choreo journal #10: a personal challenge

me (far left) in Lorelei Chang's "Colors"

So….I’ve been finding myself in a bit of a transition lately. That’s a lie – it hasn’t been lately, it’s been for a while now. I absolutely love what I’m doing, but I’m wanting more. More opportunities to learn and develop professional skills with companies and dancers, more desire to create and present larger projects, more chances to work with others to share ideas, movement, inspiration. Though I feel like I already do a lot of this daily, it’s never to the extent that work is created or something tangible is left as a result. It’s always been my goal to have success in the two most well-known realms of the dance industry – concert dance and commercial dance. They often juxtapose one another, but at the same time hold a lot of similar features.

Bryan photo shoot 244 alt - square aviThe commercial dancer in me comes from my love of music and production and contemporary movement. Let’s not confuse it with contemporary style – I’m meaning movement influenced and inspired by contemporary culture, not a fusion of styles. Combine that with my dance/drill team, jazz based history and one would think I’d be in Los Angeles now living that gig-to-gig life.  My exposure to concert life was birthed from my college years poring over notes from composition class, learning to move improvisationally, and being thrown into my first instances with ballet and modern partnering. Those years did wonders for my technique, but also for my growth choreographically as I presented many pieces in informal school showcases and in formal year-end shows. I could never diminish my love for both, and they’ve definitely influenced one another in works that I’ve done, but it’s been difficult trying to find and balance projects that satisfy both of those loves. Too much work in one, I run stagnant in the other, So much so that I’m starting to find myself doing more commercial and instructional (creating movement and choreo for class) work than concert work because I’m so busy teaching and doing other people’s concert work.

Feeling this stagnation, this gap, I found myself returning to the awesome Ira Glass post I wrote last year about his thoughts on creativity. Check it out here. If you’re in the TLDR mood (too long didn’t read), he’s says that the reason people get into the creative industry is because they have killer taste. But sometimes the things they create at the beginning of their career disappoints them. That killer taste is still there, but there’s a gap that keep their work from being as good as their ambitions. To close that gap, one must just simply create as much as possible. Only then will that gap close and their work will be as good as their ambitions. I agree as much now as I did when I first wrote the post. Trial, error, and self-discovery all help us develop our own style and aesthetic, but also what makes up a “good” piece of one’s own creation.inst meg & me

So in that same vein, I’m taking Mr. Glass’ advice and just simply creating. I’ve missed choreographing concert pieces, so I’m challenging myself to choreograph a solo for myself to present professionally. There’s a local dance festival here in early spring for artists to present their work and it’s my goal to present this solo work. I do this in hope that not only will it help “the gap” come a little closer to closing, but that it will also help cultivate the ability to move between the concert and commercial realms with ease and in time, learn to combine them so that they no longer fight for my attention nor my creative creation.

Look forward to seeing that blossom here….

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