life awakeners

There are three types of relationships in this world – all of them are wonderful (at times), and work to fulfill a specific role in your quest for balance.

1. Relationships with people who share common goals.

Your school friends. The people you go to class with every single day. The people who know when you’re having a good day or not, based solely on what your makeup looks like. The people applying for the same 9897 jobs as you.

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

2. Relationships with people who work within the same field, but don’t share (immediate) common goals.

The Dumbledores, Mr. Oklahomas, Ms. Weight Sensings, recent grads, and younger comrades in your life. It’s all the same talk, just at different points along the continuum of (professional) life beyond higher education. There’s very little competition in these relationships because a hierarchy definitely exists (…as in, you’re eventually either receiving advice/letter of recommendation or providing one…) These are also the people who often have to switch hats to accommodate – like professor/turned advisor/turned friend/turned choreographer all within an hour. These are the people I feel the most supported by – they totally understand what’s going on at any given point, and then know just the right thing to say to get me off the couch and into motion. I basically want to be these people when I grow up. Thank you!!!

3. Relationships with people who have absolutely nothing to do with your chosen field.

I know this might sound a bit crazy, so try to bear with me. There are these…people out there who don’t actually wear spandx’y clothing on a regular basis, or who don’t give a flying-F about the concert versus commercial dance Venn diagram. I know…weird…

These are the also people who are like, “Oh, you won that super competitive dance award? Congrats…go take a shower, you smell like an animal.”

Buzz kill. But also…life awakener! (…yes, that’s now a thing…)

These are the people who remind us that there’s an entire world outside of the dance studio, and that it’s okay NOT to be in the dance studio from time to time. When we psycho-Dyvas get all crazy in our heads about these daunting deadlines and artistic goals, we need these people to pull us out and give us a reason to smile (beyond knowing Martha Graham Dance Company will be at Jacob’s Pillow this summer – or Jacob’s Ladder as my family insists on calling it…)

My man friend, the Ethnic Prince (who has been waiting for an honorable mention since I started writing this blog…here it is, sugar buns!) immediately caught my smeye (smize/smeyze…get it?) when the first he thing asked upon hearing that I was a dancer was, “Oh so like, you must study dance theory, and shit?”

YES!!!! And shit!!! No, I am not a stripper! No, I am not on Dancing With the Stars! Yes, I’m totally really smart! DING DING DING!!!

What the Ethnic Prince has taught me is that these “other people” we have in our lives don’t necessarily have to understand what we do in the studio, they just have to appreciate it and value our commitment to it.

America's couple.

America’s couple.

Dear General Society: If you are going to pretend that what I do is a make-believe profession, then you and I are not going to be friends. If you are going to admit that maybe you’re a bit jealous that I can not only tell you about the mechanics of the body (and how it moves through space), but then make beautiful things with those bodies in space, and then articulate in words what I saw those beautiful bodies doing in space…then I’ll definitely consider making friendship bracelets for the two of us. Sincerely yours, KapDaddy

We all need balance, people. We build community that not only shares common interests and values, but mutual support. There are times when it’s necessarily to feel a little competitive with your peers (not like, break their kneecaps competitive, but enough to light a little fire under your butt), times you need to bounce ideas off of someone who’s already been in your shoes, and then there are moments when you need to sit with your other friends and laugh about that one time you got in serious trouble for drinking (…spilling…) pickle juice in the pool when you were eight.

Ding-a-ling-a-ling!!!

Who’s there???

Your LIFE AWAKENER!!!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

David Dorfman Dance is Delicious

I want to be a Dorfman. There, I said it.

And not just because they sang Happy Birthday to me at midnight on my 25th, and then again in class a few hours later…although, that definitely didn’t hurt the case…

I wish that someday I'll become a DDDancer...

I wish that someday I’ll become a DDDancer…SO ADORFABLE!

In the meantime however, I’ll have to settle for being a Dorfable (Get it? Like, the Isadorables…I’m a Dorfable…whatever…)

David Dorfman Dance took over the department last week, teaching various technique classes, participating in a few round-table discussions, and presenting their most recent work, Come, and Back Again.

Given the fact that I have a not-so secret crush on Mr. Oklahoma (the self-proclaimed [and I quote] “…perfect combination of all the Golden Girls”) and Kendra Portier (see her here as #2), I sort of knew before the week even started that I would love this company’s residency. (And now I love Raja and Whitney too!)

