Awakening Your Creativity
Awakening Your Creativity
(A KjzzFuzion Perspective Article on Dance and Creativity)
We often imagine creativity as an exclusive process, reserved to specially gifted individuals. We imagine that these individuals can close their eyes for a second and instantly get new, innovative, never-before-seen ideas. We don’t understand how creativity works. We just know that creativity happens. At least we image this creativity narrative of others and forget about our personal capabilities.
Creativity can be achieved by a much larger number of people than you might think. In this article we explore awakening the creativity within us through dance.
According to Sir Ken Robinson, author and speaker on education, every child comes into the world with tremendous talent, which, when identified and nurtured, can lead to marvelous feats of creativity. But we squander that creativity. Instead of growing into creativity, we grow out of it. Or in fact, we are educated out of it. We are taught to fear mistakes and dread being wrong, which leads us to run from risks like the pest. Even in today’s corporate jobs, employees are trained to view mistakes as unrepairable faux pas to avoid at all costs. The normal progression of the creative potential we displayed as children is given a slow death by today’s societal norms. However, it is our perspective that dancing can help us reclaim that natural gift, that youthful ability to take a chance, try something new, and create. (Source: “Do Schools Kill Creativity?“ Sir Ken Robinson, 2007.)
Dancing allows free-styling and quick decision-making that can help us develop the ease we used to have at taking chances and risks. In Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer, Richard Powers discusses recent studies on the impact of regular dancing on the brain and explains that “intelligence is what we use when we don’t already know what to do.” We concluded that social dancing is effective at preventing dementia, particularly because of how it pushes participants to make split-second decisions. Making fast decisions on a regular basis helps maintain cognitive abilities. Even if, personal creativity is dormant, the brain maintains its ability to jump into the unknown and create. Dance is a powerful way to cultivate and maintain that intellectual agility that leads to creativity. (Source: “Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer.” Richard Powers, Stanford Dance, 2010.)
Dance can be seen as a way to train the brain to face the unknown with confidence, and even use it for inspiration. We view welcoming uncertainty with open arms as one of starting points to creativity. Creativity is mastering the unknown, but the secret behind all creativity is that it is inspired from the known applied in a unique way. As Wayne McGregor, award-winning dancer and choreographer, explains creativity is attainable by everyone with the help of simple inspirations. In fact, the starting point of one’s inspiration for a dance can be as simple as mere letters. Take T, if you may. Imagine that T, see it in front of you, walk around it, touch it, and let your body explore it in all the ways you can think of, until movements emerge from it. Let your body speak for itself, and if you want to push that creation to new heights, let others interpret it in their own way, until something even newer and better emerges. Creativity is, after all, a partnership. (Source: “A Choreographer’s Creative Process In Real Time.” Wayne McGregor, 2012.)
Inspiration for dance creativity can also, very simply, come from the person in front of you. Your dance partner, as you surely realize already, is not a mere space holder, there to do their part of the work while you do yours. Most dancers who speak and write about their craft speak of the importance and power of connection, and this fusion extends to the process of creation. This body in front of you, you do not need to imagine it. There it is, alive and dynamic, for you to navigate around, and freestyle with, until something new comes to life.
For anyone who wants to trigger and develop their creativity, dance is a wonderful way to pull that dormant ability back into activity. Like a domino effect, it starts with a simple dance, extends to better performance in many aspects of one’s life, through more spontaneous and agile creative thinking.