Revisiting and Redefining
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
As artists, choreographers, and creative individuals, we are often on the search for something new and exciting. It can be easy to forget about the work that got us where we are, especially during transitions in our lives. Having recently graduated, I am experiencing this transition with new (and exciting) changes. A few weeks ago, I revisited a solo I choreographed during my sophomore year of college to recharge my creative flow and get myself moving in a familiar way.
This solo, Reputable Sources, was one of the first pieces I choreographed in college. It was to be adjudicated for a student-sponsored benefit dance concert that our dance department hosted. I had not taken any composition or choreographic studies courses yet. This solo was an experimentation and a chance for me to just see what happened. Fortunately, Reputable Sources was selected by the adjudicators and I had the opportunity to perform it.
I chose to revisit this solo since I had not rehearsed it in over three years, yet the meaning of the solo is still quite relevant: seeking truth from reputable sources to ensure you are an informed individual. It seemed quite fitting to return to this solo for its own meaning in relation to society, as well as for its more personal meaning in my own life. We receive so much information through numerous channels that sometimes the water gets a little muddy. Filtering out the truth is not always the easiest.
While I was recalling the movements and sequences, I reminded myself that it would not feel or be the same as it was three years ago and that’s okay. In fact, it should not feel the same because that would mean I hadn’t grown as a person or an artist. I now have an additional three years of knowledge and experiences that were bringing fresh nuances to the solo. My perspectives, dance technique, ideas, and the society in which I live are all different. All this to say that I needed to reevaluate my relationship with Reputable Sources.
What was different? What was the same? Did I need to change movements or motifs to better suit my abilities? Remembering the physical choreography was simple. The internal work of redefining what each motif or phrase means to me and potential audiences was a bit more challenging. It was refreshing to examine my own choreography from a different lens. Hindsight is 20/20. I could see where I had grown as a choreographer and performer, as well as where I have plenty of room to improve.
Every once in a while, it’s alright to step back into your comfort zone so that when you do step out to create something new, you are more equipped and better able to face the challenges presented. Maybe the piece needs to change to fit the new you. Maybe you have to create a new, imaginary situation for yourself to have while dancing. The physicality and order of steps may be the same, but your artistic approach will almost always be different. Remember not to stay in that comfort zone too long, though. You have new (and exciting) changes ahead.
Reputable Sources (2017) Choreography by Fiona Scruggs