Creating in Isolation

Image Source:
Image Source:

Yummy had a great blog post yesterday (you can read it here if you missed it) with some of her thoughts about spending more time on ‘creative thinking’ when creating shows and routines.

The article made me stop and think about how I create routines.  For the most part, I do create in isolation.  I spend time listening to music, shopping for costumes, and trying out new dances – sometimes because I need something in particular, many times because I am looking for inspiration.  But it is generally a solitary pursuit.  It’s just not that entertaining to spend time with someone who is working on choreography, or designing movers, or trying to find ‘the’ costume for a number.

I was also struck by the notion that creation is, in essence, embarrassing. Why?  Because you fail many times before you succeed.  For example, I don’t know anyone who is happy with their choreography the very first time.  It requires a lot of ‘tweaking,’ and sometimes, a complete re-do.  And nobody likes to show off their failures.

After seeing The Night Theater’s Halloween show, I too, was thinking, “What can I do to be more creative?”  I’m going to try some of the ideas Yummy mentioned in her article.  The first one is to ‘increase your knowledge in the subject area.’  I’ve learned a lot in my time in SL, but I certainly can always learn more.  I take classes at Builder’s Brewery when my time permits (or when my overloaded brain actually remembers there’s a class I should go to!).  I’m reading/following lots of other bloggers who blog about various topics in SL, even those super-technical ones that I don’t understand completely. 😛  And I try to learn whatever I can from others in the dance community.  Sometimes a simple question can lead me in an entirely new direction.

I love the idea of a ‘brainstorming’ session – but one that is held somewhere other than a venue or rehearsal space.  Wouldn’t it be fun to gather together and meet someplace new/different and bounce ideas off of each other?  Who knows what might happen?  I am going to try this idea out, as well.  An important piece of this is that the session needs to be as ‘judgement free’ as possible.  Maybe someone will propose an idea that you think will never work.  Instead of shooting it down, go with it.  Again, who knows where you’ll end up?

The last idea was one that I have pondered before.  Sometimes it happens that one person in a group ends up the ‘leader’ of the group – leading the discussion, organizing/coordinating, etc.  While often that is necessary, sometimes it really stifles creativity.  And if you have a ‘leader’ like that, sometimes the quieter people have a difficult time speaking up or making their voices heard.  If you have some people like that in your own circle, try to draw them out.  Who knows what sleeping creativity lies beneath the quiet?

What about you?  Do you create in isolation?  Do you have someone (or several someones) who are ‘sounding boards’ for your ideas?  How do you know when an idea is a good one?


4 thoughts on “Creating in Isolation

  1. I sometimes create in isolation, but I have tried to mantain the open door mentality of Moons where stuffs created with audiences.

    I tended to write and think of what I was going to say and do during shows in the 20 minute lead up to the show when people where coming in the door.

    I have never thrown public out of staff meetings and I send out notices when I am doing set building sessions or rebuild the theatre.

    Creating solo is dull. Invite people over and talk crap when creating and see how things looks with people standing about. Even if your the sole creator its still a more enjoyable experience and if people ask you things while you answer them it helps you visualize what you are trying to achieve (and sometimes shows you what a dumb as feck idea your following before you put it on stage. >.> ).

    1. I find it hard to concentrate if there are too many people around. Tweaking a dance to get that .10 of sec to look just right (which requires redoing the dance and listening to the song 10,000 times) isn’t for the faint of heart. 😛

  2. I can’t work if others are around. I can’t concentrate… I lose my focus and everything takes three times as long, plus I don’t enjoy the creation process because it feels disconnected due to all the distraction of talking/reading/typing. I can talk to people about a dance or work on a dance, but I can’t do both at the same time. My sounding board is my partner. If I am struggling with an aspect of a dance, talking to him about it really helps. And I never know when an idea is a good one. Usually I am more like an artist pushing the paint around and simply enjoying the shapes I am creating. I do get exhausted feeling every dance has to have a gimmick or something that makes it stand out as technically amazing.

    1. Is it exhausting because you’re pushing yourself to create something better? Or because you’re pushing yourself to add things you’d rather not/feel you don’t need? It’s hard sometimes to know where that boundary is. Maybe that’s why creating is easier solo – you can stop when YOU feel done (or exhausted, whichever comes first!) 🙂

Comments are closed.