Aaah, summertime — it makes us think of the beach, barbeques, sunscreen and watermelon. For dancers, it’s often a slower time with fewer classes, rehearsals and performances. You may be eager for the break. You may instead wish you could keep the high-speed train going, continuing to refine your technique and artistry day-in and day-out. Yet there can be a way to grow as an artist as well as take a bit of a break — making your creativity flourish! Let’s look at some ways to boost creativity over the summer!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Traditionally, resources focus on hotlines and 800 numbers that people can call if/when they feel like they have nowhere to turn for support. What about support for people who cannot speak? Do their mental health needs not matter? While not everyone can speak, everyone can move in some way, shape or form.
Whether it is through eye movements, breathing or our heartbeat, the potential for movement as a form of expression is possible for everyone. Dance and movement is a form of communication, and for those whose language skills are compromised, not yet developed or inaccessible, that form of communication can make all the difference between having hope and feeling hopeless.
As dancers, we have acquired a certain skill set that is often overlooked outside of the dance studio. Principles like balance, coordination and flexibility seem to come with the territory, but just like everything else, they take practice.
While not everyone identifies as a dancer, these elements of dance can apply to everyone. No matter how much or how little dance experience one may have, these principles are universal and may help you the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, in a rut or needing to make a major life decision.
You may have heard that dancing is good for your brain, and we know that it is good for your body, but did you know that engaging in dance can actually make you a better person? How is that possible? You might be asking, “What if I cannot dance?” I’m here to tell you that it is possible for everyone, even if you have two left feet.
First, it is important to define or re-define dance. According to Wikipedia, “Dance is a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected sequences of human movement. This movement has aesthetic and symbolic value, and is acknowledged as dance by performers and observers within a particular culture.” I encourage you to put that definition aside and focus on dance as an “inherent form of expression.” Put on some music, and you will quickly see that you have a natural tendency to move to it. Dance, since the beginning of time, has been a physical outlet for celebration, grief, prayer and so much more.
Winter is a time when nature becomes dormant. Although the human world buzzes on, in alignment with the nature all around us, we are drawn to rest and reflect. How might this apply to artists, with reflection (on both inner and outer) fruitful for creative output and personal growth?
Might winter be a good time to begin journaling as a dancer? How, practically, are some ways to start doing that? Here, we speak with Betsy Miller, Assistant Professor of Dance at Salem State University, and Boston-based dance artist; and Karen Klein, founder and artistic director of teXtmoVes, to learn more about beginning to journal for creative processes in winter.