…and nothing will humble you more quickly than actually putting in the work.
The way dancers train in LA is making me rethink my whole approach to body, technique, history. I see how much time I have to give to know the forms I want to know. It’s not just about staying in shape. It’s about knowing these traditions and finding myself within them. I am gradually and i n c r e me n t a l l y on my way there. I am surrounded by the kind of skill and ferocity that I’ve challenged myself to step into. I have to own that I am an LA dancer now.
I have a pretty good technique foundation but I am being stretched in precision, power, crispness, fearlessness. The kind of performance I want to do requires a level of personal transcendence. I’m grateful to have found community in the spaces where I train.
It’s a blessing that I had such a rich community in Philly and I’m lucky that I already have peers and mentors in LA. I’m excited to continue to develop collaborative relationships. But having come from a time in my life where I was a medium/big fish in a small pond, turning down job offers, and had a good history with many local organizations, I’m reminded again that it takes at least 2 years to begin to be familiar and belong to a place.
It takes time to be known and trusted.
And I can’t let any anxiety or ego get the best of me. I can’t hide behind my skills and what I know. I have to learn from who is here. I have to take my new community in and be seen at a relational level. I have to know that my daily needs are met. I have to be present. Which can be a challenge after a time of life where I was used to knowing what my calendar would look like a good 4-6 months in advance and saving money on a regular basis.
I’m putting in a lot of Emergent Strategy principles in practice: Building at the pace of trust. Moving with and through change. Fractal thinking. Nonlinear and iterative change. Resisting the pace of capitalism and surrendering to the pace of rhythms and cycles to reveal clarity and deeper truth.
I spend a lot of time reflecting on what kinds of foundations I developed in Philly, and what was missing. I chose to leave and grow because I realized how disconnected from Afro Latin diaspora forms I felt, and how much I needed and desired that to be a strong part of my practice in order to move solidly into my mid career years and future goals. To re-member and re-claim my movement roots.
Being an independent choreographer made me very cerebral. I got comfortable in theatrical and performance art approaches to making work. Now I’m deepening my practice within the movement roots that call to me.
Training will make me a better at everything else I do. It will make me a better organizer. I am grounding my analysis, research, theory, practice in my body. I needed to do that. And I know there are other skills that will be made better by deepening into my training, like production and organizing.
I think it’s attention to detail and commitment to precision and high quality that will continue to show up in the rest of my artistic and organizing life.
Maybe the thing that has made this transition as overwhelming as it has been is the process of deconstructing my practice. Literally asking myself – Who am I? What is grounding me and igniting my inner fire? Staying curious about where my creativity is most active across modalities and subject matters. Committing to weekly training.
Showing up. Showing up. Showing up.
I’m learning a lot about myself and who I am in a collective, what I have to offer to a group.
I’ve learned about which friends influenced me the most based on what my new friends see in me.
I see all that I have brought to California which has been influenced by Philly and the northeast.
I see new spaciousness for my process of creative/life formation.
transformation in progress.