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! This year we have two new levels:

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 #NACHMO2018 so everyone can see what you've made! @NACHMO will post some of our favorite submissions on our instagram account.



Jan 1: Introduce yourself!

Prompt: State your name and NACHMO goal for the month on social media!

Plus: Find a notebook that you can keep notes in.

Lens: Start making a playlist that keeps track of videos you like.


Jan 2: Master Work

Prompt: Find an iconic dance photo and re-create it.

Plus: Watch the footage from that work and make a phrase in that style. Call this phrase A.

Lens: Watch an iconic dance film or video noting what you like about it: color balance, framing, editing, dance moves. Here are some great starting points:


Jan 3: Parallels

Prompt: Improvise with two body parts doing same movements.

Plus: Codify this movement into a 30-second phrase. Call this phrase B.

Lens: Film yourself from both the front and the back.


Jan 4: Storytime

Prompt: Find a narrative using a story that inspires you: a situation you saw on the subway, a favorite episode of TV show, a memory you have, etc. Then extract its essence, and dance it.

Plus: Make it into a one-minute phrase. Call this phrase C.

Lens: Make a storyboard of this narrative. Here is a sample printout you can use.


Jan 5: Chance Dance

Prompt: Write some action words on green post-its, tempos on blue post-its, pathways on red post-its, mix them up, and pull out one of each color. That’s your mini dance for today!

Plus: Do this three times and pick the one you like best. Call this phrase D.

Lens: Add a camera angle to your post-it group.

Jan 6: Shapes

Prompt: Find an object that looks cool and take a photo of yourself making that shape.

Plus: Think about tableaus/poses as part of a piece. Watch videos that include stillness. Balanchine's Serenade or Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street are great starting points. How does the stillness advance the piece?

Lens: Think of silohuettes and stillness. Watch videos and take notes. Start with this post from Vimeo for some great ideas:

Jan 7: 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 notes and a naming system for your video clips.


Jan 8: Playing with music

Prompt: Ask your friends for a playlist and pick a song to move to.

Plus: Pick three very different songs, and try your phrasework to all three.

Lens: Rewatch your favorite music videos, noting how the edits work with the music. Add the most inspirational to your playlist.


Jan 9: Find your groove

Prompt: Go to these Creative Commons websites and find a piece of music to work with.

Plus: Think about licensing. Research how choreographers you admire work with music.

Lens: If you know a musician who may want a video, reach out to them with your ideas for a dance film short.


Jan 10: Textual Clues

Prompt: Find a written phrase or audio recording and work movement into it.

Plus: Think about ways to incorporate text into one of your phrases: say it, project it, record it, etc.

Lens: Practice recording sound, including speaking while moving on camera.

Jan 11: Choose wisely

Prompt: Thoughtfully perform some movement material in silence.

Plus: Choose a piece of music or text - several or none - to perform your NACHMO work.

Lens: Listen to your raw footage. Decide if you want to bring in any sound from the footage.


Jan 12: Prop time!

Prompt: Find something in your living space, and explore it as a prop utilising its surfaces and negative space.

Plus: Now do that phrase without the physical item. Is it interesting? Do you want to keep the phrasework with or without the prop? Name this phrase E.

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 13: Light me up

Prompt: Watch videos of stage performances online; Check out the Jacob's Pillow digital archive for a great start!

Plus: Play with lighting in the studio. See how it feels to move with the lights on, half on, or completely off. 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 what angles you liked best.


Jan 14: Make it work

Prompt: Pick a store (brick & mortar or online) 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 pinterest 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.



Jan 15: Beginning



Prompt: Think about the arc of your future piece in terms of energy. Do you want to start with high energy? Low energy? Draw what you want the shape of your piece to look like. Imagine a rollercoaster: is it something traditional or a crazy out there engineering feat? Do you want accelerations and decelerations? Post your roller coaster.

Plus: Write your phrase letters on index cards, and assign them spots on the drawing. Don’t worry, their spots may change! Dance it in this order. Do you like it? Do you want to make changes?

Lens: Take a look at your footage so far, and start assigning it to the various sections of your roller coaster. For extra credit, bring back your storyboard and start storyboarding your future piece.


Jan 16: Repetition



Prompt: Do a phrase 3 times:

1- Perform the original.

2- Loop some movement or gestures within the phrase, repeating motifs.

3- Reverse your choreography.

Plus: Using the phrase order you developed, think about repetition throughout the piece. How do the phrases you made talk back to each other throughout the piece? How do they reference and reinforce each other?

Lens: Load some of your footage into a video editor. Begin moving clips around. Play with speed settings, and see what copying and pasting phrases or moments does to the work.


Jan 17: Cut, Cut, Cut

Prompt: Kill your darlings! Cut half of your piece. Dance the severely shortened version.

Plus: Pick a date a few days from now to ask yourself what you miss. Put it back in.

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 18: Teeny Tiny

Prompt: Find a small space. Let it shape your work. Share your tiny footage.

Plus: Bring one of your biggest movement phrases into the space, how does it affect the phrase? Is there anything here you want to keep?

Lens: Film yourself from close up and as far away as possible.


Jan 19: Audience perspective

Prompt: Pick a weird place to put your phone (not “front”), perform some movement, and then watch the dance from that angle.

Plus: After watching the footage, 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 20: Polishing

Prompt: Take a chunk of your movement and ask yourself: Am I doing the movement or is the movement happening to me? Post an example of both versions.

Plus: Go through a part of the piece you or your dancers are struggling with and answers these questions for the whole section considering each movement and transition.

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 21: Fin.

Prompt: Post 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 22:




Prompt: Post a phrase and ask people to comment using see / feel / do. Ask them factually what the see. Ask them how the piece makes them feel. Ask them what the piece 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: 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 24: Feed me

Prompt: Without showing people your movement, show them another aspect of your piece-costumes, music, or text. Ask what images they evoke.

Plus: Consider, do those images align with the mood/theme of your piece?

Lens: Consider, do those images align with the mood/theme of your film?


Jan 25: Shake it up

Prompt: Do your movement to a poppy pop song. Top 40!

Plus: How does this change the way you feel about the movement?

Lens: Play your video over a pop song. How does this change the way you feel about the movement?


Jan 26: Title, Schmitle

Prompt, Plus, Lens: Come up with 10 BAD titles for your piece. Post the worst three.


Jan 27: Sum it up

Prompt, Plus, Lens: Sum up your work with a word and a gesture, and post it on social media.


Jan 28: Processing

Prompt: Write about the arc of your creative process this month. What was hard?

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 29: Throw a compliment!

Prompt, Plus, Lens: Look through #NACHMOprompts2018, and comment on someone else’s post saying what you like best about it.


Jan 30: Feed us

Prompt: 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?

Jan 31: Celebrate!

Prompt: Post a clip of yourself celebrating the creation of your new work!

Plus: If you’re in a studio show, make sure to link to Facebook invite.

Lens: Make a 10 second teaser of your film.