Alan discusses dance choreography and music used in “Shock Nation”.
The production/filming phase of “Shock Nation” season 2 continued today. See here for my post of the previous shoot.
In today’s shoot, the predominant theme was the Shock Nation dance team rehearsing for an upcoming competition. After all, the Shock Nation dance group is at the heart of this web series!! We all appreciate the House of Royalty (HOR) dance crew, who developed the choreography, and whose members make up part of the Shock Nation dance team.
Shock Nation is a webseries about a girl growing up in the streets of Baltimore City and trying to find her way, as well as escape from living in poverty and being surrounded by a neighborhood of violence and drug addiction. She gets inspired by a dance group called Shock Nation that changes her perspective on life. This series will go through the life struggles of today’s young adults living in poverty, but through their friendship and strong bond, they realize that together they can achieve anything, thrive to keep chasing after their dreams, and survive any obstacle because their love for dance helps to save their life in ways they could never imagine. – From TruTalent Creative Works website
Watch all eight episodes of Season 1 here.
Choreography is most often associated with dance. But there are many types of choreography. Boxing choreography comes to mind, where in a film the movements of a boxing match are planned. For the purposes of this post, dance choreography is of interest.
Dance choreography is the art of designing dance. Two types of choreography are planned and improvisational.
Planned choreography is where the choreographer dictates the movements and the dancer must pretty much stick to them.
Improvisational choreography is where the dancer is allowed a wide latitude of interpretation of the music.
I saw both types at the shoot. Most was planned, but there was some free styling. Also, much of the group dancing used the unison technique, where two or more people do a range of moves at the same time.
Multiple takes required the same number to be performed over and over. In which case, relative positioning of the dancers must be maintained for each take.
What about the dance music itself? In a film (or TV show or web series) the music the audience hears is one or more of three types: diegetic, non-diegetic, and source scoring.
Diegetic music, also known as “source music”, is understood to emanate from a source in the fictional narrative or “diegesis”. Thus, the characters in the film are able to hear this music.
Non-diegetic music, most commonly known as “background music”, is understood not to emanate from the film itself, so the characters do not hear it. Most music in film, TV, or web series is of this type.
A third type is source scoring, a combination of diegetic (source) and non-diegetic (score), wherein a song may transition from one to the other and back again.
In today’s shoot, the dance music was of the diegetic type, and its source was a CD player.
As script supervisor, I had to note the name of each song and its artist. The songs were playing and sound audible as the dance numbers were being executed. But because of the nature of filming, in multiple takes and also montage shots, the music audio captured during the takes will have to be replaced in post-production so that a song will be continuous as heard by the audience. By the way, sound mixing is a post-production task, and the music (of whatever type it is of the three) is just one component of sound mixing. Other components are dialog, sound effects, and Foley.
[ Read my blog post about Foley It’s All about the Sound: What is Foley? ]
Historical note (the author’s history). Years ago I was in the studio audience of a sitcom shot in Los Angeles (cannot recall the name of the show). There was a club scene and people were dancing. During filming, there was NO music playing. Of course it was all added in post.
Behind the Scenes Photography
Here are a bunch of photos from the session. All photos are from the author’s collection.
I have forever been impressed by the talent of dancers. The coordination among a group of dancers performing a number is amazing. And having to do it over and over for all those tales! I will continue to document the “Shock Nation” experience.
Please provide your thoughts and questions in the comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. If you have a topic in mind you would like me to cover, please let me know.
Originally published March 16, 2018. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.