Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Become a More Creative Dancer
There was a time when I believed that creative work was a gift from above and that only certain people possessed creative abilities. In truth, we can all enjoy and reap the fruits of creativity. Creativity is at the heart of human endeavor. It is a resource that we all possess, whatever our skills, our educational backgrounds, our environment may be.
What is creativity in dance? Dance allows the development of expressive, physical, cognitive and motor skills. There is no creativity without movement, but we have forgotten how to move freely.
We learn throughout our childhood to suppress our need for movement. We learn to sit stiffly in our classroom chairs, we move only according to the rigid codes of the activities that we practice, and we sit on the right side of escalators. But to be creative is to do otherwise, it is to propose an alternative to what we already know.
Spice up your training with the Feldenkrais method
Search for minimal effort and maximum efficacy, for freedom from muscular tension. Rediscover your body and movements and sensations that are natural and exist within you. Take 10 minutes before your practice to do the Feldenkrais method.
The Feldenkrais Method is an original method of self-awareness through body movement. It’s based on simple movements which should follow our own rhythm. It is a great tool to reduce chronic pain, physical and mental tension and stimulate intellectual and creative faculties. Be attentive to your body consciousness and develop your vocabulary of sensations and discover creativity through knowing your own body.
Moshe Feldenkrais wrote in his book “Body and Mind”, 1980:
“I begin with the person lying on his or her back. This position is meant to reduce most of the influence of gravity on the body, freeing the nervous system. The reaction of the nervous system to the pull of gravity is a habit, and under these circumstances, there is no way to bring the muscles to respond differently to the same stimulus, which is the major means of reeducating the body.”
Think of different strategies
Dancing is a creative process that requires practice as well as knowledge about the process. The task is not easy, but having strategies to solve problems will allow you to overcome the difficulties that arise during your dance efforts.
You have to welcome dance as a way that arouses interest or curiosity. Immersion in a dance can be a conscious or unconscious process. In the end, the creative person must decide if the intuitions are valuable and must develop them. The important thing about dance is that the creative process is fluid and can and should be revisited frequently so that the dance becomes an effort in continuous evolution.
Try social dancing and improvise
Traditionally, creativity has been defined as an aptitude for divergent thinking, or as the ability to perceive a problem, to find solutions, to draw hypotheses, to evaluate them, and to communicate the results. Most of these definitions focus on cognitive and linear processes related to the possibility of thinking, imagining “what if”, and then promoting the initiation of action.
This way of understanding the creative process can perhaps explain the creation of a concrete product, that is, the creativity that occurs in situations in which time is not decisive. However, it is clearly insufficient to explain how the creative act occurs in situations of improvisation.
Dance is essentially a vehicle for expressing emotions through one’s own body. However, the memorization of choreographies and the repetition of technical gestures makes it harder to transmit with sensitivity the message.
In contrast to many dance forms, dancesport is highly stylized, and the routines are choreographed to display skill and have an effect on the audience. Therefore, improvisation has a low priority in dancesport.
Of course, in order to call yourself a professional, you are able to change the routines. If something occurs in a competition that is unexpected, you have to be spontaneous and come up with on-spot solutions. But you can also find ways to improvise outside the competition floor, and that those ways will help you free yourself more and be a better dancer altogether. Therefore, to get more creative in your dancing try to go social dancing as it allows for more playfulness and improvisation.
Daydreaming is not a different form of procrastination, so don’t mistake it for it. When you’re on the bus, when you’re eating or when you’re just looking through the window, let your mind wander to all the right places. Dream big, imagine choreographies, dance steps, new situations.
All this daydreaming can lead to finding new patterns you never thought of, or analogies you wouldn’t think of otherwise. These new perceptions suggest new directions for your work, which makes the dance take a different form or direction.
Find a source of inspiration
The dancer notices something, be it an object, an idea or an event, which inspires him with an idea for a dance. That’s the art of observation. Anything can be the spark of inspiration: a flower, a work of art, poetry or music. You can also resort to memories you would like to express in the form of dance.
First, you must carefully observe your source of dance inspiration. Active observation, or taking time to look over and over, is a common trait to great artists. After observing, you get inspiration which later turns into movement. Later, these movements are modified and shaped by creating a dance that can be understood and appreciated.
To get inspiration you can also appeal to other instruments that can power your creativity. For inspiration check Equipped with New Instruments: How Can You Improve Your Dancing Skills with Acting Classes, Ballet, Fitness and Nutrition.
Great dancers give free rein to their creativity and innovation by playing with sounds and movements. Find activities outside of dancesport that enrich you and you will see a positive change in your dancing as well.
How do you find your creativity? What relaxes your mind and unleashes your creative spirit? Let us know in the comments.
Photography: Elena Anashina
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!