(You should also know that I did end up telling Kendra in person – over wine and cheese – that I loved her…that sort of sounded way more romantic than it actually was…kind of…)

Anyways…to be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with the history of the company, having only ever seen one or two video recordings of the same few pieces—so I didn’t actually know what to expect from their new work. (Lay off me, I’m still sort of new to this world of concert dance…) I did however have a pretty good feel for their aesthetic, as Mr. Oklahoma is one of Brockport’s own—and I recently had the pleasure of performing in his latest show, which was as we all know by now, an experience that I loved with my whole heart. I’ve also taken class from a few former Dorfables (see #5 here), and have yet to leave any Dorfman-related experience uninspired.

I’m not mad.

So let’s just get it out there (once again), not only do I lust for DDD, but I love DDD. Do you hear me, David Dorfman Dance? I love you. I will never not know the history of your company ever again, pinky promise.

Ok, sorry…back on track…every moment of this performance was alive; the vigorous movement vocabulary shared by all of the dancers, even David Dorfman himself, was executed with incredible confidence and ease. It was evident in their performance both on the stage and in the studio that each dancer has an unwavering sense of self –  this was extremely humbling to witness.

The “point of aliveness” is where this company’s work lives; that point where none of life’s little variables actually matter—but where you must take action NOW to stay alive…yeah, that’s what David Dorfman Dance does best. David gave the following example (a rough quote) when describing this particular quality: You don’t slow down to put your fancies on when your house is on fire, you get your tush out of that house regardless of what your hair looks like! Now MOVE!!!

There was such honesty within each dancers’ performance, as so much of their work relies on not only a shared experience with one another, but with a million other aspects incorporated into the production as well. Somehow Mr. Dorfman managed to integrate various multi-media sources, live sound, text, and props (including a little paper doggy) into this one show, and it all worked.

Talk about interdisciplinary collaboration.

I can say with full confidence that this was one of the few times I’ve witnessed a work with text that hasn’t totally pulled me out of the performance; it was actually incredibly moving, leaving many of us (myself included) a little misty-eyed…dangit. There was something about hearing the dancers call each other by name that really allowed me to buy into this world of (eventual) mortality, a reality that we will all inevitably face at some point in time—their experience just seemed so genuine (all because of a little name calling, I presume). Oddly enough, this specific world – despite a death’ish tone – looked sort of fun…is that weird?

I often find myself getting so wrapped up in the experience of any company that visits for a residency, and I always convince myself that I want to be part of it, even if I know it’s not for me (…slut). But like I mentioned earlier, I still feel sort of new to this world of concert dance, and somewhat naive to what and who’s out there making work with a value set that aligns with my own. I can honestly say now however (as I may have indicated once or twice), that this company is what I want my future to look like.

I want to be affiliated with a group of people who values learning every person’s name in the room within ten minutes of starting a master class, that has managed to find the balance between athleticism and grace, virtuosic and ordinary, but most importantly – a company that creates work with an agenda that matters. David Dorfman Dance doesn’t shy away from the politics of dance performance, and I love that they never apologize for having an opinion.

Sorry I’m not sorry. Now go do your homework, and check out their website.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

the inner circle of concert dance

So open disclosure, I’m totally going through my quarter-life crisis right now…as in, one of my friends cut out a magazine article the other day about how to survive a quarter life crisis…before I ever actually came out and said anything about going through my quarter life crisis. This is my life, friends…I’m turning 25 in a few days…it’s officially the beginning of the end…

So with all of that being said…

The more people I meet and the more work I do within the world of concert dance, the more I realize how small that world actually is. In some ways, it’s extremely reassuring to know that the inner circle is actually somewhat attainable, and that it’s all essentially just one incestuous pool of love and talent…that is, once you make it into the inner circle.

I feel like the few opportunities I’ve had in the past few months have demonstrated the potential for all that this incredible world has to offer, and as I mentioned a few weeks ago…I now know that I really do WANT IT ALL! The thing is, I sort of feel like I’m standing on the peripheral (the wings, if you will…), impatiently witnessing all of the fun, not quite included yet…but closer than some…and hissing at anybody that threatens my potential spot a few years down the road.

Sometimes I wonder (okay, lately I’ve been consumed with wondering…) if once I’ve graduated there will actually be room for me as a contributing member of the love/talent pool of incest? What opportunities are going to be around when I’m no longer engaging in residencies and faculty repertory classes within the Brockport bubble, but rather, I’m just one of the other 200 white, female dancers showing up to an audition?

I haven’t even graduated yet, and I already have some serious professional-dance FOMO.

mind if I join you po-mo'rinas?

