Creating Dance with a Mental Block
For some people, creating choreography is not an easy task and it can often seem quite daunting if you are not very experienced. This is the case for the experienced choreographer too, who, will sometimes meet a mental block during their creative process. You can look at a mental block as something that is going to hinder your process, or as something that will force you to get creative and think outside of the box. Whatever the challenge, the tips below will help.
Don’t Start at the Beginning
Contrary to popular belief, starting at the beginning isn’t always the answer. Why not start in the middle and see where that takes you. You would be surprised with how much material you might produce and could potentially use this material in the beginning / end by playing with dynamics and selecting certain movements to underdevelop.
I can’t count the amount of times that this has helped me which is why I always have a camera handy to record the improvisation. I usually just do the movement as I have set it, up until the point where I am stuck, and then I just see what comes naturally without trying to force anything. This is particularly useful if I am creating a performance and can’t settle on a certain parts of the piece. I just leave it to chance by leaving that section open to improvisation, sometimes even on the day of performance as I like how it gives me something new every time.
Create without Music or use Ambient Sounds
If music is your block, it is time to let go of that track for a while. Try to create movement in silence or with ambient sound. I like Ben Frost, Olafur Arnolds and Air. This will create a significant change in the relationship between the dance movement and the music.
I created my most recent work to an operatic song and then manipulated the movement to fit a piece of pop music. I was stuck, but knowing that this works, I got out of that rut straight away.
Enter a different space
I know this might be difficult if you don’t have the option of training in different venues, but if you have a pole at home you could definitely create there instead of the studio or vice versa. Sometimes I create my best work in tiny spaces. It creates restriction which is useful for when I find myself moving away from the pole too often.
Use Everyday Movement
Pedestrian movement can even look good in pole dance. Your block might be that you’re trying far too hard and that you are overloading your work. Always remember that a simple walk or gesture has the ability to provoke thought in an audience too.
Always try to see your work from another perspective. The creative process is nonlinear and if it was, I don’t think we would find it as rewarding when the piece is complete. Giving up on an idea that does not work really makes room for something new, and who knows, the thing that isn’t working now, might well work with something in the future.