NACHMO PROMPTS 2019
You can spend as little or as much time as you like completing each prompt. The basic prompt is built to be done and posted in 10 minutes or less, so you can begin or end each day with NACHMO! Here is a pdf you can print out to keep in your creative space to help check off each prompt you complete. Keep in mind there are 2 scheduled catch up days, so this can come in handy!
We also have two additional levels for those with the intention of making a completed work.
Plus: For those that want to have a fully finished, performable work by the end of the month.
Lens: For those participating in our NACHMO Film Project and have the goal of working on a dance film short.
Feel free to post to instagram with the hashtag #NACHMO2019 so everyone can see what you've made! @nachmodance will post some of our favorite submissions on our instagram account.
Jan 1: Say hello!
Prompt: State your name and NACHMO goal for the month on social media!
Plus: Find a notebook that you can keep notes in.
Lens: Sign up for a free Vimeo account (or youtube if you prefer) and start making a playlist that keeps track of videos you like.
Jan 2: Convo
Prompt: Think of the last great story you heard from a friend or coworker. Improvise telling the story without using words, just gestures and movement.
Plus: Consolidate it into a solid one-minute phrase. Call this phrase A.
Lens: Make a storyboard of this narrative. Here is a sample printout you can use.
Jan 3: Throwback Thursday
Prompt: Find a historical dance piece, and watch it once. Improvise based on what you stuck with you about the work, be it tempo, gestures, feelings, etc.
Plus: Re-watch the work a second time this time recalling your improvisation. Start moving again after this second watch and set some inspired material. Call this phrase B.
Lens: Watch a historic dance film or video noting what you like about it: color balance, framing, editing, dance moves. See how old a dance film you can find, post it, and tag us!
Jan 4: Distance
Prompt: Pick two body parts that are the furthest distance from each other and play with that distance: make it grow, heighten it, and close the distance as much as possible.
Plus: Codify this movement into a 30-second phrase. Call this phrase C.
Lens: Film yourself as close to the lens as possible while still having movement in the frame. Now see how far away you can get from the lens and still record movement.
Jan 5: Animate the inanimate
Prompt: Find an inanimate object and make it into a prop. Interact with it in unique ways.
Plus: Make a phrase using the object. Now do that phrase without the physical item. Choose whether to keep the phrase with or without the object. Name this phrase D.
Lens: Place the object in different areas of the frame of your camera lens. Try the middle or to one side. Place it closer and play with focus. Move around and record.
Jan 6: Dancemaker
Prompt: Use the free Dancemaker app to create some fun dance phrases. You can pick the words yourself or use the randomizer. Take a screenshot and share you awesome phrase! Download: google play, itunes
Plus: Do this three times and pick the one you like best. Call this phrase E.
Lens: Use the app to make a phrase but hold the camera (or find a unique way to strap it to a body part) and do the phrase while holding the camera instead of taping yourself.
Check out our blog post with the designer of the Dancemaker app: Henry Holmes.
Jan 7:Tempo time
Prompt: Find the fastest song on your music device and the slowest. Improvise to them both.
Plus: Pick three songs with very different time signatures, and try your phrasework to all three. Play with working with and against the rhythms.
Lens: Re-watch your favorite music videos from at least a decade ago. Take notes on how the edits work with or against the music. Add the most inspirational video to your playlist.
Jan 8: Audio baby
Prompt: Find an audio recording (a historical speech, a TED talk, or a podcast) and move to it.
Plus: Find two audio recordings with vastly different feelings behind them: an inspirational figurehead vs. a comedian's podcast vs. C-Span. Do your movement to each to help figure out how feelings and emphasis effect the movement.
Lens: Practice recording sound, including speaking, body rhythms, and other audio sources (a tv in the background or an instrument being played off-camera) while moving on camera. See how your camera captures sound in order to decide if you want to incorporate these captured sounds vs. laying a track over the final edit.
Jan 9: Groovy
Prompt: Find two pieces of music: one with just instruments and one with only vocals, and improvise to each.
Plus: Choose three of each type of music, and perform your phrases to each set. Compare how if feels to dance solely to a voice versus solely to instruments.
Lens: Take a look at choreographers who do a lot of music video work and note how they translate the music to the visual medium. Specifically note if they are moving to the words or the music or do they switch between the beat/melody and the singer.
