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The Great Choir Debate

Question 7 - Should choirs include 'choreography' in their performance?
Jonathan Ansell

Jonathan Ansell: "Choreography can be fantastic, but it can also be a bit self indulgent. I think there have been some groups who've made it overly complicated. I think the gospel choirs have got it to a T with a light swing, a clap and the overall group dynamic is exciting. But there are some groups where you're not quite sure what's going on and it's a bit confusing to work out who is singing."

Sharon D. Clarke

Sharon D. Clarke: "I love it when they move! Music is supposed to come from within your body; it's supposed to make you move. So anyone who sings standing still, for me, is not working. I want to see something."

John Partridge

John Partridge: "Yeah I like it! It's a bit of fun, a bit of camp – it works well! But this is a choir competition; it's not necessarily a performance competition or a choreography competition. For me, I think the choreography works best when there are just a few accents of it. If you want to underline something I think it's fine to put in a little move."

Your Comments

Joe, Birmingham, UK 2008-09-01

Depends on the piece. Choreography is great for a show tune like All That Jazz, but trivialises O Fortuna, which is dramatic enough without waving your hands in the air. Trust the material!

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Karen Bonnamy, Ickenham 2008-08-31

I totally disagree I think some movement is great when applicable however watching the choirs that have performed over the last few weeks it all looks like something out of chorus line. Some choirs do not have the ability to prance around the stage, and some choirs do not sing the sort of music that allows it. Barbershop choirs need movement but the choirs who concentrate on classical music it is just silly. A choir standing still singing a stabart Mater or Ave Maria has just the amount of talent than one jigging around to all that jazz!You could see this with the Bath Male voice choir. They should have been allowed to get on with what they were good at which is providing a wall of sound and not jigging around making them feel uncomfortable.

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Amanda, Edinburgh 2008-08-28

"how can you stand still praising the almighty creator?" You'd be astonished how easy it is. Praise can be done sitting quietly in a corner! Though I appreciate the difference made here between taking the performance to the audience and bringing the audience to the choir. Ultimately, though, a choir that's not breathing properly but doing a really super communal shimmy is missing the point.

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Anonymous 2008-08-18

If the choir have excellent breath control, posture and voice placement they can then go on to enhance the music with movement which makes for greater entertainment but not until the correct singing technique is in place.

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??????Anonamous????????????????????, England 2008-08-16

"Choreography is one of my favourite parts to a choir. It makes you feel happy and cheery and want to dance along. It is good to have a choir that have style and personality."

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Singing Bird, London 2008-08-15

Very few choirs can get away with choreography. Concentrate on a good sound and put the meaning across with facial and vocal expression.Choreography has spoiled this competition, it is distracting and often rather contrived.More for children singing!

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Izzy, Surrey 2008-08-13

In our barbershop chorus we set a few choreographed 'moves' for songs that really demand them. For everything we sing we portray the meaning of the song to the audience via appropriate facial expression and body language.

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James Davey, Chantage - BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year 2008-08-10

I think Choreography is great if you can do it, but terrible if you can't. It takes quite a lot of stamina and concentration to sing well and move at the same time, and I've seen plenty of performers suffer musically from adding over energetic movements. I think choreography is a great way for a choir to "go" to the audience, but standing really still can often bring the audience to the choir. I'm sure the choice of song should guide the choice of whether you should include choreography and, if so, how much.

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Clair Allan 2008-08-09

I thought tonight(Sat 09.08.08) that Only Men Aloud! could have done without the dancing - it distracted from their singing, which I thought was brilliant, but the dancing not so good. I didn´t vote because I didn´t know which one to vote for!

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Choirmaster, Cornwall 2008-08-04

Choreography? Sorry but you should judge a choir with your ears, not your eyes. The power of the interpretation of the piece combined with the soul (not the flashiness) of the performance should be the criteria if technique is a given. Movement should be a minimum and not a distraction.

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