Yesterday was quite the day of thought, inspired from many different sources.
Instead of attending our regular Friday class, me and my fellow DJDer's attended a conference called 'On The Move,' a seminar for emerging dancers and graduating dance students about how to launch their careers. Put on by the Alberta Dance Alliance and held at the Alberta Ballet studios, the day consisted of several different workshops and a yoga class at the end.
While the classes ranged from a psychology of loving oneself and one's work, to injury prevention, to contracts and legality, the session I enjoyed most focused on creating and producing work. Though I was expecting from the description something other than I got, this worked in a positive way. I was expecting a class on the steps to self-producing a project, and ended up with an open-ended discussion with the artistic director of the Alberta Ballet and a well-known independent dance artist here in Calgary who works quite a bit with video. It was truly inspiring to get a chance to ask questions of these two people who had been through so many stages and ups and downs to get to their success points as choreographers. We discussed their thoughts on the point where one goes from 'emerging' to 'established,' and I asked about their thoughts on how you know or find out whether or not your work is 'worth it' when you are still in such an early stage that you have not yet applied for a grant.
It was great to hear, from their experiences, that you have to keep reinventing, remain curious, and continue questioning yourself, because when you stop doing that, you stagnate. Even for well-established people such as themselves, they admitted openly to failures, even recent ones, suggesting there is no such mark as 'unstoppable;' even the established continue to have ups and downs. I had some really nice chats with many of the presenters after their workshops, and the whole day left me feeling all-around warm and fuzzy. It was so nice to get a chance to immerse myself a bit deeper into the community here. Though much of the information I had heard many times before, the value sprung from the fact that it was coming from new people in a new place, creating for me new perspectives.
Similarly inspiring yesterday, surprisingly, was my late-night trip to a bar near to our house. Cale, Rebecca and Steph got off work while I was having a glass of wine, and were attending a going away party for a friend from work at this bar across the street. I figured 'what the hell, I have no excuse; money is ok, I can walk home, and I have nothing to do tomorrow. Can't really back out!' On Friday and Saturday nights, they hire in a DJ and the bar becomes more like a club, so needless to say, there was much dancing to be had.
I ended up spending most of the night on the dance floor (which does not stray from the usual for me), but quite a bit of that time running around like a loon and insisting that everyone sitting in relatively close proximity to the dance floor would have to get up and join me. And guess what; it worked! Most everyone I approached gave in, including two black gentlemen that appeared to be from elsewhere. I could just tell they wanted to dance, but at first could not decide if they were avoiding the dance floor because they thought they were better than everyone else cutting it, or if they were self-concious in that particular setting. Turns out it was self-conciousness. When the Bob Marley came on (stereotypical, but I am just telling it like it happened), they busted out the moves.
I was happy to see that they had joined me, and made sure to let them know by coming to jam with them. Turns out, they in fact had moved about a year ago from Africa. There was a bit of a language barrier, and that may be part of why they hung back, but I found out in a bit more time that they are living with two dorky, awesome Canadian guys who were also there that night ( and who I also eventually got on the floor!) They were all-together just a cool bunch of guys, and when they got going, they got going and blew everyone else out of the water. Except for me of course, and that was soley because I am not afraid to be ridiculous and move huge. All in all, I stirred the dance floor up a bit and I think a lot more people left feeling happier because of it.
Ah, The Power of Dance. Not Cheese. Dance.