This weekend my husband and I locked ourselves in our respective work spaces (mine a small bedroom turned dance studio, his a smaller bedroom turned recording studio) and we set ourselves to the task of producing our respective art (his music, mine dance). We caught each other during frenzied coffee breaks and lunchtime and then went back to our own noisy worlds behind closed doors. Our cats were alternately confused, pleased, and tired as always and at the end of the day the family came back together again.
Reed produced 9 songs, quite a few of which sound very inspired and are a joy to listen to. I laid out a detailed vision and some steps for a new group choreography from beginning to end. At the end of the day Reed was upbeat and excited, sharing his songs with me, making jokes and bobbing his head along to the tunes he had banged out on several different instruments. I didn’t have anything solid I could share with him and I started to feel kind of bummed.
I wondered to myself, was today just not a good day for me to make an arsenal of dances? Reed was able to record quite a few new songs. But to be honest, I can’t imagine ANY day being a good day to make more than one dance, let alone one complete dance. I wonder if I am going at this immersion thing wrong? Or does dance just require a different process than recording songs? My process includes short bursts of inspiration in which I get a lot of concrete work done: actual steps set onto paper and on video, but more often than not it takes me one to three months to make a complete dance….one dance. Is that crazy? No, of course it’s not crazy. It’s just my process right now. But really, I wonder what can be gained from comparing the process of solo choreographing-making to solo song-recording.
In the instance of dance-making, memory is a huge factor. I can make a dance but then I have to teach myself to remember it’s nuances and to execute it properly -which takes much longer than a day. I guess I could improvise for a camera, record my improvisation, and say “there! a dance hath been choreographed.” But to be honest I am not very good at that either. I like to take my time. First an intention, then a song, then a map of it’s energetic arc and various sections. Then over time I choreograph each of the sections (usually in preparation for an evening class or rehearsal). But I wonder, is it that I can’t work in the immersion single-day-make-a-ton-of-work method or just that I find it very uncomfortable? I hate the pressure of time. It makes my brain and body go into panic mode, i.e. the opposite of creative muse-play. I like to feel I have all the time in the world to make sure that everything is right. But without the pressure of deadlines I doubt I would ever make any concrete decisions.
So this week I am trying the immersion method again in baby steps. I have my danced mapped out with it’s various bodies and sections. And I will choreograph once section a day until the end of the week. Maybe next Sunday night I’ll look back and discover, “yeah I could do that in a day next time.”