One of the most beautiful aspects of graduate school is being thrust into an environment with an endless supply of encouragement. I have a relentless passion for telling stories in what I consider to be a less conventional method. The unspoken language that we all subconsciously use to communicate fascinates me. The choreographic process allows me to take such a subtle form and exaggerate it into a living work of art.
The encouragement to explore was something that I did not take lightly. I set personal and professional goals to create at least one new work each semester. With ample amounts of rehearsal time and space at my disposal, I could not help but take advantage of my situation and found myself creating up to five new works in a single semester. I was producing work on and off campus allowing me to show my work as much as possible to many different audiences.
Each time a new work was completed and presented, I was met with the same question, “what is next?” The consistency of this question created a pattern. I would jump from one project to the next with little time to re-flect, re-evaluate, and then re-launch with a fresh mindset and perspective.
During the processes I would go back to my AHAs and frequently ask myself questions regarding the intention, the clarity of that intention, and how I could make clearer choices. However, once a work was presented there was no time to stop. Curtain up, curtain down, on to the next. I had become that single-minded student, but instead of being focused on that single grade at the end of the semester, I was focused on the next.
Three years into my post-graduate career, I was still surfing that pattern. I had created enough momentum, in my opinion, to produce a full evening concert of my newest works. I can say that we sold out the venue. I can say that we received what I would consider a nice review. I can say that other persons raved of our success. I can also say that the duh! stick nailed me right in between the eyes.
As the curtain closed, before I could take a breath of resolution, the words roared in my ears, “what is next?” You have got to be kidding me! That night, after all the patrons had gone home, I stepped into the midnight air and without warning I stepped out of my pattern. AHA!! I knew I could not continue along this path in this way.
What are your processes like? Do you feel rushed or pressured to keep moving or producing even when you may not be truly ready?
Amy Elizabeth, named one of Houston’s 100 Creatives and Top 10 Choreographer in 2013, is currently an adjunct dance professor and artistic director for Aimed Dance since receiving her M.F.A from Sam Houston State University. Her work has been presented at DanceHouston, Dance Gallery Festival Texas, Houston Fringe Fest and venues throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Arizona. Additionally, she has had the privilege of setting works at Lone Star College, Rice University, Lamar High School and will be working with San Jacinto College Dance Ensemble this fall. Stay in touch at www.amyelizabethdance.com.