Entries in blogs (31)
Continuing from Isaac Butler's post at Parabasis, and my post last week- What are some dangerous myths about art-making for you? What are the myths you confront that get in the way of our own ability to get work done?
1. You have nothing new (or relevant) to say.
I think the most dangerous myth for me, and the one that gets in my way most often. In Ecclesiastes, it says there is nothing new under the sun, and I live in fear of that statement. With the sheer volume of dances that I create for shows (currently I have 4 shows I'm choreographing and another that I am both directing and choreographing), I am always worried that they will look the same, be the same, become boring.
The way to alleviate this danger is to constantly serve the story. As long as the movement supports the story being told, it will remain relevant. Even if I used pique turns in the last 4 shows, or if this entire number is all about hip-shaking. As long as that is what the story needs, it works.
2. You are not qualified for this.
This may be a corollary of #1. I remember saying to a friend, shortly before I moved to Miami, that I had this fear that one day, someone would turn to me and say "How did you get here?! What makes you think you can do this?!"
My friend (being a friend), thought I was crazy. But I think this is something a lot of artists have nagging in the back of their minds. In some ways, it's good. We become motivated to NEVER hear that, and work our butts off. But negative motivation is not healthy. We need to realize our work is appreciated by someone, or we wouldn't be where we are, making a life by making art. Not everyone will get it, or us. Let it go. Take the work as your validation.
3. Only those who suffer make good art.
I've been accused, by people I love very much, of always needed a fight, a struggle. And that can be true. I like to be the underdog, the unexpected. To be able to turn the bad into good. But it is also exhausting.
Creating art is not the act of turning bad into good. It is the act of turning nothing into something. A blank page, empty stage, unplayed instrument, lump of clay, molded by our hands and ideas into art. You don't have to be poor, do drugs, have a broken heart, or be certain that everyone hates you in order to make good art. You must simply not fear nothingness. Be fearless. Create art.
(image from www.youngmanandoldsoul.tumblr.com)
No. Not like that. Passion about what you do.
Apparently, last week was “Let’s talk about passion week!”, and I missed it. But here’s a summary of everyone who wrote about it.
“Cynicism kills passion”- Adam Thurman at Mission Paradox.
“Follow your passion” doesn’t mean you don’t still have to go through a period of “paying your dues”. - Joe Patti at Butts in the Seats.
And Allison J gives a few more links to posts on passion.
Additionally, David Dower has a great post about the differences in art and entertainment.
Adam Thurman reminds us that people get involved and excited about passion, not cynicism.
The Americans for the Arts ArtsBlog had a salon this week on the Common Core standards and integrating arts into the curriculum. Many interesting posts for those doing arts education.
Over at Parabasis, the Dangerous Myth of the Individual Artist. I think I’m going to use his post as a jumping off point for one of my own. Money quote:
I really do feel that the myth of the individual artist is seriously damaging to our creative capacity and our humanity. People deny the influences that helped birth them, screw over their collaborators, and tell obviously BS stories to create a myth about themselves. And one of the reasons why people do this is that we want to believe that the individual is the core unit of creating art. But even in art with only one person's name on it, that's simply untrue.
A frickin’ fantastic post by Polly Carl called “Truthiness in the Politics of Theatre”. Incredibly thought provoking and well-worth the read. Just a taste:
Our problem with straightforward communication has everything to do with how good we are at producing stories, at weaving those tiny multiple threads on our stages. We understand in the very fabric of our DNA as theater practitioners what Foucault is saying—that the more successful the production can persuade and convince, the more power we have to not only get our audiences to return for the next production and maybe even donate to our theater, but the more power we have to shape the country we want to live in. My concern is that our producing acumen is causing us to believe our own spin and to lose sight of what values must lie beneath our productions.
A great article in The Nation about one of my favorite choreographers, Paul Taylor.
A Huffington Post column on how dance fits into the arts and senses.
Isherwood takes on movie musicals, finding, of course, the stage versions to have more tension and texture, as well as intimacy.
The Theatre League of South Florida ran a great 3 part series on the state of theatre here. However, many of the problems and thankfully, solutions, are universal.
...theater must emphasize its millennia-old strengths that no other medium can duplicate –experiential, immersive theatricality in tandem with the immediate connection of being in the same room with a live storyteller with a congregation of other people.
Adam Thurman focuses on a glass half-full.
And Katya has a good reminder for anyone writing fundraising or marketing materials- Take Yourself Out of Your Messaging.