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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad?

Zamedy154
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #1
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:04pm
This debate popped up on YouTube with the clip from the Tony performance. Several people were asking how the show couldnt possibly have been nominated for Best Choreography. One poster said it was because the choreography was glorified cheerleading moves and did not do what its supposed to do - tell a story.

I love the show and loved the Tony performance, but the choreography does bother me at times. It feels over-choreographed at times... to the point where the amazing Beth Leavel almost looks ridiculous being forced to do all those moves.

But Im far from a dance expert. Thoughts?
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #2
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:35pm
Based on the Tony performance alone, I did cringe at some of the choreography; some of it felt forced, and I agree with you on being over-choreographed. For the most part though, I was impressed and loved it; it's one of those dance sequences that gets you wanting to jump up with them.

I'm seeing the show today though, so we'll see if my opinion changes.
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #3
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:47pm

I don’t think the choreo is bad, but it IS busy. And overstuffed. But that doesn’t bother me. Sometimes it’s fun to have the choreographic kitchen sink thrown at you. 

Also, choreo doesn’t always have to further the plot along. As said in “something rotten”- it doesn’t really advance plot or character, but it’s entertaining. “Too darn hot”’s choreo doesnt tell a story.... “turn it off” doesn’t either. neither does any tap break in any musical ever (maybe Scottsboro Boys).

That poster who wrote that was incorrect.

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Updated On: 6/29/19 at 12:47 PM
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #4
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:48pm

I think it depends on how you look at it.

As a stand-alone choreography for a number that is performed in some kind of revue - It's a good/great choreography.

As a way to tell a story, to show how different people move differently because of their different backgrounds, to fit into the scene the dance takes place in - It's ... not so successfull.

Like you already said, the word "over-choreographed" fits very well. There is a lot of action and energy on stage (which is one thing I often read in comments about the show) but most of the times this is in no relation to the scene or the characters and there is no motivation to the movements. It just happens to be a big, crowded dance number. With some wannabe hip hop dance moves that look like the story takes place in the backyard of a youth center - not a small, traditonal, provincial town as we are meant to believe.

Also, a lot of the choreography reminded me of the dances in Mean Girls - another work of Casey Nicholaw.

For the record, the ensemble is doing a great job! They are very in sync and have a lot of energy. They do sell the the dance scenes!

 

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #5
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:54pm
Michael Bennett’s explosive and legendary “Turkey Lurkey Time” dance number doesn’t forward the plot of the original 1968 Broadway production of PROMISES, PROMISES whatsoever. It’s a stand-alone dance number in the midst of a musical which featured no other dance number aside from this one. The musical did feature “movement” and choreographic staging but no other dancing moment.
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #6
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:22pm
The choreo for the show is entrancing, but when you start to think about it, there is no story behind it. They are truly just flailing and hopping around. Its impressive and athletic but doesnt serve anything.

All this to say, the choreo is still the best part of the show imo
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #7
Posted: 6/29/19 at 4:36pm

It feels like too much to me. It is almost like the creators didn't trust in their material and felt like they needed to make the show more "FUN!" and "EXCITING!". I love most of the score and the book but the Choreography was just TOO MUCH. I can't wait to see what other director/choreographers do with the material when it hits the Regionals. 

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #8
Posted: 6/29/19 at 5:27pm

After seeing Tootsie the night before, all I could think of was,
"Fosse, Fosse, Burning Lava - hot, hot, hot, Brain Freeze, Where's the bunny?..."

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #9
Posted: 6/29/19 at 7:43pm

When I saw it on the Tony awards I instantly thought, "Oh no....here go the calisthenics again."  Unfortunately, much of modern choreography is marching, hand/arm waving and lots of jumping around that has nothing whatsoever to do with story development or expression of character.  In a musical, when a character bursts into song it's supposed to be an expression of the character that can no longer be maintained by the spoken word; it needs song and dance.  What I saw with 'The Prom' was disconnected jumping-jacks, fist pumping and line dancing that was pedestrian and pointless.  It also wasn't good....at all.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #10
Posted: 6/29/19 at 9:35pm
This is always a problem in Casey directed shows...
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #11
Posted: 6/29/19 at 10:08pm

It's impressively executed, but not in any way that tells a story. Yes, choreography in musicals must tell a story. To use examples mentioned in this thread, Turkey Lurkey Time tells the audience that people are having drinks and letting loose at the office Christmas party. Too Darn Hot tells the story that the dancers want to have a good time but can't because it's too darn hot. Are either situation particularly dramatically compelling? No, but the dancing tells the audience something clear. In The Prom, take a look at that "Tonight Belongs to You" number--when the ensemble dances at their prom, they're singing that "tonight belongs to us" at the exclusion of the lesbian character. But the dancing (and the music, for that matter) seems to be expressing something joyful and empowering. The tone of it is at odds with what the moment in the show is. And none of the movements really express anything specific or emerge from character. Compare that to the--in my opinion--deeply underappreciated choreography from Tootsie this season. In the opening night song in Tootsie, which I saw way back last September out of town, I still vividly remember a dance move that involved the ensemble hopping while rotating in circles, spotting front. That move sticks out to me because it's something I hadn't seen before, and it clearly expressed the characters' emotions and the whimsical tone of the moment. In Tootsie, you're probably less likely to sit amazed by the dancers' ability to execute the choreography than at The Prom, but but the moves all have meanings that relate directly to the situations the story creates. Every time characters dance in a musical is an opportunity to express physically what is difficult to express verbally, and in my opinion, The Prom throws away those opportunities to dazzle you with acrobatics. It's another form of spectacle without substance.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #12
Posted: 6/29/19 at 10:51pm

