I'm going to be terribly truthful here, more truthful than I might be comfortable with for a blog post, for the feeling I'm finding and its corresponding language is still emerging and finding form in thought for me. I feel vulnerable as I feel it, unsure of what it might mean.
I will tell you, because it's in the telling that more emerges, and because I think you may have lost your creative way at some point, too, that I lost my choreographic way. I can't pinpoint when it happened. I know I no longer loved to make dances the way I used to, so I left making dances that way and in the leaving left making dances for a time. For a year, really.
I didn't quit dance. Another way of telling this is that I've done what any artist needs to do in life from time to time - make a living and diversify my professional life. I began work as editor of Edible Columbus and began my practice of teaching yoga. I love this work. Love it. I'm so thankful to be a part of the beauty and meaning these projects bring to people's lives.
But I am a choreographer. I see things choreographically. What does this mean? Well, I've written about it here and here. It means I need to be making a dance regardless of what other projects are going on in my life. It means I need to move things around, people around, to make meaning out of life. It means that when I photograph something I am seeing it choreographically, so how time and space are playing off the object or situation to enhance its meaning. It means I need to be in a room with other people and music playing and time receding and things being unclear and play happening and we just start making movement and see where it takes us.
The way I used to make involved thoughtful, preparatory stages of research where I gathered lots of text and photographic images as inspiration and information for the dance. Then I went into the studio and began to work with no real idea of what I wanted to make. Only these images and ideas as a jumping off point. And, of course, collaborators.
Now, that need for preparatory creative research has left me. I feel like my life is the creative research. What frightens me more, and perhaps you have experienced this as an artist, is that I used to have dreams of dances, I used to feel the dances pouring out of me. A backlog of movement rushing forth like a river in me that certainly felt as if it could propel me into a fantastically challenging future, if I let it.
I don't have that feeling anymore. It feels silenced.
I am a choreographer. You already know this. And so do I. Intellectually. Yet I do think that in the space of this blog I have been experimenting with a broader stroke as a blogger, presenting myself as the creative artist thing over the year. And it's not that my work isn't that broader stroke. I am that creative artist thing here on the Internet, and I love being that. (If you've been reading me, you'll noticed I've changed that darn header up above several times!)
But these other creative objects that emerge for me, photography, knitting, even writing, all come from that bred-in-the-bone choreographic way for me. Those creative objects are choreographic objects for me - offshoots of the need to make relationships between things in time and space using movement and the human body!
I talked to a friend recently who is also a choreographer. She has been working in other modalities professionally to try something else she loves and make a living doing it, and she is good at these other things. She confessed to me that she feels she has lost her choreographic way as well. It's our home form, she said. It's how we have grown up and lived in the world.
So I ask you: Have you ever lost your creative way only to find yourself making in other forms and traditions not your own? What brought you back to your way? What is your way?
"Yet knowing way leads onto way,/ I doubted if I should ever come back."
Robert Frost from "The Road Not Taken"