Mind if I join you po-mo’rinas? (AKA…Can I play???)

Here’s the thing, it wasn’t even two weeks ago that as I sat in Dumbledore’s office discussing my future she said, “Nicole, the world is yours. How exciting!” …Is it though?

I have been incredibly blessed while at Brockport and have had numerous opportunities to perform and embrace the world of concert dance for all that it is, and I truly have nothing to complain about. Sometimes though, I can’t help but wonder if there really is a seat for me at the round table of real-life dance. The question as of late has become, why do I feel so incredibly threatened by just about everyone? How competitive is it really going to be to find work once I’m up against all the other “Nicoles’ from all over the country?—and what about the up and comings? Where will we all fit???

I will say that I do have a few enlightened moments from time to time as I work through this awful and uncomfortable QLC, when I not only sort of see things clearly, but I think I can see the glitter in them as well. Even as I type this, I have to remind myself that success is all relative to how you choose to define it, and that there will be room for me at that round table…when the timing is right. My job now (…as a student) and in the future (…life post graduation) is to stay true to myself while I continue to work hard.

The good news is, there is only one me in this world, and as long as I “do me” well, nobody else can compare.

Good things happen to good people, and if I’m spending my days wishing for every other dancer in the world to slip on ice…then I’ve pretty much wished some inevitable trouble upon myself. Competition does not have to exist if I choose to engage my mental energy in other, more constructive ways…like fostering healthy and supportive relationships with those dancers (not slipping on ice) as we engage and establish our own inner-circle of sorts. These people who I worry about taking my spot one day may actually, and probably eventually, create new spots for me to fill…again, when the timing is right. The world of dance is small, yes…but it’s only exclusive if you choose to perceive it as such.

The fear of missing out will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if and only if that’s what I choose.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

you want me to eat my food off of a plate???

How many times have you heard in your life, “integrate X-activity into your practice”…

Mmmmmm by practice…do you mean…show up two minutes before class starts with just enough time to take my shoes off…and then run out of the room right after class finishes to not think about any of it again until…the next class two days later?—oh, while also making sure to eat an abundance of Fritos and chocolate truffles while running to and from the studio?

Yes? No?…wait, really…No?

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to figure what all this “practice” hoopla is about…and through pragmatic research, I’ve decided that it’s not in fact a hypothetical thing that artsy-artists just say as one more way of isolating you from feeling legitimate. In fact, how many times have those artsy-artists made you feel like the biggest fraud ever for not actually understanding what it means to feel connected into the earth?

Ummm the floor is in the way, guys. I don’t care how hard you practice, the floor is definitely in the way…

So I say…screw the artsy-artists, I’m here to tell you from one Dyva to another, that you too can have a real-life, legitimate practice. You (yes, you!) can regularly engage in a series of activities that not only make you feel confident to throw glitter all over your kinesphere, but you can engage in activities that actually prepare you to go ham with your glitter without ever having to risk pulling a hammy (did you actually follow that logic?). Sounds like a win-win, yes? Yes.

As my performance opportunities have increased in the past few months, I’ve really started to identify what I need from my body to feel available and prepared for a successful performance. I can eventually find a comfortable groove to live in once I’ve hit the stage, as long as I know that I’ve primed both my mind and my body–especially when I’m nervous (as I seem to turn into a clammy mess of emotions).

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

For me, my practice starts first thing in the morning; I know that if I don’t sit down at the kitchen table and eat my breakfast off of a plate, that the rest of my day is a lost cause. If I can’t slow down long enough to feed myself like a human being, then all sense of balance follows suit, and I can pretty much kiss a grounded performance goodbye.

Other things I need?

  • Healthy food that doesn’t make me feel bloated (I’m looking at you, dairy!)
  • A good plank and a downward dog
  • Some leg-swings
  • Several plies
  • Lots of standing roll-downs (…the official name, I’m sure)

…and finally…

**I MUST balance on releve on either foot while singing, “Whistle” by Flo-Rida. I do not step on stage without this final exercise being accomplished successfully. I have never been so serious in my life. (…please excuse the crude lyrics and images…I can’t really explain the appeal…it just is what it is…)

So that’s my list for performance needs, but even for class I require a little maintenance. Attending class regularly is a practice in itself, but my curiosities should always be alive to be truly invested and engaged in the material (even when I’m not in the studio under the guidance of a teacher and their syllabus).

