Overcoming the Blocks in Your Creativity

December 10, 2015

Creative dancers choreograph intricate dance combinations that seem to magically match the music. By comparison, you may find yourself stuck dancing the basic patterns you learned in class. It may be tempting to dismiss creativity as just another thing you were born with, or not.

But what if creativity is a skill like any other, albeit one not typically taught in your average college? What if we all possess creativity, but some are more familiar with how to activate it? To prove your own creativity, answer the following question with the first answer that comes into your head:

What am I pointing at?

No matter what your answer is, you are a creative person - you literally created a particular answer from your subconscious, much like an ink blot at the psychologist’s office. Furthermore, our ability to access creativity depends on training, not talent.

The reason why most of us stifle our creativity is we have been trained since childhood to follow the rules, to conform with existing social norms. Creativity means creating something new, and therefore carries a certain risk of criticism. Fortunately, there are a few basic tricks that can make the exploration of creative dancing easier.

1. Remove self-judgement

Become aware of and shelve your need to self-edit. Take on the mindset that everything is allowed, at least at first. Cast as wide a net as possible. You can modify the parts that don’t fit later.

2. Start With a Frame

I’m not talking about the partner frame we use in ballroom dancing, but the basic idea, the story or emotion you want to convey. Keep it simple: you want to provide a channel for your creativity to flow through, without painting yourself into a corner. If you are really stuck, take ideas from classic stories, like Romeo and Juliet, or A Streetcar Called Desire.

3. How We Move

I’ve talked about this previously, but here’s a bare-bones approach: The story lies not in our choice of movements, but in how we move. You can dance a pattern aggressively, passionately, lazily, and each movement conveys a different feeling. Imagine a situation that creates the emotion you want: post-breakup perhaps, or on your wedding day. Then, try conveying the emotion in your dance. How does it affect your legs, your arms, your face? Watching movies and imitating actors conveying the same emotions can also help.

4. Watch the Pros

Another good approach is by simply watching professional dancers in person or online and noting the movements that match what you are looking for. This is more of a brute force method, and it might take some time, but eventually you be able to spot the kinds of movements that define an emotion or story - and after even more time, why that movement is appropriate to each.

The bottom line is, don’t fret if creativity on the dance floor doesn’t come easily to you - it didn’t for me either, until I learned and practiced and gradually built up trust in myself. The creativity is within you - all you have to do is awaken it.

Sources

Creative Dance: A Collage of Learning http://www.dancecreative.org/articles/67-creative-dance-a-collage-of-learning-

We All Have Creativity: Finding and Nourishing Yours https://reflectionsinsequinsandsatin.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/we-all-have-creativity-finding-and-nourishingyours/

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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