Jan 10: Space: the final frontier
Prompt: Find a small space. Let it shape your work. Share your tiny footage.
Plus: Make a phrase in the small space, then perform it in a large space. Bring one of your biggest movement phrases into the small space, and note how it affects the phrase.
Lens: Film yourself with the frame of the lens just on the border of the small space doing a chose phrase inside the small space. Now widen the frame so that the small space you are in only takes up about 1/3 of the frame, and film yourself performing the same phrase. Note how the framing has an effect on the feel of the work.
Jan 11: Support
Prompt: Find a wall or doorway. Improvise in this space, using the wall or frame as support for most of your weight.
Plus: Make a phrase against a wall or doorframe. Bring a buddy into your space and then translate the phrase onto them. Note how your body moves against an inanimate vs. an animate support system.
Lens: Place the lens of your camera facing the ceiling right next to a wall. Dance with the majority of your weight and body leaning against the wall over the camera lens.
Jan 12: Enlighten me
Prompt: Find a single light source and interact with it's specific light pattern/area.
Plus: Dance the phrasework (carefully) in darkness as well as in a constrained well-light area. Note how the phrasework changes whether lit or in darkness. Write down your dream lighting cues.
Lens: Setup your camera so it is stationary. Take an object and light it from different angles using a moveable light source such as a flashlight. Watch the footage and record some material in the angles you liked best.
Jan 13: Catch-up day
Prompt: Use today to catch up to any prompts you may have missed!
Plus: Go back and review all your phrases, as well as your notes.
Lens: Review your videos so far. Make sure you have a system for keeping track of your footage. Upload anything that needs uploading.
Jan 14: Fashionista
Prompt: Pick a designer, either couture or a fabulous friend of yours, and find your ideal costume. Share it on social media! It's your ideal so money is no object.
Plus: Take note of what you like about the ideal costuming. Start a pintrest board with other versions or with aspects of the costume you like.
Lens: Take three types of material and see how they move on camera, taking into account lighting and even sound.
Jan 15: Silence is golden
Prompt: Thoughtfully perform some movement material in silence.
Plus: Try doing all your phrasework in silence. See how that influences the feel of the work. Start to decide on whether or not you will use a soundtrack.
Lens: Listen to your raw footage. Decide if you want to bring in any sound from the footage.
Jan 16: Journey
Prompt: Think about a journey you might want a viewer to take. Is it a fast-paced action? Meditative? A happy jaunt? An epic odyssey? Do an quick improvisation that attempts to take someone on a journey with you.
Plus: Write your phrase letters on index cards, and lay them out in three random orders. Dance each version, and draw the path each version takes you on. Note how each phrase influences the next one.
Lens: Take a look at your footage so far, and look back at your storyboard. Take note of how the emotional journey of the piece might have changed from your first storyboard. Update it with new footage.
Jan 17: Flip it and reverse it
Prompt: Set two timers for 30 seconds. Improvise for 30 seconds, then try to reverse the entire improv for the next 30 seconds.
Plus: Take a few of your phrases and try to perform them backward. See if you like any of them completely backward, or maybe just flipping back and forth between forward and reverse for some interesting repetition.
Lens: Load some of your footage into a video editor. Reverse your footage at various speeds. See how editing can make something more or less dramatic. Pay attention to how it can create surprise when entering or exiting a frame in reverse.
Jan 18: Thank you, next
Prompt: Make a phrase, then cut away half of it. Dance the shortened phrase, three times with feeling.
Plus: Decide what to do with any phrasework or aspects of your piece that is giving you difficulty. If it's steps, remove them. If it's music or a section of music, cut it. If it's a feeling, meditate, then move on.
Lens: Remove half of your footage but DON'T DELETE IT. Pick a date a few days from now to ask yourself what you miss. Put it back in.
Jan 19: Pose
Prompt: Come up with 3-5 poses that tell a story. Invest in a friend or some props to really tell a story. Think of ornate Renaissance paintings or fountains.
Plus: Think about tableaus/poses as part of a piece. Pause your movement for 3-5 in the work. If you can, take a photo and make adjustments to the gaze of the mover(s) and the energy of their limbs. Do this for all chosen moments.
