A director makes 100 decisions an hour. Students ask me how you know how to make the right decision, and I say to them, 'If you don't know how to make the right decision, you're not a director - George Lucas
What makes a dancer great?
What makes a choreographer great?
What makes a rehearsal director great?
What makes a teacher great?
Would you say that all of the person specifications are the same? And would you say that the experience needed would be the same? There's a lot of people who believe that you need to perform well in one area in order to perform well in another.
But there are songwriters out there who don't make the best singers and singers who are not the best at writing. You have actors and vice versa, scriptwriters who can't act, photographers who can't pose. Great maths teachers may not be the greatest of mathematicians, the list is endless, does it make them bad at their job?
Do choreographers or teachers need to have had a successful career in dance to be good at what they do?
There seems to be a certain condescending attitude toward choreographers and teachers and maybe some rehearsal directors too, who may or may not have had a 'successful' career as a dancer. Let's not forget that success comes in many forms and is measured in many different ways, not to mention there are some choreographers and teachers who never wanted to perform in the first place.
Is it fair to make such a judgement for the decisions they make, when some of the dancers with the best technique in the world really don't even make the best performers?
Maybe it's a respect thing? Maybe as an adult we look at our teachers and peers in a different way and we expect nothing but the best. We are suppose to be training to be the best of the best and we should be taught by those who have been the best right? After all we are in specialist training. Medical students get high calibre teachers and lectures who are top surgeons. So why can't dancers get the same quality in teaching?
But then Toni Minichiello (the coach to Jennifer Ennis) is not a athlete himself and to make a slightly more relevant point, Wayne Mcgregor is an incredibly successful choreographer who has not experienced a dance career (as a performer).
It's difficult, we are creatives, there is no right and wrong. Our world is fully of colour, questions, challenges, pushing boundaries. Our world is fully of insecurities, loneliness, rejection, success, travel and injury, and we all play our part. As a dancer, a teacher or choreographer there is a reason why we do what we do and those who are most honest and humble are the ones that will do it well, allowing everybody in the room to be better.
I'm always amazed, when we walk into a studio to make something new, they feel this massive responsibility of inspiring me or of giving me enough. They tempt me openly, which is kind of embarrassing - like saying, 'I love you' - by saying, 'We are here for you, to try whatever you want to try.' Sometimes I wonder if I'm pushing them far enough - Hofesh Scheter
What we need is to start respecting people who have worked hard and managed to get where they are in order to do what it is that they do, as appose to criticise them for not having been where we expect them to have been.
I would rather work with a choreographer who has no performance experience but is full of ideas with something to say and with a great approach to directing rather than a choreographer who was a great dancer and got funding to choreograph because they were a great dancer and have made a name for themselves. That's like stapling 'sponsored by Gillette' on a pack condoms and saying they work. I'm not saying that it's a complete failure but it doesn't make any sense, and could be a complete waste of money.
I'm not saying that those who have had a career as a performer can not move into another area successfully. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but should not having had that career hinder anybody's success in another area?
This is just something that I have heard being discussed recently and I am fascinated by other people's opinions on the topic.
It's definitely one to think about. But in my own personal opinion everybody has their own passion, and their own direction and should be allowed to pursue whatever they wish without judgement, whether they are 'good' or not is usually just a matter of personal opinion.