I honestly love working with dancers, evidenced by the fact I am now taking on my third collaboration for the year. After shooting the choreographer some demos of 'looping fun' I'd made a few months back, and a quick meeting outlining what ideas she had for the music, I had a pretty good idea of what she wanted.
I'm not so familiar with DAWs yet, and I find it easiest to do one take of my music, recorded through the looper to the DAW. In some ways its a slower process, but as a performer (predominantly), I find this process the most organic. So its one take after the other, recording a bit, sending her a demo, recording some more, adding layers that I think will work at different times, sending her another demo. Bit by bit it starts to solidify into a piece in my mind, with structure and direction. At some point I jot this down, diagrammed in a linear way to show the layers as they're added. It helps me to remember what I intend to do in the polished takes. Unlike improvising with a looper live, this requires more intention, less time spent noodling and experimenting, so I need a clear guide.
Finally, I feel I'm ready to record the take.
It was more of a hit than the initial demos, which is positive. She does want a violin on top of the guitar stuff too, though. This requires some outside help.
I have a friend of mine do the recording of a violaist improvising over the guitar looping, with our suggestions helping to frame what sorts of things she should do whilst improvising.
We've almost got the finished product, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Even better, so is the dancer. She's probably more ecstatic than I am! Well, I suppose that's what its all about.