MAXINE HEPPNER : NOTES ON CHOREOGRAPHY
seduction, love and infatuation
Intellect, heart, spirit and body lead the choices we make as dance creators and interpreters. Too much of one and not enough of another lead to extraordinary art, or (ironically) work that is just not good enough.
Let’s consider the Delicious Temptations of ideas, people, movement, image, senses, and so much of life.
copyright © Maxine Heppner
...leads us down paths we would not regularly take
> on the best paths: we take risks, because, only part of our reasoning self functions
> on the worst paths: seduction often completely clouds reason therefore loss of useful judgement
1. Seduced by what we know
> by habit > patterns we always use
> by default > not a lot of consciousness in using what we know
2. Seduced by what we don’t know, fascinated purely
> by the unknown
> by the mystery of “it”
> by the challenge of “it”
3. Seduced by inspiration from Outer-Space.
> “outer space”, as in, inspirations from outside the workspace, that are not directly related to nor from the work (theme, vocabulary, elements of the work in progress.) Hopefully, as we are imaginative and creative people, we are always being inspired. An example: reading a book > last night there was a passage so compelling that I find myself adding it as image in the studio work and even considering to add text, when text was never part of the piece before.
> Always ask: “Is this inspiration directly relevant to this work?”
> “Is this the time to pay attention to the inspiration, or best to put it aside as catalyst for another work?”
4. Seduced by the Power of One (the clarity of one issue)
> one performer does one thing exceptionally well. It becomes the lead image /gesture/thought of the work. Is this simplicity or leading to 1 or 2 dimensional work? (3 & 4 dimensions are always better! )
> one dancer does one thing exceptionally well and we try to make everyone just like her. Do those movements performed by another dancer read the same way? Unison and sameness has a particular power and message that is effective only in certain circumstances. Consider what the originator of the motif is actually “doing” that is compelling, rather than repeat or copy actual gestures and postures.
> one movement motif is very strong and appropriate to the piece. Choreographer tries repeating the same actual movement in several sections. Consider that what the choreographer really wants is its “affect” several times in the piece. What aspects of the motif are most important in the 2nd or 3rd times it shows up in order to advance the work?
Falling in love with an idea, a movement, a sound, a person, an image, an impulse
> can stimulate extreme creativity and/or happiness
> can stimulate deadly inertia of the imagination and inaction
We want to love the outcome of the work, but there are Pitfalls to Premature Love.
1. complete acceptance
> consciously choosing to accept the person/material/theme/motif, etc. in ALL its facets, positive and negative and neutral.
2. keeping it alive
> ultimately needing and doing anything or nothing, to keep the love object/person healthy and nurtured so it will not die.
3. relinquishing autonomy
> adjusting even the most fundamentally important aspects of thought, of beliefs, of action to accommodate the nurturing of the love object/person
....can happen at any moment. and is almost always Good! However it doesn’t last long.
One is drawn deeply into the object of infatuation, to know it completely, then the infatuation is over. Yet we carry the experience with us always and, particularly because it’s short-lived, the knowledge gained tends to enrich what we’re up to.
BEWARE infatuation that seduces ! (see "seduction above)
CONTINUUM of LABOUR
Every creative action/thought/desire etc exists on a continuum of labour.
It is easiest to choose mid-points.
Easy can be good but is usually not good enough.
"Ease" is better - the ability to move across the continuum to facilitate what the work needs.
THE ULTIMATE CONSIDERATION
DOES THIS SERVE THE WORK? or is “it” best put aside for this moment?
THE ULTIMATE QUESTION
To do the work, ask not what is needed but,
WHAT IS NECESSARY, NOW?