Using a Theme

Page’s inspiration for 32 Cryptograms was the music written by composer Robert Moran (32 Cryptograms for Derek Jarman) and in particular the structure of the music (Musical cryptogram).

Using the theme of cryptograms, Page devised a dance piece that used the structures and the influence of the music.  This was his starting point and his choreographic process began with analysing the music so that the choreography could be devised to complement and contrast it.

Click on Page’s interactive notepad to see how he devised 32 Cryptograms by analysing the music.

Using A Theme
When a choreographer is creating a piece, in the initial stages he has to pare down what they want to impart to the audience. Page talks about always having the audience in mind when he is structuring the choreography.

Ashley Page creates a set of visual messages which are translated to the audience for their interpretation. He does this by making choices about movements, floor patterns, stillness, speed, dynamics, and the position of dancers on the stage. In addition, each theatre art elements (lighting, costume, set and music) is chosen to reinforce the intention or theme of the dance work.

An audience likes familiarity and recognises repetition, formation and structure. A skilled choreographer can use this to their advantage to lull the audience into security by repeating motifs and floor patterns, then adding in a variation of a motif to surprise and challenge the audience’s expectations. The movements in 32 Cryptograms are crafted by both juxtaposing the music against the movement, and using movement in time with the music.

Over time, Ashley Page has built a vocabulary which uses influences from many sources including bournaville, contemporary and other styles.


Watch videos: Ashley Page on creating 32 Cryptograms.