I saw It's Time To Dance at an event before it moved to Broadway and found the choreography to be a bit cheesy and dated. After seeing the whole show I thought it was fine. The show takes place in a town that seems to be behind in trends, like new dances. So they were doing what they thought was cool for where they live. And it had like a cheerleading vibe to me that, at first, I was not crazy about but it actually worked.

Just my opinion about what I got out of the choreography.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #13
Posted: 6/29/19 at 11:03pm

I loved the choreography and I loved the rationale of the choreography.  The show is ridiculous and over the top and melodramatic.  Hence, the choreographic thrust.

 

Best moves on Broadway, currently, IMHO.

 

But are we experiencing a pretty great stretch of choreography lately?  Nicholaw for Prom?  Connor Gallagher for Beetlejuice?   Drew McOnie for King Kong?  Avihai Haham for Working?  and upcoming: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for Jagged Little Pill?

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #14
Posted: 6/29/19 at 11:36pm
I thought the choreography felt like an old white gay man trying to be “cool” ....
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #15
Posted: 6/30/19 at 12:11am
It’s like they choreographed every single sixteenth beat.
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #16
Posted: 6/30/19 at 12:23am

The style of dancing reminds me of High School Musical. I don't necessarily think musicals need to be realistic. I mean, the choreography in Newsies is ridiculous if you're trying to simulate real life. But as others have said, the dancing needs to fit the mood and the story. I think when you're brain starts to wander into thinking "why do all these teenagers dance so well" it becomes a distraction.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #17
Posted: 6/30/19 at 1:28am

I really enjoyed the show, and thought the Broadway leads were hilarious.   Laughed throughout and went back to see it again.

That said:    the choreography felt overdone and the dancing was....strenuous.   It's a talented group up there, but the relentless dance moves only seemed to point out that this 'backwards' Indiana high school evidently was very, very multicultural....and was seemingly populated with people in their mid-to-late 20s.     I opted not to see MEAN GIRLS after seeing the Tony segment that also featured people a decade older than high school.     I'm willing to suspend a little disbelief, but these people didn't look or act much like high school kids but more like adults that were doing caricatures of "high school kids".

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #18
Posted: 6/30/19 at 1:58am
Well, its not good choreo. It was overdone, frenetic and exhausting to watch.

I also remember thinking it was a pretty progressive high school racially, so it did seem odd that they were so behind about sexuality.

I didnt care for this nearly as much as many here, but it was pleasant enough
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #19
Posted: 6/30/19 at 7:09am

Yes.

I'd say the teens' dancing was dated, but I can't think of an era when kids ever danced like that. Between MEAN GIRLS and this, Casey shouldn't be choreographing for teenagers.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #20
Posted: 6/30/19 at 7:37am

I thought the choreography was way too overdone for this show.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #21
Posted: 6/30/19 at 8:06am

RippedMan said: "This is always a problem in Casey directed shows..."

Including Book of Mormon? I think every choreographed piece in that show is perfect for its respective song and not overdone at all.

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #22
Posted: 6/30/19 at 1:07pm

RippedMan said: "I thought the choreography felt like an old white gay man trying to be “cool” .... "

Maybe because the subject matter of the show deals with an old white gay man trying to be “cool”?

 

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #23
Posted: 6/30/19 at 1:13pm

HamilHansen said: "RippedMan said: "I thought the choreography felt like an old white gay man trying to be “cool” .... "

Maybe because the subject matter of the show deals with an old white gay man trying to be “cool”?
"

 

Totally agree.  I thought the choreo totally worked for the subject matter.   

 

And speaking of mid-20's acting like teenagers....Be More Chill anyone?

 

 

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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #24
Posted: 6/30/19 at 2:14pm
Almost every show lately leaves me cold with the choreography. The last time I was really wowed was probably Hamilton. Hadestown has some great choreography as well but it isn’t as impressive to me. (Amber Gray’s movement was mesmerizing).

But for the Prom, it felt like the first few days of rehearsal when you see what everyone can do and cut it down from there..but they never cut it down.
Zamedy154
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Is the choreography for THE PROM bad? #25
Posted: 6/30/19 at 3:16pm
All analytics of choreography aside, this company is CRUSHING it. Their enthusiasm up there is inspiring.

Was the company really singing ‘Tonight Belongs To Us/It’s Time To Dance’ at the Tonys while also dancing their faces off? I’ve watched it over and over again and thought ‘how can they sound so loud and do good while doing that/after just doing all that?’ I thought the same with HAIRSPRAY performing ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ although that choreography was much less frenetic.