Pre-production might be the most valid time in a creative process regardless if it's for a corporate event, the Tony Awards or a Broadway Show.
It's the time where you sit around maybe for the first few days and talk about the deeper meanings of each moment, challenging each other to maybe even see a different point of view: What do we want the movement to look like, how will the number build? Is the number the palette cleanser, the 11 o'clock number, the first time we learn something about the character.
Eventually we then get on our feet, and start creating the movement. A lot of the time we will play the music and start dancing to create the language of movement first and become inspired by each other.
Just recently for Frozen we did a "double pre-pro" so to speak. First, Charlie Williams (my fellow associate on Frozen), choreographer Rob Ashford and I had time in a studio with the music department to create the foundations for all the big numbers. Then we did a second layer, where we taught a skeleton crew of six dancers and saw where things really worked or where it wasn't as successful as we thought it might be and could make changes quickly. Therefore when we start rehearsals with the cast we are already one step ahead.
On corporate events, I have to work very quickly so pre pro is even more important. I have to have a super solid plan of everything that needs to be achieved as you only have a few days to create the magic.
Pre-production is unbelievably valid time and should always be budgeted in, there is no doubt that a much better product is always created.
Listen to our podcast episode on pre-production here.