Experimentation Can Free You Up
And it won’t be as hard as this…I promise!
Creatures of Habit
Dancers tend to be fearful of experimentation and strong creatures of habit: we eat the same foods, go through the same warm-up rituals every day, and gravitate towards the same routines. In some ways, these habits help us stay grounded and keep our bodies happy and our minds calm.
In other ways, the habits we adopt can limit our ability to move forward to discover better routines and solutions. I know that when I was dancing my routines came both from a sense of ritual that kept me focused and calm. They also came from a sense of fear: if I changed my routine, would I be able to perform to the same high level?
Often, I was not courageous enough to experiment because of that fear. And yet, experimentation is so valuable, and such an important part of the artistic process.
Routine: Mix It Up
As we start up another school year, I encourage you to take a look at your routines and habits. Ask yourself what is really working and what might benefit from some new input. Be honest with yourself. Then, try something new- experiment.
Tired of your diet?
Maybe you’ll undertake a physical experiment by changing up your diet.
- Try adding vegetables you don’t usually eat
- Add a whole grain breakfast to your routine
- Try a new snack and see if it helps with your energy and focus.
Tired of mind games?
Maybe you’ll undertake an intellectual experiment. Think about something in a new way.
- How do you handle corrections? If you usually get upset or frustrated, try forcing yourself to remain calm and even smile.
- How do you work with your image in the mirror? Try not looking at all, or looking only at port de bras, if you’re a feet and legs person.
- How do you react to the energy around you? If you are usually pulled into the gossip or drama of the moment, try experimenting with the opposite. Have a plan for responding to situations that bring you down. On the other hand, if you rely on other people’s energy or teacher input in order to dance well, try looking inside yourself instead for motivation.
Nothing is Permanent
The good news is that nothing is permanent! Your experiment will open you up to something new: if you like it, great. If not, you can try something else until you find the result you are looking for.
And remember that in order to grow creatively and artistically, we can’t be afraid to be wrong. Instead we must embrace experimentation with a courageous spirit and see where it takes us.