STARTING A CREATIVE ENDEAVOR takes courage. Then it takes work. Then it takes finding funding for the project. Then, of course, it takes more work. Then the really fun part happens—an audience gets to watch. Courage, work, money, more work, most likely more money spent and then the performances. All this depending on the courage to start.
Like any journey, a creative one has instances of joy, tedium, inspiration and frustration, informing the whole. The how, what and why of this artistic expedition is determined by the consistent refinement of ideas, as well as finding clever and unique ways around obstacles—real or imagined. All guiding and influencing the direction of the final product, the piece, the performance.
Millions of artists function in scenarios such as these; they provide the foundation for our creations, for our dances. The impetus for a work—the work—can come from a lengthily researched master-vision, a piece of music, a book, a dream, a conversation, a feeling, a pastiche of ideas and of course, all, or none. There is no correct, no direct, path guiding an artistic ride.
The myth about creating—on any scale and within any medium—is that it is easy, the proverbial walk in the park. And yet for anyone that has made dance or is attempting to take on the moniker of an artist, understands, or quickly comes to realize, that work as an artist is work, like and unlike any other work.
The work theme, prevalent in this month’s issue, nestles nicely with the notion of stepping forward boldly, with courage; exemplified best by our three interviews. Two take notice of visiting companies; the third highlights the work of local choreographer and beloved teacher Dana Lawton, interviewed by Janice Garrett. Creating works that address iconic people and complex social issues is nothing new to Bill T. Jones and in the interview by Marc Bamuthi Joseph we are treated to a variety 30pm of insights into Mr. Jones’ process. Niloufar Talebi takes the interview format with Rosanna Gamson, and adds a twist to their conversation that allows them both to discuss the entry point to the collaboration on Layla Means Night, a re-telling and re-framing of the story of One Thousand and One Nights.
These interviews lead to part one of a two-part series on the evolution of KUNST-STOFF Arts that describes the next steps that Yannis Adoniou and Tomi Paasonen will take in what Adoniou describes as “a natural evolution” of his work and “unchartered territory.” Company member Katie Gaydos reveals aspects of what these two men are reaching.
Rounding out this issue, is an article by Farah Yasmeen Shaikh addressing the questions of how a dancer might work in, and even carry on, a traditional dance form when that tradition/form/culture lies outside of her own. Shaikh speaks with three artists who share their challenges, and ultimate commitment to study, teach and preserve the dances of Bharatnatyam, Hula and Kathak.
These articles and more are updated monthly on our new website. If you discover a favorite writer, search for them on dancersgroup.org, and share their words with your friends.
Let’s get to work and have some fun—courage!
This article appeared in the October 2013 issue of In Dance.