The below reflection was written in response to a follow up question from the
Bodies in Play feature in VoyageLA :
Written by Bodies in Play Founder, Andrew Pearson.
How do you think about risk/What role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Bodies in Play was developed as a platform to create live performance experiences, with bodies as a focal point for creative expression. As with any performing arts production, being in close proximity with other bodies has always been a key element for both the process and presentation of the work. As I write this, in September of 2020, many of the projected projects for Bodies in Play have been placed on hold or sent back to the drawing board. The current health risks associated with bringing bodies together are simply too high to operate or create as originally intended.
Prior to this pandemic, when thinking about risks in the performing arts, we often thought about creative risks in relation to the audience. If we make this choice, will people buy tickets? Will we get a good review? Will people be impacted? All of these are important questions to ask since as performers our relationship to audience is symbiotic, but I’ve always also looked at risk from a more selfish point of view: How will these choices make me a better artist?
Whenever I take on a new project, whether I'm the performer, creator, or producer, there has to be some element of fear involved for the work to feel worthwhile. There has to be some sense that I may not "get it" or achieve the desired result, and in many cases, I’ve failed. As a dancer, this may look like not quite landing that move I've been practicing or not quite hitting the musical timing as desired. As a choreographer it might look like overcomplicating the steps or creating something far too derivative and unoriginal. However it's these failures that produce growth and allow me to take bigger risks in the next project.
So now the question is, in the current climate, what scares me artistically? How do I support Bodies in Play in ways that keep my health and the health of my collaborators and audiences in mind while still stepping beyond my creative comfort zone? So far, the risks associated with the coronavirus have put me in a state of pause and reflection - failure, in this case, is not an opportunity for growth. Failure is simply not an option. Yet in a city and industry where popularity has often been a key factor in relevancy, to pause presents a slew of risks that scare me in ways I haven’t been scared before. Thankfully, if my past projects are any indication, this fear suggests I may find myself becoming a better artist on the other side. And that’s a risk worth taking.