During a chat with Morag Deyes last week she reflected that being a choreographer was not like being a plumber in that you never really know the trade or know the means in which to resolve every niggle. And although with plumbers there will always be new developments these are reasonably easily followed as they are usually inspired by previous technologies and follow certain fundamental rules.
With choreography the past can both inspire new practice and destroy a creators potential. For example if you base too much of your work in the successful formulas of your predecessors your work will never be original. However is there anything wrong with producing work which is merely appreciated as opposed to life changing? Not everyone can be the inspiration behind a massive culture shift otherwise we would never settle into a genre long enough for it to be classified.
What I am recently learning to vocalise, intrinsically I always knew I was simply too scared to admit it (I am from a family of tradesmen who have mastered their craft!), is that I will never master my craft as it will never stay still long enough to be mastered!
I may create a great work in 2011 but similar practice will be outdated or misunderstood in 2012. Look at your Picasso's and Bach's, both were appreciated far more following their death. Their creations were literally ahead of their time.
Thankfully video technology will hopefully hold the key to many choreographers being revered in such a manner after their passing. Not that I am once claiming that everyone classes these artists as great or that I will ever be as great as either...fingers crossed though! Also, not that I am hoping to be passing anytime soon and would like to be alive to see whatever success I am due.
What I am excited about is totally embracing my world of constant learning, analysis, improvement and mistake. It feels like such a huge weight off my shoulders to accept that I will indeed mess up for the next however many, hopefully long, years that I will be creating and to understand that anything that isn't a complete disaster means I'm doing okay! If only funding agencies would be as excited by such a concept.
I simply hope that I can always feel as positive about the process. Every artist knows a day that they have claimed they want to pack it all in but come the following Monday they're skipping around a studio, buzzing with ideas. For someone as myself, motivated by goals and readable acheivements its not easy to be stuck in limbo having no idea whether you're moving up or down the ladder. Its also not so easy to explain to a family who understand 'normal' systems of promotion and reward. Sadly, even Lloyd Newson did not receive a Christmas Bonus when he created Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men.
We all know we don't do it for the bonus, or should I say the real artists don't anyway! But a star chart or something measurable would make it nice.
For now I'm going to take notes, read them, move, scribble, scrutinise and accept that the life I've chosen isn't cut and dry but leaves a lot more room for justifying yourself when you have made an ass of it all! Phew!