! But choose tracks that go with your theme and you can imagine working them in together. Grab some headphones and see the routine taking place in your mind, loose yourself in the music and imagine it as someone watching you perform. Grab a notebook and write down when you want certain drops or wraps to take place, this will really help you keep in time with the music and also narrow down the time each trick will take to perform. Mapping out your routine on paper is a great way to keep it neat and in time with the music.

Don’t spend too much time agonising over costumes, you can really pull something together at the last minute if you must, but if your organised giving your desired costume a good test drive in the air can save you a lot of time at the end of the day. Some costumes get tangled up if they are too long and some may not protect your skin enough at certain drops or even tear. If you are being brave and making your own, its important to set yourself a good chunk of time to make it and test it so your not running around like a headless chicken a week before the show when it tears in the crotch on your spit. Don’t be a Janet!

When you have been working on a routine for awhile you can start to get bored, ask a few people to watch you and give critique. Remember its not a direct target at your skills or abilities but a outsiders look at what works and what doesn’t. Take on their feedback and film it yourself so you can see how it looks and what may need to be improved. Give yourself plenty of time to make changes and get familiar with them before your first rehersal.

If you spot someone else working really hard and nailing something new, don’t copy it and add it to your routine; its common creative etiquette. Try to be as original as possible. Searching youtube for ideas is a great way to start your routine but if you notice someone else in class working on something you haven’t seen, let them have it. If you want your routine to stand out, make it as new and fresh as possible and everyone deserves their moment.

You may have noticed a key word popping up quite frequently; time. If you know the show is in 6 months start planning your routine early. The more time you have to work out all the kinks and costumes malfunctions the better you will feel towards the end. Pulling out a routine 2 weeks before is not for the beginner, in fact very few professionals would find it easy and even if you do slap something together it may look messy and rushed. Plan ahead and manage your time well. If you struggle ask for help and it doesn’t hurt to lock in some private classes to show your progress and iron out the kinks.

Best of all have fun with it! Good luck aerialist!

Featured image by Freepik

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: