We see beautiful performances, seemingly floating together effortlessly. It’s true that a lot of work goes into them: the costumes, the stage, the choreography itself. But what happens when the the stream dries up that supplies fresh ideas for new pieces? Much like any kind of creative block, there is a stop up to the the creative energy that pours into moving art. Several choreographers share their strategies to get the juices flowing again.
One choreographer, Troy Schumacher of Colorado’s BalletCollective, believes that the source of future inspiration lies in past work: “Choreographer’s block is like a wet patch in your ceiling. You can’t just fix the patch, you have to fix the problem. You usually think about what comes right before, but often you have to go back much further to move on.”
Writers and other artists often feel this pain when attempting to create new work. By revisiting old pieces, the uninspired can glean ideas and make revisions to something that once struck them as inspirational.
Another choreographer, Chloé Arnold of the tap group Syncopated Ladies, looks to other artists for inspiration when it doesn’t come forth on its own: “When I’m feeling choreographer’s block I’ll go take class… Something where I can see someone else being truly creative. Or I’ll find someone else who inspires me.” Creating a piece of art is not an instant product. It is an amalgamation of embracing the blocks, letting one’s mind wander in a completely different direction from where an idea started, or filling in bits and pieces at a time.
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