SALLY’S STAGING SUGGESTIONS FOR “TAKADAMU"
(Swahili - Lead the Way)
Written by Sally K. Albrecht and Jay ALthouse

Premiered: 2004 West Virginia Elementary All-State, Wheeling, WV
Available: SATB #23025, 3-part mixed #23026, 2-part #23027, SoundTrax CD #23028

Staging featured on Sally’s “On the Stage!” DVD #23037 or VHS Video #23129

POSITIONING:  Mixed Voices - Guys vs. Gals, Part I vs. Part II
INTRO Reach L palm across to R w/palm down and heel pops 4X (half note beat, top of body leans to L). Shimmer L palm in while keeping elbow high for 2 beats, clasp front facing front on beat 1 of m4.
M5: repeat opposite.
VERSE 1
MEAS. 9 Jazz walk: L jazz hand moves across body to R: over and back, over and back, way up and over, then shift weight low L and R. Repeat to L with R jazz hand.
MEAS. 17 Reach L palm across to R w/palm down and heel pops 4X (lean L). On forward pull L hand overhead and back to L shoulder while upper body leans and looks R (opt. wave from stage R to L).
M21: “swing step:” both arms reach up w/palms facing each other, swing down into fists 3X (opt. step touch to R, L, and R), cross fists, arms out 90° to sides with palms facing in on beat 1 of m24.
MEAS. 25 Repeat as before on Intro.
VERSE 2
MEAS. 33 Similar to verse one, but push both palms up and over from shoulders: over and back, over and back, way up and over, shift weight low L and R. Repeat to L.
MEAS. 41 Put both palms on R neighbor’s shoulders, then hit own shoulders 2X (as if sharing your heavy load - lean over to stage R and back). Repeat.
M45: swing step as before, followed by long reach to R, shimmer in and clasp front.
B SECTION
MEAS. 53 Touch then step 2X high to R w/L fist across (or use both fists), repeat 2X high to L, then 2X low to R, 2X low to L, 2X high to R, 2X high to L.
M59: single walks w/single fist across to high R, high L, low R, low L.
MEAS. 61 Repeat 2X high to R, L, low R, L. Keep the double punches going low until you sing the word together.
M65: on together, do swing step, joining in as vocal joins in.
M71: all reach really high and low on swing steps 2X.
M73: using piano rhythm, clap front, then slap 5’s to side with neighbor (R down/L up, L down/R up, R down and grab neighbor’s L).
VERSE 1 repeat
MEAS. 75 As before through m98.
TAG  
MEAS. 99 Repeat jazz walks as before to R (opt. start on own vocal, so echo is 2 measures later) over and back, over and back, way up and over, then shift weight L and R. Repeat to L.
MEAS. 107 Moving on singers do long reach across to audience, then pull head through. Step by step singers do swing step, getting higher each time.
M115: all do swing step - up, swing down, up swing down, cross and out (arms out at 90° to side with palms facing each other.)

Writing out movement
I have to admit, writing out movement ideas is much more difficult than showing someone movements live or on a video. There are so many things to take into consideration when trying to write out movement - hand position, body position, leans, upper torso vs. lower torso, what to do when you are not singing, etc. No matter what, if a move doesn’t feel good on you, don’t teach it - it will look awkward on your singers, too. And chances are, if the vocals are falling apart, you’ve probably given your singers too much to do - so be ready to teach “Plan B” or to simplify. There are no “rules” for choreography - other than just don’t let it get in the way of the vocals!