Technique class is my version of a scientist’s lab, blow shit up and don’t worry about being on good behavior until the science fair eventually rolls around.

I think one of the most important parts of engaging in a practice is to first allow yourself to be humble. Practice makes perfect is a grossly summarized version of my mantra…or at least what I want it to be:

Practice makes failure. Failure makes progress. Progress is perfect.

Until the next science fair rolls around (or lets say, my next performance in April), I’ve got to stay committed to taking unapologetic risks in class. Not succeeding one day doesn’t mean I fail forever, it just means that I have a new goal to work towards. That’s exciting.

What do I need to feel successful in technique class?

  • I can’t be too hungry or too full.
  • KapDaddy must visit the potty. I know I’ll have to pee, I always do.
  • I’ve got to turn off all technology at least 20 minutes before class so that I can focus my energy away from the distraction of social media and back in towards my body.

Seriously though, who can concentrate on undercurves with a raging case of FOMO? Not this Dyva.

I hate to say it, but *knowing that I have a practice and then *owning that I have a practice sort of makes me feel like an artsy-artist. But don’t worry, not the annoying kind…the floor is definitely still an issue…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

why i love to dance…again…

I feel like you should first know that about six months (or so) ago, I had a little chat with Dumbledore about my decision to eventually (sooner than later, actually) transition away from dancing into purely dance scholarship. I can remember thinking that dancing was no longer satisfying, but rather an added source of anxiety; I also knew that I love(d) to write, so maybe I was just meant to be the next incredible dance historian…maybe I still will be…but because of this show however, I now love to dance again.

Let's dance...forever!

Let’s dance…forever!

I feel like (still) not having experienced life outside of an academic setting, I was tired of feeling like I needed to perform for a grade, and that my curiosities had become complacent because I was purely dancing to fulfill a list of expectations as listed out on some class syllabus.

And then Mr. Oklahoma, the Artistic Director of Red Dirt Dance asked me (without actually asking me) to dance in his show, and then surprisingly, things started to quickly turn themselves around. I remember feeling so nervous at our first rehearsal back in November …even though I had spent (and continue to spend) a fair amount of my day, every day with this man. It was essentially my first time out as a not-student working as a professional alongside a professional (a professional who has David Dorfman on speed dial) for a professional gig…

As we continued to rehearse two pieces together, a trio and a solo, I found myself rediscovering why I ever loved to dance way back when I was five.

  1. I sort of get to do the “lyrical-face”…yes, you know exactly what I’m talking about—and we all know po-mo dance rarely leaves room for “facials”.
  2. I was involved in a process that demanded my full attention and creativity on the spot. I was finally being treated like a professional…because, well let’s face it…I’ll be 25 in two weeks, and I sort of am a professional.

So once I adjusted to this new role, I decided to wear my hat as a working dancer with pride and enthusiasm. This process has been challenging, but so so fulfilling.

And guess what Dyvas and Dyva’men? I’ve redecided that I want to dance for the rest of my life!

P.S. Come see this show this weekend, it’s incredible!
P.P.S. The flashmobs were also incredible…and incredibly rewarding! A grand total of five…count them, FIVE not-mobs took over campus yesterday, and it was glitterific to the max!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

dance the fight!

You may or may not have heard about the horrific event that happened on Brockport’s campus earlier this year, and it’s still so hard to believe that something so traumatic and terrible could ever happen within such a small, charming town…right down the street from where I lay my head every night—but it did…and stuff like this happens all the time…

Domestic violence needs to stop!

As part of the One Billion Rising national movement on 2/14, Brockport has created a series of events…a day of dance events…in efforts to contribute to this imperative fight against domestic violence. Yours truly has been employed to create a two-part site-specific dance, or as we’re calling it a (not) flashmob for the entire campus (and maybe even you!) to participate in! Check us out, Brockport Breaks the Chain!

Two flashmobs will take place, one at 10:14am and one at 12:14pm, and then a two-minute dance-along will take place at 2:14pm. You don’t have to be a member of the Brockport community to share in this fight, press play on the following video and dance along wherever you may be in the world.

Dance along with ME!

This is just one regional event amongst NUMEROUS others around the globe. It is such an honor to be part of an event where dance is not only communal, but works serves the community as well.

Domestic violence is not okay, and should never be tolerated.

We need you to get up and dance!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

feeding your (other) interests

While it’s fun to say I’m a dancer, chances are you’re also something else all at the same time.

“I’m a dancer and a secretary.”
“I’m a dancer and a teacher at a studio.”
“I’m a dancer and a waitress.”
“I’m a dancer and a DYVA”…obviously

You get the point.

