I’ve been blessed to collaborate with a lot of great artists in my time.
The partnerships that seemed to me to be the most joyous, productive and challenging were the ones in which I was able to be humble and listen with a soft heart. They often seemed to be the ones where I felt I was punching above my weight – working with people whose work I admired and was inspired by. Sometimes these collaborations came about because of someone else bringing a group together, but sometimes they happened because I asked. And while these collaborators may not have had a very deep or solid idea of what I might bring to the project or my “skills” or “ability”, they were experienced and open enough to let me in.
Whenever I embark on a solo piece or am in a situation where I feel I am on my own somehow creatively, I draw on these experiences to help me discover which way I should go. It isn’t a recipe, really – it’s more like a kind of hum that moves me onwards in the creation of the project. I can feel when it is working and when it isn’t.
I guess now it is trite to say that we are a sum of our experiences, but I get a chance to feel that everyday in the work that I do.
Feeling pretty lucky, is what I call it.
I’m spending a lot of time in the theatre this year, with many great collaborators, doing plays, performance art/dance pieces, and contemporary dance performance myself (luckily, I will not be dancing but playing percussion). It’s going to be a lively schedule and even more is in the pipeline.
As i work on the various pieces, often all at once (as is the fate of the full time artist trying to make a living) I find myself having to split my mind into many pieces – or rather, access that piece of my creative mind that is tuned to the project I currently have booted up and running on my computer.
With the many years experience I have accumulated, this is not as difficult as it used to be, but only because of one thing – when I take something on, I spend a lot of time trying to understand it, to put my finger and ear on the central tenet of what the thing is supposed to be. In this I am helped by my many collaborators but principally the directors and choreographers, but I find that that understanding I seek before starting to construct the sound can come from anywhere – a movement, a word, a picture, or perhaps the set. The important thing is to remain open and welcoming to that one piece or moment that will guide me.
Let’s all do that. Happy new year.