We’ve all been there….the dreaded time of year when the ideas just aren’t flowing and we are facing a deadline of ten+ numbers to be choreographed in a matter of weeks...We sit and barrel though ITUNES trying to find music which inspires us to conjure up any kind of inspiration in the worst way; forcing ideas we know are mediocre just so we have a jumping off point to get something down on paper for class or rehearsal that night. But, as we all know the more we try and force something, the more resistance we create for ourselves! So, what do we do when that deadline is creeping closer and closer and staring at us in the face (along with the dancers who are waiting for our creative genius to be cast upon them?)
The most important thing to do is to “let it go.” Yes, that’s right, let it go and give into it for a while. No problem ever got solved because we were forcing a solution to it; especially when we are dealing with a process that is supposed to be artistic and organic. The other thing to do right from the jump is to not be so hard on yourself. It’s easy to do when we want to deliver amazing work for ourselves and our kids and even easier to blame ourselves as the source of the disappointment when things just aren’t flowing. This is especially prevalent if you are coming off a very successful previous choreographic season. An important thing to remind yourself of is that as much as we want to choreograph masterpieces year after year, every choreographic endeavor may not be your most brilliant creation or season. So take the pressure off yourself. It’s OK. A lot of the frustration and creative block comes from this constant desire to out-do ourselves and when you let go of the expectation and just choreograph from somewhere that truly inspires you , that is when your best work is going to be presented and put forth.
Finally, the last thing to remember is that you are not alone! EVERY teacher experiences this at some point in their choreographic career, so stop beating yourself up thinking there is something wrong with you! Every true artist goes through this because they care about the quality of their work and what they are putting out into the world. If they didn’t, they would be the ones producing the mediocre, re-creations year after year. Change your way of thinking in that you are being thoughtful, careful and thorough in terms of the works you would like to challenge yourself and your students with. Choreographing one or two solid pieces is one thing; where great time and effort can be devoted to those pieces, but when you, in a sense, have to be a “factory,” pumping out piece after piece, that is inevitably going to change the dynamic and the way in which you would normally approach your process and time management with it all.
So, instead of standing their staring at yourself in the mirror waiting for the movement and ideas to enter your body through osmosis, or wasting hours staring at the blank pages of your choreography notes waiting for the pathways and floor patterns to appear on the page, change gears until something strikes you. Play your headphones, not to find music for pieces, but because you want to just listen to music. Move around the studio because you want to improv to movement that feels good to you to get the blood pumping and go watch dance performances; not because you are trying to get inspired by someone else’s ideas, but because you love to see creation and dancers’ bodies in motion gracing a stage! That is when true inspiration will come to you and the process can truly begin!
Good Luck! May all your creations be a success!
See you in the dance studio,