Hungry Torsos - Can I make a dance piece about halved zombie carcasses
I have to first admit that although I am a dance educator and artist, on the occasions I find myself with a few carefree moments I go straight to a fantasy hack-n-slash computer game. Playing with friends while questing to cleanse the world of any manner of scourge while leveling up your character and finding new items to replace that +3 broadsword you've had since level 26 is fun and a great way release some stress.
Having played through many game titles in a similar genre, one of funniest characters I have encountered are what the game called "Hungry Torsos." Yes, even the bad guys have to have a name and these undead zombies crawl out from shrubbery as you are adventuring through the forest. They are only a torso and have no legs but are wicked fast and the name cracked me up. I thought, 'wouldn't it be interesting to make a dance about these', and that is when I was challenged by my fellow gamers (my brother and husband) to do just that! They said, make a dance piece about these creatures, use heavy metal music (because they thought that would be perfect) and call it "Hungry Torsos." My first thought was that I really wasn't into heavy metal music but the challenge of trying to create choreography while conveying a story and using mostly the upper body was intriguing. Here was a real world quest and I chose to accept it. Here we go!
Music was researched. Lucky me, my brother is an avid connoisseur of metal music and immediately began suggesting artists and titles. He wanted me to listen to the merits of each song that he believed would work. Mostly it was instantly ear burning and I had a hard time finding a selection that would do the trick without instantly displeasing the audiences ear. I decided on trying to find a metal song that did not include lyrics as this seemed to be the harsher part for me to handle. A song was found that was lyric free, had a melodic pattern, progressed musically and was in my four minute window; which was as long as I believed the piece should be. Now the hard work begins. How to choreograph this piece...
First I needed to set up the storyline for this piece as the music lends itself well to a tale unfolding before your eyes and ears. Two adventures will be traveling through the woods and come upon a zombie graveyard. Of course they won't know it, so when the ground seems to come alive and torsos appear trying to devour them, they are shocked an immediately try to fend them off. Do the torsos overtake them? Do the adventures escape? How will I disguise the bodies on the ground? This is where I need to explore what works with the piece and how the story develops choreographically.
This will be a challenge to have the story be understood while still developing interesting choreography that is mostly ground based. I plan to explore different movement with the dancers on the ground to see what we can create and the set it to the music. "Hungry Toros" here we go.