Choosing Inspiration

My name is Amanda Hinckle and I am the President of Orchesis, the Modern Dance Company on campus.  As a part of my presidency, I get to choreograph the finale piece to our performance, Evening of Dance, which involves the entire company.  I think one of the most daunting parts about choreographing can be choosing your topic—or at least that was what I thought this year.  I had choreographed for Evening of Dance last year, but it was a piece that I knew I wanted to create for years.  I had a totally different process going into this Evening of Dance.

I am preparing to graduate this spring, and with that vague concept called “After College,” comes the uncertainty of my dance career.  I knew I was never going to go professional.  I was extremely happy to find that I could have a rigorous dance performance experience at the College through Orchesis, but I never saw myself continuing dance after I graduated.  Therefore, I saw this piece as the culmination of my dance career, both at William & Mary and in my life.  I wanted it to be an epic culmination of my love for dance and any other interests I could pull in.

Last year, my piece was about the six wives of Henry VIII.  I have always loved Tudor history and I had this piece in my mind since high school.  I started going down the road of history, but nothing seemed big enough.  I started to think about art history and the Renaissance, with the idea that I would create morphing tableaux of various paintings.  I then considered focusing on one painting and trying to “paint” with dancers.  I was not sold on the idea, but I started “researching” on Pinterest.  Scrolling through pins and pins of paintings, I came across Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.  I stopped on this image and thought— “This would be an epic ending of a dance.”  There was only one problem: How to you make a beginning an end?  It was in this moment I started thinking about going back through history.

I quickly purchased E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, which gave a quick and concise history from the beginning of time to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which set the parameters of the piece.  I was intrigued with starting a piece with destruction and ending with creation.  Also, I liked the idea of calling my piece “Atom to Adam.”

What I liked best about this idea was that it pulled from all of my various interests.  I am a History and English major, so I knew I wanted to focus on history.  I used the various history classes I have taken to garner inspiration from various movements.  I also have an interest in Art History, so I was pleased to pull in various paintings into the piece, as well.  I felt that this piece would be the perfect culmination of all my interests and time at William & Mary.  I do not think I could have created a better piece.