I think it’s important to recognize that while there are still a few jobs out there that offer full-time work for dancers (…in Minnesota…), most of us are going to have to find supplemental work to support our passion for the arts. The question then becomes, what is my something else?

If I may, I suggest filling your time with work that feeds your interests while both fulfilling and challenging you as a unique individual. If working at a coffee shop is where you want to be, that’s great…you make that coffee!!! For me however, I’m going to need to find work that makes me feel just as valued and excited as when I finish rehearsal…

So how do you do this? Well…do yourself a favor, and when you’re already busy making your new website, continue to soul search and dig just a little bit deeper. As you discover how/why you make it rain in the dance studio, think of other areas that make you excited enough to want to throw a little glitter in the air.

I’ve talked about the show I produced way back in the day, and well, I love philanthropy and contributing to my community! Maybe I pursue part-time work at a non-profit organization, maybe I find a way to make a career out of producing my own shows? The key is patience; be patient with yourself and with your journey. We know that you (I) love to dance, but somebody has to pay the bills…consistently each month. I can pretend that I’ll be okay not making a regular paycheck, or I can be proactive NOW while it’s still January to pursue opportunities for when I graduate. I may end up working in an office for a bit, but that’s okay because it’s not forever. As long as the work I’m doing feeds my soul, my soul is happy.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

make it rain…online

In this day and age (Hey 2013!!!), is it enough to just dance anymore?  Maybe. But not for me…

Who thought (when they were six years old) that by the time the 2000’s rolled around, we’d by flying? Well, we’re not exactly flying, but thanks to the not-so recent advances in technology, we’re now able to make an appearance overseas without ever having to leave the comforts of our living rooms….jammies…or even kittens…

How old do I sound right now? I swear I’m still in my 20’s…

As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to finding work, self-promotion is JUST as important as quality studio-time. With the internet and social media making the once expansive world teeny-tiny, you can never really know who’s scouting you out (RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT) from the opposite side of the globe; so why would you not put yourself out there?

don't leave us!!!

don’t leave us!!!

There are so many free websites waiting for you to make one of their nine-million premade templates your new online-home; whether it be blog, personal website, or even video channel, there aren’t enough reasons to keep you from showing your face online. Consider this your personal invitation; please join me with an online presence that extends a smidge past Facebook and Twitter!

You can RSVP by checking out one of the following links:

www.weebly.com

www.wix.com

www.wordpress.com

www.youtube.com

www.vimeo.com

I’m not asking you to indulge us in all of your most personal information; I don’t actually want to steal your identity…

I do however want to know what makes you unique in a world of dance where everyone can essentially start to look the same. Even if you’re just starting out, creating a website sort of forces you to identify your niche. What about you is marketable? What are your strengths/weaknesses? When you’re forced to choose the content that essentially represents your “brand”, you quickly start to realize why you’re special, and why your skills are the bomb.com. Exuding confidence is always sexy…right?

Get sexy…Get online…Get a job!!!

Things to consider as you’re creating your page:

Language: Who’s your target audience? The content you choose should represent the people you’re speaking to—keep them in the loop with relevant lingo and an appropriate tone.
Just be honest: People can see right through disingenuous crapola within seconds of hitting “publish”. Don’t alienate your followers by trying to be anything you’re not.
Who are you?: If not your resume, find a way to share a brief bio with your community. Why should people care about you and what you do? This is your page to self-indulge, so…unapologetically Dyva-stomp all over the place.
-Reviews: Now it’s time to share what other people think of your work. It’s like once the hot girl gives the geek a chance, all the bitches want a piece. Not that you’re a geek…
-Multimedia: Now that you’ve shared in words why/how you make it rain glitter, and you’ve shared other people’s descriptions of your incredible rain-making skills…it’s now time to prove it. Post excerpts of work you’ve either created or have been in that demonstrate you’re the shiz.
Apologize: Wait…don’t do that. Never apologize. Be intentional. Be original.

Share: Let us know when your new sites are up and running!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

be the OG…don’t steal from the OG

So rumor on the street is that everything’s already been done before…well that really blows, now doesn’t it? What’s a DYVA to do when the glitter she’s all ready to throw has supposedly already landed…years ago…maybe even centuries ago?

(S)HE MUST FIND A WAY TO REINVENT THE WHEEL, duh. You’re right, it’s not broken, but it’s now his/her responsibility to make this (new, cooler, hotter) version of the (dance-)wheel unique and distinctly NOT the original…unless it’s an updated edition/restaging/ummmm…you get the point.