Lens: Consider pausing both mechanical and physical. A physical pause can be the movers pausing while the camera rolls, while a mechanical pause is stopping the motion using your chosen editing software. Note how each feels different.
Jan 20: Awkward
Prompt: Make yourself move in an awkward way. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If it helps, set a timer to really make sure you stay in it for a bit.
Plus: Take your smoothest piece of material and dance it in the most disjointed fashion you can imagine. See if there are any dynamics you'd like to take from this.
Lens: Try editing some transitions at extremely awkward points, cutting off movement or limbs or phrases. Now try the longest transition your editing software will allow. See and take notes if there is energy you like within these edits.
Jan 21: Polishing
Prompt: Take a moment to move in a way where you are in charge of every movement, then switch to allowing the movement to happen to you. See how distinct you can make the difference.
Plus: Go through a part of the piece you or your dancers are struggling with go through each transition. Figure out if the dancer's body is in charge of the movement or the energy from the last movement carries through and takes over the dancer.
Lens: Think about how you are directing the camera. Does the camera follow the movement or does it lead into something already happening. Begin looking at your transitions.
Jan 22: Feedback session
Prompt: Post a phrase and ask people to comment using see / feel / do. Ask them factually what they see. Ask them how the phrase makes them feel. Ask them what the phrase makes them want to do after watching.
Plus: Open rehearsal! Have friends, a professor, a mentor, or colleague watch your piece and give feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions!
Lens: Show your footage so far to a trusted colleague.
Jan 23: Catch-up day #2
Prompt: You've made it this far! Take a look back through the prompts and use today to catch up on anything you might have missed, or go back to your favorite one for today.
Plus: Take a look back through the prompts and your notes.
Lens: Take a look back through the prompts and your notes. Review your footage.
Jan 24: Wrecking ball
Prompt: Pick one of the following options, and do your piece: Upside down / level change everything / in a chair / extreme tempo change.
Plus: Invite people to a rehearsal and let them choose the wrecking ball. How would they like to see you do this piece? Remember, you don’t have to keep any of the disruptive suggestions!
Lens: Duplicate your film project and mess with it. Change the order, mess with speed, repeat and delete footage. Go back to your original footage and keep what your liked.
Jan 25: What's in a name
Prompt: Come up with 5 TERRIBLE titles for a dance piece. Post the worst one.
Plus & Lens:: After the terrible titles, come up with 5 great titles. Sleep on it and pick the ones that speaks to you the next day.
Jan 26: Leave an impression
Prompt: Think about how you like to end improvisations or phrases typically. Post a video or a still of an ending pose or movement. No longer than it takes to inhale and exhale.
Plus: Think about your finale lighting cue, the finale image the audience sees, and consider bows.
Lens: Go back to your storyboard and sketch out your final scene. Describe it. Consider how you want to transition into credits.
Jan 27: Viewpoints
Prompt: If you can, bring an observer into the studio, or create one by doing a live facebook feed or other type of live stream. Play with the 4th wall and with audience perspective. How does it feel to completely ignore or completely engage the observer?
Plus: Ask the observer what they were drawn to watching. Think about where you want the audience to watch your piece from. In the round? Proscenium? Do you want to acknowledge the 4th wall? How about outdoors?
Lens: Export your work and watch on the largest screen you have and the smallest. Note what is missed or magnified.
Jan 28: Sum it up
Prompt, Plus, & Lens: Sum up your work this month with a word and a gesture, and post it on social media.
Jan 29: Processing
Prompt: Write about the arc of your creative process this month. What was hard? What became easier as the month went on? Share it with us and the community!
Plus: Revisit your goal from the first prompt. Did it change throughout the month?
Lens: Revisit your inspiration video playlist then review your own video. Are there any stylistic changes or edits you want to make?
Jan 30: Celebrate!
Prompt: Post a clip of yourself celebrating being creative for an entire month!
Plus: If you’re in a studio show, make sure to link to Facebook invite.
Lens: Make a 10 second teaser of your film.
Jan 31: Compliments for all!
Prompt: Look through #NACHMOprompts2019, and comment on someone else’s post saying what you like best about it. Send us your feedback on the prompts. What was your favorite prompt and why?
Plus: What prompts would you like us to include next year that we didn’t have this year?
Lens: What questions do you have about film that you would like focused on next year?