Saturday, July 16, 2016

Making the Dance I’ve Not Made Before

As an artist it is easy to explore and re-explore a structure, topic, theme, motif, etc.  And, there is tremendous value to this deepening of the creative experience surrounding a single concept.  When we dive again and again into the waters of a single idea, we see new light, new shade, new nooks and crannies of potential. It is a beautiful practice.  The challenge in the dance world is that our field has been consistently fascinated with that which is new.  Dance makers are often seeking something new and different from their work.  There is a common striving for continual reinvention of aesthetic.  And, yet, it is hard to escape ourselves.

And, we often end up making the same dance over and over. Maybe different costumes or music or lighting, but essentially the same thing over and over. 


So, as I reflect on my newest creative endeavor, I am wondering do I try to create something new? Do I deepen something I have explored before?  And, more importantly, how do I know if I am doing what I set out to do?  Either approach is fine, but what I don’t want is to create the same dance again thinking that I am being innovative when I’m not. 

So what do I do? Where do I start?  I know some of my favorite choreographic devices. I know them well.  In fact choreographic structure, use of theme and form are strengths of mine as a choreographer. I like looking at the arc of a piece, the sense of wholeness, and the overall effect of the structure for a narrative or aesthetic purpose.  I notice that I like introducing dancers in the same way. I like grouping them on the stage in certain ways. I like balancing unison with counterpoint.  And, I love front facing and diagonal front facing (mostly for the narrative or human component of the work—after all, comedy doesn’t work quite the same when turned away from the audience).   

Now, what do I do with this information?  I want to make a new dance.  I don’t want to see myself pull out the old tricks again. At least, not this time.  So, I am dedicating myself to avoid these patterns at all costs.  I force myself to do something else. Anything else!

The dance I want to make next has the working title of Dances to Heal the Soul. Each section addressing a different style and aesthetic to serve a goal that touches the spirit, heals the soul, soothes the heart. 

Maybe, I will resort to my old ways. The comfortable habits of creation.  But, maybe I will find something new in the process.  Maybe the dance will root itself in a new value, in a new structure, or in a new aesthetic.  I can only hope. 

In the meantime, as I allow all of this to incubate in my brain, before I get into the studio, I will dream the new dream. 

No comments:

Post a Comment