Shin Tip: Episode #2 – Choreography 101

Shin Tip: Episode #2 – Choreography 101

For those of you who were unable to make our Choreography Forum, we have put together some requirements, definitions and examples of choreography which cover areas that you can focus on to help keep you and your group on track.

The Fire Conclave Council does not dictate the specifics regarding choreography. We want to give you artistic freedom and oversight, so the direction you take is up to you to decide. That being said, we do require some form of organization and cohesion to your dance.

We will be covering each of these topics below:

  1. Designing your Choreography 
  2. Seeking Inspiration 
  3. Utilizing Social Media Groups 
  4. Skillbuilding 
  5. Video Chats
  6. Brainstorming Costuming

1.  Designing Your Choreography:

This Shin Tip is packed full of information that may help you in deciding which type of choreography works best for your group, and where to find inspiration in order to get started…

What’s Required:

  • Duet:  you must open with a 90-second (minimum) duet.  
  • Fire:  there must be fire on stage at all times.
  • Transitions: smooth and well thought out transitions from one scene to the next.
  • Choreographed Dance: minimum 15 minutes of “choreographed” dance

What do we mean by “Duet”?:

The Fire Conclave Council defines a fire duet as two people directly “interacting” with each other and the fire.  Not just working side by side or in sync, but working in conjunction with one another as a team. Intertwined and connected at times. It does not need to be intimate (a sword fight can be just as intertwined) but it does have to be connected and cohesive.

What do we mean by “Transitions”?:
Transitions are “movements, passages, or changes from one position, subject, style,
concept or place, etc., to another”. In the Fire Conclave, it’s how one dance section or routine moves and flows to the next. Does it look smooth and coordinated, or choppy and chaotic?  Are performers ready and waiting to transition to the next section?

What do we mean by “Choreographed Dance”?:
Choreography comes from the Greek word Khoreia meaning “dancing in unison” and is defined as “the composition or sequence of steps and movements within dance” and “the gathering and organizing of movement into order and pattern” . 

As you can see, it is a very broad term and quite multifaceted. The Fire Conclave Council does not dictate the specifics regarding choreography. That being said, we do require some form of organization and cohesion to your dance. We do not want to see a series of solos or renegade (aka spin jam style). We want to give you freedom of expression and artistic oversight, so how you interpret this and what direction you take is left to you to decide. 

Choosing Your Choreography Style:
Over the years Choreography has evolved dramatically. Methods of composition vary radically from Contemporary, Modern, Abstract, Classical Ballet, Line Dancing, Hip Hop, Krump, African, Polynesian, Capoeira…the list is virtually endless. 

The guidelines for your submission video state that you must provide 15 minutes of “choreographed dance”. So what do we mean by that, and how do you go about achieving it? Since this seems to be a routinely asked question, we developed the Choreography 101 Forum to help you get started. If you missed it, here are links to the presentation and the slideshow:

Choreography Forum Presentation:

Slideshow: (PDF Download)

2.  Seeking Inspiration:

Finding inspiration for your dance can be a daunting task, especially if you have never dabbled with choreography before. Finding things that inspire us can be as simple as watching a show or visiting the internet. Here are a few things we suggest to help get you headed in the right direction:

  • Visit the Internet:  YouTube and Vimeo can be a tremendous help when searching for ideas. Seek out diverse choreographies such as martial arts expositions, marching bands, step routines, cheerleading competitions, flash mob routines, and even the opening ceremonies from the Olympics to give you the spark you are looking for.
  • Watch Movies and TV:  If you’re not binge watching “World of Dance” you should be! There are also some great movies out there which can help when you’re feeling stuck as to where to start. Search Netflix for movies like Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Moulin Rouge, Stomp the Yard, and don’t forget oldies featuring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire! These can all help with the inspiration you need to pull together a routine, sometimes even an entire show. Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Disney…

Here are a few of our favorite links to help you get started:


Fire Conclave Submission Videos:



Synced/Staggered Synced Style:

Narrative Style Choreography:

Featured/Background Style:

Fight Choreography:

Flash Mob Style:

Large Group Formations:

3.  Social Media Groups: 

Try starting an online group for each pod or routine. This way people can stay involved and discuss moves, music suggestions and more!

4.  Skill Building:

Have each group find two or three new moves and have each person practice them. You can seek out tutorials online, and challenge people to learn a new move each week. In a month, your group has 4 new moves down!

5.  Video Chats: 

Video chats for small groups are a great tool for showcasing new moves or dance moves. It also gives visual learners a great way to see the moves you are doing, and start to think about transitioning them all together. This is a great tool when your group is spread out in different locations.

6.  Costuming:

This is a great time to start a group of people interested in costuming. Get people to sketch out easy costuming ideas, or search out make-up ideas online!

The bottom line here is that although the future can still change in a moment’s notice, we can still be doing things to advance the dance…

Keeping the Flame Alive,

Crimson, Tabasco, Wrangler, Scorch and Natalie

The Fire Conclave Council

Photo Credits: Vimala Faith, Espresso Buzz, Kevin LeVezu, Vanessa Franking