I just saw Pilobolus Dance Theatre’s Lanterna Magica this weekend. It was an inspiring performance! Two hours evaporated!
Honestly, as interesting as the video clips here are, they don’t do a full performance justice. (In two hours you get to know each dancer. Each experience builds on the previous one generating a big final effect.) But don’t let this stop you from watching more. They’re great!
You can see more Pilobolus on YouTube.
Find out more about Pilobolus here.
I’ve been intrigued with dance since I was very young. The Nutcracker and Firebird ballets captivated me at the age of 4. Mumenshantz modern dance / mime at 5. The Whirling Dervishes at 6. At 7, I moved to New Mexico and began attending native american ceremonial dances. Martha Graham’s Rites of Spring at 19. Cirque du Soleil at 40. And recently Alison Chase (former creative director of Pilobolus) was a guest instructor during a weeklong workshop on creativity led by Sean Kernan. (See my posts between June 9-13, 2008.)
I enjoy seeing anyone do anything really well. But watching other creative people engaged in different disciplines is particularly interesting to me. I learn about creativity. I learn about communication. I learn about myself. Often, I’m asked what does work in other fields offer me directly for my own work. Ideas. Ideas that I can apply to my own work? Yes. I find that if you don’t get stuck on specifics but make more generalized or abstracted statements about quality and perception that these become vital wellsprings for new ways of thinking. Here’s an example. Dance and sculpture have been increasingly influential to me with respect to representations, expressions, and experiences of two essential elements in my work – time and space. The stimulus in these two other disciplines has led me to develop many new images (For just one example, see my series Allies here.)
The other question that often arises is once you’re inspired by another discipline, should you engage it professionally. Yes. No. Maybe. You have to weigh many things before making this leap – talent, passion, means, etc. My recommendation is to sleep on it long and hard. Personally, take a little time to be stimulated and energized by a wide range of experiences, free of professional pressures. Professionally, stay focused on your core passions. I don’t plan to do dance or yoga professionally. Sculpture on the other hand … well stay tuned. It’s a long standing desire of mine to work with sculpture that goes way back to early childhood and simply won’t go away. That impulse is about to bear fruit this summer. It may well become a very strong current in my work for the foreseeable future.
Stay tuned here this summer.
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My wife made the comment that we should all make it a habit to spend a little time each year getting out and experiencing new things that will inspire and motivate us. I agree!
What was the last or most inspiring creative event you’ve attended? Comment here!