Choreographing to metal music is undoubtedly a big compositional challenge. Studying the characteristics of this musical genre will help us to face it with a road map. Here you can find a short starting quick-guide for rock-metal choreographers. Enjoy it!
When tempo exceeds certain bpm our repertoire of movements is greatly restricted, not only by the possible lack of muscular speed of the dancer, but also because many movements are not esthetic at high speed, perceiving themselves as run over. Others simply have a so large trajectory into our kinesphere that it is physically impossible to realize them. To deal with it, we can use vibrations, turns, undulations and small hits.
The default time signature for rock-metal is 4/4; however, in the immense world of metal, dancers can face more complex patterns. This implies that our dance figures must been adjusted to that rhythm. In general, the movements and forms of two, four and eight times are the simplest to fit into music and also the most frequent ones, as they are even and take advantage from body simmetry.
In the world of metal, dancers may face high-complexity rythm patterns.
Guitar solos are essential in rock-metal music. However, despite being perfect to demonstrate the musician’s virtuosity, they´re not so good from the point of view of the choreographer. They have a lot of fluidity and few or no breaks, so it forces us to move smoothly and / or use chained movements. To face them, you can use turns and undulations, which provides the necessary fluidity thanks to their nature, shimmies and travelling steps. In a group choreography, try to change the position of your dancers during the guitar solo and use group figures and theatrical resources. Given their importance and almost mandatory presence in the songs, guitar solos deserve a special chapter within the rock-metal dance.
Guitar solos deserve a special chapter within the rock-metal dance.
In metal, voices are usually clean and powerful and their high tones lead to open and long movements. Some singers lengthen the musical notes so much, especially in the cries, and it will give us more than a headache when finding movements that can adapt to such a large amount of musical times. Male voices are much more frequent than female ones, so in many cases we will not be able to carry out a transposition of identity between male musician and female dancer.
DIABOLUS IN MUSIC: THE TRITONE
The tritone or Devil´s interval is defined as a musical interval composed of three adjacent whole tones. Within a musical context, we see it is either an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth. The tritone can be choreographed with a binary movement of expansion-contraction, making an open movement in the highest note and one contracted in the lowest one. We execute a pair of movements of opposite emotional tension, which is the heart of madness.
You can choreograph to the tritone using a binary movement of expansion-contraction.
The ramifications of rock-metal are endless … It’s not the same choreographing to trash metal than to hard rock, or choosing a symphonic metal theme versus another one of brutal death. Each subgenre has its themes, tempos, typical rhythms and its instruments outside the typical voice-guitar-bass-drum set. The worst thing for the dancer is that it is practically impossible to cover them all. The good thing is that, among so much variety, it is easy to find something that fits with our tastes.
Among such a variety of rock-metal music, it is easy to find a sub-genre that fits the dancer tastes.