Synergetic Agential Choreography

  This project devised and explored concepts developed to foster new and creative methods for generating choreography.  The method that emerged,  Synergetic Agential Choreography, is to be adapted or adopted in many ways to meet the needs of choreographers.  The concept of Synergetic Agential Choreography provides a shift in how we perceive the creation and execution of dance choreography.  Introducing and investigating the merging of visual art methods and practices reframes one's understanding and appreciation of dance and movement, offering an enriched, flexible method for creating dance pieces.

At its core, Synergetic Agential Choreography integrates the principles of synergy and agency.  The term 'synergy' refers to the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately.  In the context of choreography, it emphasizes the collaborative power and energy that can be generated when dancers work together creatively.  On the other hand, 'agency' refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and make their own free choices.  It underscores the importance of individual expression and personal creativity in the dance-making process.  Synergetic Agential Choreography fosters a new understanding of choreography, breaking away from traditional approaches of dance creation.  Instead of viewing choreography as a fixed set of movements to be replicated, the model acknowledges the choreographic process as a dynamic, evolving interaction between dancers, their environment, and their creativity.

The method advocates for the exploration of cross-disciplinary creative practice.  For example, it encourages improvisation as a tool for generating movement material and values using visual art as stimuli for creativity.  It promotes a culture of experimentation, where dancers are encouraged to take risks, try new things, and step outside their comfort zones.  Additionally, Synergetic Agential Choreography is characterized by its adaptability and flexibility.  It does not dictate a specific way of creating but instead offers a flexible framework that can be adapted to suit the needs of individual dancers and choreographers.  Whether a choreographer prefers a structured approach or a more fluid, spontaneous process, the method can be tailored to fit their creative style and preferences.

In essence, Synergetic Agential Choreography expands our perspectives on dance and movement, demonstrating that choreography is not just about creating steps but about facilitating a creative, collaborative process that values and nurtures individual expression and collective synergy.  This approach can potentially transform how we create, perform, and experience dance, paving the way for a more adaptable and exciting era of choreography.  

Synergetic Agential Choreography is a seven-step process that includes:  environment and introductions, explanation of the process, providing tools, facilitating freedom of expression, performing, & revisiting. 

Please take a look at the image below outlining the steps and detailed descriptions which follow.

Step 1:  Environment and Introductions

The first step in the method involves creating warm, friendly, and inclusive environments.  In order for dancers to feel comfortable tapping into their creative energies, it is essential for them to be in a welcoming and safe setting.  A comfortable environment may be fostered by allowing dancers and the facilitator to engage with one another.  A brief 10-15 minute window should be allotted to allow time for introductions and icebreaker activities.  When dancers are from different schools and are not already acquainted with one another, this period of introductions is particularly crucial to the successful application of the model.  Facilitators may have all dancers gather in a circle and take a few moments to introduce themselves, talk about their personal interests, and elaborate on their backgrounds and experiences in dance.  The facilitator should choose a physical location that is accessible to all participants and adjust environmental factors (such as adjusting the lighting or playing music) to facilitate a social and supportive environment.  Ultimately, this first step aims to create a sense of support and camaraderie that may facilitate creative risk-taking and expression in the later steps.

Step 2:  Explanation of the Process

         The next step involves providing participants with an understanding of what Synergetic Agential Choreography is.  During this step, the facilitator must explain how the creation of visual art will be used to inspire new, creative movements in the form of original choreography.  The importance of artistic freedom and personal expression must be emphasized during this phase, and the facilitator should urge participants to let go of their previous knowledge of existing, codified techniques.  Dancers should understand that the goal of Synergetic Agential Choreography is not to replicate existing and traditional notions of visual art and dance but to allow themselves to become inspired to create and uninhibited ways.  Dancers should also understand that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to perform these activities, so long as they endeavor to let their own creative instincts guide them.  The facilitator should explain that the entire process will involve (a) creating visual art, (b) interpreting it, (c) developing choreography from the art, and (d) performing the choreography (image below).  The facilitator should provide time for participants to ask questions and interact during this step, as it may foster a greater sense of social support and camaraderie, which will facilitate creative expression.

