Sunday, November 5, 2017

Emerging from One’s Shell

Improvisation, free writing, and embracing new ideas and concepts is a huge challenge for me. So I have been attending conferences and workshops to force myself to acknowledge concepts, techniques, questions, and answers beyond the training and experience I amassed in more than thirty five years of teaching.

Frustration is what I felt in today’s Skype discussion. In last month’s Skype discussion most of us acknowledged the reality of no set wrong or right in technique. Perhaps this is/was due to changing perspectives in how we look at whether every person executes a pirouette in the same manner. Maybe not.

I wonder why some people simply refuse to acknowledge that discussions are not for receiving “how to do” answers. Is this fear of opening oneself to the idea of black and white expectations being blurred? This question relates to technique vs. choreography. My experience has been the recreational dance student prefers choreography to technique because there is a sense of freedom and fewer moments of the instructor saying ‘fix the technique.” Why? Simply because as discussed in “how to do a pirouette” our discussion group acknowledged that individuals might need to alter technical approaches to executing a single step or group of steps and phrases. If we allow our students the freedom to explore and make mistakes should we not allow ourselves the same leniency?

Few people like to be told they are doing something wrong. This brings up how safe spaces can be created. In today’s society there is most likely no safe space. No matter how politically correct and friendly or inviting a space may be, any thing can happen. People have free will. Expectations can be given to participating individuals but the individuals do not necessarily have to adhere to the guidelines and expectations set forth. Governing bodies, governments-schools-organizations, can and often do limit what, where, and when anything may be done or said online, in public, and sometimes even in one’s own home.

Technique and choreography are great examples of this. One person may be unable to execute a step or choreographic phrase as given due to limitations within that person’s mobility, physical and/or mental.

While our personal professional experience is the foundation for our study in this program are we not expected to maintain some objectivity?

So my point to this exploration of this morning’s Skype discussion is a big question. How do we as students realize the difference between narrowing our search for knowledge and expecting answers we must discover for ourselves?

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