If you’ve recently stumbled upon this blog, welcome! It serves so many purposes. A place for me to share, to communicate, to sort my thoughts and ideas, and to put in words the mishmash that swirls about in my head. It isn’t easy being passionate, creative, and an introvert, as I’m sure many of you know. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and frustrating, sometimes its the most wonderful experience in the world. The thoughts and fears, ideas and solutions, emotions and feelings just swirl about in my head – sometimes to an overwhelming degree. This blog, meditation, special people, the unconditional love of my pets, are just a few of the ways I find balance and peace.
This past week has been one of learning, realizing, and a continued path of growth. I’m always challenged with balancing my creativity with the time I have to do it well. My passion drives me to commit to more while reality requires I keep it in check so that what I do, I do the best that I can. If I can do this without losing sleep and still keep up with the laundry would be most preferable! There is some truth in “if I don’t do laundry I’ll be naked”! I’m so glad y’all can’t see me in some of the odd clothing combinations I wear while creating here in SL…
Approximately two months ago, I committed to a Halloween dance show at Moonstone Theatre. I was asked if I’d do the finale, and chose this song:
I love this song, I love the beat, the music transitions, the story, and what I could do with it, how to me it fit as a finale song, the dramatic feel of it. Immediately I began thinking about the dance – costume ideas, the story, the flow. What I wanted to express. This was a long sloooow process. I had visions of a band, and skeletons, and more. Being the finale dance, I needed to include all 21 show staff. I generally visualize well and I could see it! The choreographers as the band members, the two children avi choreographers spooky dolls to drive the hearse of the skeleton dancers. I began researching costumes, putting ideas together, finding out what mesh bodies and heads the male choreographers used. (Ugh…costuming is one of my biggest challenges and outfitting male dancers in mesh bodies takes that to a new level. One of these days I’m going to buy my male dance alt a signature mesh body just for testing costumes!)
Now, as this is me and I think the word “simple” is missing from my vocabulary, I wanted the skeleton dancers to fade, and to change color, and their eyeballs to fade, and change color, then I wanted them to have hats with worms and spiders and gross stuff…do you know how hard it is to fasten wiggly worms to a hat??? I did this, but it took nearly a week (among my other commitments – RL and SL) until I was happy.
The director and owner of Moonstone was incredible. I finished designing my costumes, sent out all the costumes and the notecards to the dancers, chose the animations that I wanted to use in the choreography, and started building out my set….
Then all my creativity dried up.
I felt like I was slogging through mud, focusing on creating the sets first and bringing in the “wow” stuff, like the hearse driving in, and the skeleton surfing on top of it who I wanted to lose his head, and the idea that I was going to shove my 11 skeleton dancers into the back of the hearse and have them move across the stage with all those waypoints making an abstract painting of the stage. I purchased and ditched so many stage props I can’t even count. Nothing felt right. For days I built and unbuilt. Editing images to use on my set and trashed them. One practice then the next and the next I wasn’t ready for.
I’d lost my way.
I’d lost my focus on the dance. Didn’t follow my own pattern of creating – my flow that keeps me moving. It came down to the week before, the days before, and I began doubting that I could pull it out. That I’d have a dance I loved, that even if it wasn’t 100% of what I’d hoped, that it was close. I focused on the effects when I began before anything else, the wow factors. I compared myself to others within my head and let this drive me. It is no wonder that I felt like I was slogging through mud and nothing felt right.
The director of this show knew my vision, my passion for the dance, and was invaluable. She believed in me when I doubted myself. She wasn’t afraid to be tough on me with constructive criticism, while knowing I was already internally beating myself up about the dance.
Two days before the show. I had a dance, or a semblance of the dance. It had the pieces, technically speaking, but there was no energy to it, no energy in it. People noticed.
I knew what I wanted for it. What I wanted for it before I lost my way. I could scrap it and throw something easier together, or I could push through. I chose to push through. I had to suck it up, I had to focus on the moment before I became overwhelmed. I had to push away thoughts of “why am I doing this? why does this matter?” and the self doubts.
I completely re-did my choreography. I added just a few formation changes to change the focus on the dancers and make the dance visually interesting. I added the mirror animations I wanted and changed out one costume that wasn’t working. I scrapped my fancy idea of the skeletons riding in the hearse to the crypt and running out of the crypt to the new orleans style balcony for this show. I tested and fixed, tested and fixed, tested and fixed.
Never had I realized that with the hours and hours and hours I’d already spent on the dance, how easy it had been to lose my way and how hard it was to pull it back. I didn’t give up. I did push through, and I performed with all 21 dancers through the hell that was SL that day. (Mass crash anyone?) The audience loved it, most importantly I loved it and felt chills seeing it come to life. Those extra fancy pieces I left out? it didn’t need them. Other than animating the spinner spokes on my hearse, I was happy and loved what I’d done. Most of all? I still love that song after hearing it, 7,877,329 times. Was it perfect? no. Do I ever expect my dances to be? no. Do I strive to make them the best I can? yes. I own what I do, what I perform. Good, bad, or otherwise. If you don’t fall down once in a while, you’re not stretching yourself enough. (hopefully not on stage but that’s happened to me a time or two)
For dance, choreography is my greatest passion of it. That is my strength, what I enjoy most, and what I should always focus on first. Everything else will always fall into place if I do. For me, when I focus on the wow and fancy stuff is when I lose my way.
Dance like there’s no tomorrow. Stay true to yourself and know when to keep fighting the fight.