Step 3:  Provide Tools

         Step three of the Synergetic Agential Choreography method involves introducing dancers to the art tools and supplies they will use to create their original art pieces.  Depending on the type of art being created, dancers may require introductions to the mediums and tools, such as types of paint, canvases, brushes, etc.  Before moving beyond this step, all dancers should feel comfortable using the provided tools, and the facilitator should reiterate that dancers are free to use these tools to express as they desire creatively.  Also, please remind the dancers to maintain open communication lines throughout their painting journey.  They should feel comfortable seeking guidance and clarification if they encounter any questions or uncertainties during the process.  This emphasizes an open dialogue and fosters a supportive and collaborative environment where the dancers can confidently navigate their artistic expressions while benefiting from the collective knowledge and shared experiences leading to Step 4.

Step 4:  Facilitate Freedom of Expression and Guide the Development of Visual Art

         The fourth step of the method involves encouraging dancers to let go of preconceived notions of art and expression as they begin creating their visual art pieces.  Dancers may work individually or in small groups to develop their artwork.  The facilitator may use different prompts that help dancers tap into their emotions and experiences to produce their art.  For example, the facilitators may say, “Try to release your past training in dance and let your own creative inspiration emerge,” or “There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do this, so long as you are connected to your own, unique creative process.” Again, dancers’ creative freedom must be provided and encouraged, as the aim is to inspire dancers to connect with their inner creative muses.  Depending on the art being created, the facilitator may allow anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours for this step.  By the end of the fourth step, each dancer should have a piece of original visual art that they produced alone or in a small group and be ready to move on to Step 5, the Interpretation of Visual Art.

Step 5:  Interpretation of Visual Art

         The fifth step of the process begins the next phase of creative practice.  While dancers access their creativity and create artwork during step four, the fifth step directs them to interpret their artwork.  The facilitator may use a number of prompts during this phase to encourage creative thinking.  Depending on the time allotted for each project and the dancers experience level, improvisational prompts to employ will vary:  

Considering this step will most likely force many participants into a space of creativity with which they are not familiar, it may be helpful for the facilitator to demonstrate step five by kinesthetically or verbally walking dancers through the facilitator’s interpretation of their own art.  The facilitator should move around the room as dancers develop their choreography, providing encouraging feedback.  When observing dancers who revert to codified techniques, the facilitator should gently encourage dancers to temporarily suspend notions of traditional dance and allow their bodies to interpret the art they have created. 

Step 6:  Perform

Step six of Synergetic Agential Choreography encompasses a pivotal phase where dancers can bring their choreographic creations to life through performance.  This step serves as a culmination of their artistic exploration, providing a platform for the dancers to share their work with others.  Whether performing for their fellow dancers, in front of a live audience or as a filmed piece, this performance component holds immense significance in the creative process.   As the dancers take center stage, their movements reflect the depth of their engagement, dedication, and growth throughout the workshop.  Moving into the performance realm, their choreographic composition unfolded, revealing the intricate interplay of bodies, space, time, and dynamics.  If the performance is witnessed by their peers, an eager audience, or captured on film, the act of sharing their choreography elevates its impact and resonance.  It offers a moment of connection as the dancers communicate their artistic intentions and invites viewers to experience their creative vision.  

Step 7:  Revisit

The Synergetic Agential Choreography model serves as a guiding framework for choreographers embarking on a creative process through an interdisciplinary approach.  To ensure the sustained inspiration and creativity of the participants, the facilitator must revisit the diagram of the SAC Steps through the Process throughout the artistic process periodically.  By revisiting the steps, the facilitator rekindles the dancers' connection to its principles and encourages them to delve deeper into their exploration.  The facilitator periodically revisits the stages and reinforces the core concepts and principles underpinning Synergetic Agential Choreography.  This act serves as a reminder of the foundational elements and invites the dancers to continually seek inspiration and expand their creative horizons. 

While the initial application of Synergetic Agential Choreography may have focused on dance and choreography, it is essential to recognize its potential for adaptation to various other forms of visual art.  Moving into future research, all artistic mediums have the potential to embrace and benefit from the principles of Synergetic Agential Choreography.  The facilitator should encourage dancers and artists from different disciplines to explore and adapt the method to their specific creative practices.

To enrich the understanding and application of Synergetic Agential Choreography, it is imperative that future researchers dive into the exploration of other creative mediums.  Expanding the scope beyond dance allows new insights and possibilities to emerge, opening doors to interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative artistic expressions.  Researchers can investigate the ways in which painters, sculptors, photographers, and artists from diverse fields can incorporate the principles of Synergetic Agential Choreography into their work, fostering cross-pollination of ideas and pushing the boundaries of artistic exploration.

Please look at the Studio Laboratory and Performances page to explore the process and culminating works developed through these Steps.