Looking forward to a little afternoon delight
It’s a funny old thing making decisions about what to choreograph to. I’m talking about when a choreographer gets to select music for a piece themselves (as opposed to a job where they don’t). I’m lucky enough to have worked independently with Sparklemotion for many years where I was very much in charge of song choice. And song choice is what? Fundamental. It dictates the level of ambition your choreo can achieve and it’s key to the impact a performance will have. Bad song choice can render great dancing dead in the water. I guess people would assume choreographers just pick things they like, but that is not the case. Not for me anyway. I mean, I do always love the songs I work with but sometimes that affection comes later. Like an arranged marriage. It’s hard to explain. Often I will hear a song for the first time and instantly know I want to use it. Or, I’ll be working around a theme and something will suddenly be the obvious choice. There are all these different criteria I’m listening out for – the journey of the song…a narrative I can latch onto…a video I can take inspiration from. Not once have I picked something because it’s a favourite. I do require the music I use to meet my own (imagined) standards of cool – ha ha (asshole) – but apart from that it all feels a bit fated. And this project has been no different. I made a shortlist, got a feel for how I wanted this MFOR journey to progress – making sure each track was distinct in both style and lockdown content – started with Screwed, and one pop gem just led to another…
…and so we come to Afternoon Delight. This is one of those Radio 2 jams you don’t hear very often but has a kind of kitsch pleasure to it. And it was a no-brainer for this project. Firstly, the subject matter offers a funny slant on lockdown life, which makes it appealing, and secondly, I knew it would be great to choreograph to. Pop music in the 70s was completely ridiculous. Look no further than Bohemian Rhapsody. And this OTT-ness makes great choreographic fodder. It’s a gift. I’ve had a ball with classics like Rasputin and Macarthur Park, and I always seize upon modern songs displaying glimpses of the overblown ambition of the 70s – We Are Never Getting Back Together, Uptown Funk etc. etc. Afternoon Delight is a bona fide bonkers 70s banger. It’s got this C&W vibe so immediately there’s a context to work within, and when you can be larger than life with the moves I think the results often make good choreographic sense. I really feel I have a knack for these kind of routines?? (maybe not something to celebrate???). Lord knows I’ve had plenty of practice! So don’t think you won’t like this dance if you don’t know or aren’t bothered about the song. Trust me, it’s a hoot.
Disclaimer: These are not virtuoso performances. Just me, in an attic, grappling with an iPhone, creaky floorboards and a bad haircut. The sound is a bit ropey and the elements make numerous uninvited appearances! No left or right instructions – do whatever feels most natural to you…mirror me or flip it and use the same arms and legs as I do. Dancers’ choice.
The clattering noise you can hear in the background is rain. Pay it no mind.
For Stu. Float like a bird and back.