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Questioning Whilst Creating Dance

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I was playing at this studio this morning for a new choreography. This is very a familiar process for me and it usually goes something like this… jump around like a lunatic for a little bit until I warm my body, then I’ll do a bit of mandatory training like climbs, shoulder mounts and possibly Ayesha if I’m in the mood for it. After that, I try to discover how I’m feeling. What’s my energy like today and how can I translate that through my body with the inclusion of this object. The pole being the object. If there is no need to incorporate the pole into my movement then I won’t do anything with it. I’ll pretend it isn’t there, but by default, I know it’s there so I always use it somehow anyway. As you can see, there are a few stages that I have to move through to reach the point of truly being able to move with the pole in an authentic way. That’s ok with me as I recognise that good dance work takes time if you are really exploring something new.

Sure, you can brag about being able to choreograph a routine in one session, but how much research did you do in to your theme? How much did you push yourself? How many questions did you ask yourself? Did you revise any movement? Did you repeat the same movement that you know you’re good at? – I ask myself these questions all of the time because they push me creatively. Then there are more compositional questions to be asked such as; how did I play with timing, did I cover space, if so, why? If not, why? Everything should matter. There is no point in putting movement together for the sake of it, unless of course, that is what your work is about. Your work might question what comes out of a creative process when you just put one movement after the other for the sake of it? Do you start to attach an abstract theme to the work? Or does the work remain completely abstract?

Art is subjective and your process will be personal to you. I know mine is. Anyway, my aim with this post is to challenge you to think a little bit deeper, to learn more and to question your motivation to move your body. Are you motivated to please the audience? If so, why? Are you attached to the entertainment value, do you love to entertain? I do enjoy entertaining people, but there is no way that I could focus on the entertainment value of my work whilst I was moving through my creative process. It’s off putting and often irrelevant to the point of my work. I would much rather the audience sat and questioned what I’m trying to say through my body. How do they interpret the movement that I have selected for the stage?

I’m very aware that I have swiftly moved from topic to topic within this post, but I think the reason for doing so is that it offers a true representation of how a creative process operates. It is never straight forward and without its twist and turns. And if it is, for me anyway, it wouldn’t be a very good piece of work. Why? Because I don’t know any of the answers to the questions above.

If you’re interested in exploring more through your work, you can find some thought provoking tasks in the Choreography Cards pack. The feedback so far has been wonderful and I’m so glad to hear they are helping to evolve the practice of dancers around the world.

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Rowena x

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