Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you have long to-do lists that loom large as something you want to accomplish and yet don’t get done? Does the constant information streaming—on your phone, computer, and other visual delivery devices—make it hard to focus and stay on task? By posing these questions, I am, of course, referring to my own sense of feeling inundated—maybe even perniciously pressured— to consume more and more data/imagery/random facts. I’m eager to find ways to winnow down some of my constant consumption of such sourced information: I imagine then that I can restore, recuperate, and revitalize my self to then feel refreshed and get back in the game of overloading with visual goodies.
I had a nagging recollection that there was a term for when a person poses a problem that they then answer right after asking the question. So my monkey mind searched and searched and when no concrete answer formed, I entered a query into the ultimate authority on information gluttony these days, the Google search bar, and re-learned that the term is called Hypophora: when a speaker poses a question and then answers the question.
Is this one of those human-nature things, that we really know the answer but by asking a question we are somehow reinforcing for ourselves how astute we are? Maybe, maybe not. I need to Google some more.
This time last year, in a quest for more moments for restoration and reflection, I imagined what it would be like to take a three-month vacation. This was prompted by the opportunity to submit a grant application to a local funder that provides sabbaticals for nonprofit executives, supporting them with the funds needed to take time off from work—and not work.
As applications go, this one encouraged me to respond to questions that inquired why I do the work I do, what motivates me, what lessons have I learned on the way, and where I saw myself in five years. A few simple questions—not. Each challenged me to reflect deeply about my experiences in the dance field. The effort it took to describe past and future journeys proved useful as it allowed me to articulate the myriad ways that dance has provided a fantastic haven—reinforcing my understanding of why I do what I do.
Is reflection the ultimate tool for learning how to move forward?
This month, the editors of In Dance, which is everyone that works here, provide entry points on a variety of expressions reflecting on how dance artists navigate building platforms for their inspired and inspiring work.
Frequent contributor Heather Desaulniers is astute to draw attention to the fact that in the dance world there are phrases being batted around to describe works that are “‘questioning assumptions’ or ‘challenging expectations’. Sometimes these words are a response to innovative physical vocabulary; sometimes to a structural departure.” This prompted additional questions like, “So how does this outside the box thinking apply to age and body type in dance performance? Are these barriers slower to be broken down?” Desaulniers speaks with Lucia August about ways she has navigated the contested ideas of a perfect dancer’s body, and the aging in, or out, of a dancer’s career.
My hope is that as you move through this issue you will be lovingly overwhelmed by the many questions poised about how, why and where work is made. Let the words refresh you and provide moments to reflect on your own interests and journey.
Did I get the sabbatical? No. But I am planning on taking a very long vacation. Next year.