The line between plagiarism and originality (given the circumstance, of course) can be tricky, but it definitely doesn’t have to fall within that gray area of questionable intentions if you’ve not only done your research, but are also smart about your actions moving forward.

Steal my glitter...I will behead you. Just kidding...sort of...

Steal my glitter…I will behead you. Just kidding…sort of…

Inspiration for a new project often comes from a variety of sources and people, it’s then your job as an artist to take said inspiration and use it as a springboard from which new ideas are developed; as in…move far far away from the original version by layering many your own ideas over it. The goal here is to make sure that even the most seasoned and educated eye will have to take (at least) a second glance to realize the similarities.

Make sure to cross check that any glaring light of familiarity to the OG choreographer/writer/designer is neatly suffocated underneath your layers upon layers of Dyva-glitter. Rest assured that somebody will notice, if not the artist themself…and let’s get serious, nobody wants to be known as a cheater-wiener.  Again, take this advice if and only if you’re claiming to be original, if your intent is to pay homage to a choreographer/writer, make it known.

Loud and proud, baby.

As we approach a new semester, lots of new projects will be conceived and it’s so easy to borrow ideas (sometimes unintentionally) from the people you work with on a daily basis. Just make sure to take a step back every so often throughout process to ensure that what you’re “creating” is actually YOUR creation. There’s nothing worse than finishing a project that you’re so proud of and then having almost everyone refer to it as somebody else’s work.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

starting new

It’s been an interesting start to 2013 to say the least—I barely even had time to set a resolution! I did however manage to survive the apocalypse of 2012, and it appears as though you have too. Congratulations!

Within the first week of the New Year, I celebrated my mom’s new marriage as well as mourned the sudden loss of my grandfather (this guy #9 on the list…my favorite man in the whole wide world…), and with these two enormous events literally falling back to back, I was faced with the dilemma of having to write two separate speeches about some pretty important people in my life in a just short amount of time. How was I possibly supposed to start writing something that could do either relationship justice when there were literally a million things to say?

As I sat there staring at not one but two blank pages on my computer screen, it occurred to me how metaphoric this situation was to life in general. Sometimes life happens unexpectedly, sometimes you can see it coming, but either way, new beginnings often require deliberate action (at least they do for me). I very rarely approach a new situation/task without some premeditated game plan stored away in my back pocket; once I have a plan of action, I’m fine…I just struggle with the whole ‘make a plan of action’ bit…

Where and how to start??? (my two least favorite queries…)

I find that with anything…starting a paper, a new semester, or even choreographing a new dance (ok…especially with choreography), that once I make the giant world of opportunities into a small pond of options, I’m all of a sudden free to make a move; surprise, restrictions are actually my friend! I used to think that imposing limitations would only hinder my creative process, and I worried that by assigning a specific task to my process I was eliminating the creative portion of the job. What I failed to realize however was that if I didn’t choose a focus, my work would invariably turn out disjointed and disorderly.

Ummmm…have you ever anchored a boat out in the middle of the ocean? When all you can see in either direction is water, it can become extremely daunting to figure out which direction will take you home at the end of the day. Sometimes all you need is a compass to inspire a successful pathway, you just have to remember to pack the compass before you leave the dock in the morning.

take me home!

take me home!

In the case of my grandpa, I thought about his legacy; rather than trying to recall every memory, I wrote about how his values have impacted my life and how our relationship was unique because of those principles. I took a similar approach when writing about my mom, I thought about the principles of our family and how this new marriage would feed them. As I said earlier, I could have written a million different things about either person, and if I had, nobody but myself would have understood it—I knew that the end result needed to reach a broader audience, so I wrote accordingly.

Soooo…how do you make a compass of your very own?

-First, you must paint a clear picture of what “home” looks like. Detail everything you know about the finished product before you even get started.
-Pick out one or two details about your “home” that are important to you. Consider this information as you build a plan of action. Consider drawing a mind-map.
-Work slowly and commit to each step as it develops. I often work backwards in my head before I make any move physically.

I find that sometimes I need to work out of order; maybe jumping ahead to a new paragraph/movement phrase is what you need to find clarity in what you’re doing in the present moment. Nothing is precious; throw things away if they aren’t working and keep making strides forward. Keep your eye on the prize and your emotions in check.

Here’s to new beginnings. It’s going to be great. Happy 2013!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,