Written by Bodies in Play Founder, Andrew Pearson.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a passion for dance.
I’ve always enjoyed being physical. I respond to challenge and pushing one’s body. I respond to the rigor associated with physical practice. I respond to touch. To physical expression. To moving to music. I respond to many of the things provided by dance.
But am I passionate about it? Eh.
What I am passionate about, is making.
Ever since I could hold a crayon I’ve been drawing pictures. As a child I made paintings, sculptures, clothing, games, and toys. As I got older I began making short stories and living room theater. When I took my first dance class, it was simply for recreation - for physical exercise - but I immediately began making dances at home. As my dance training increased in High School, as did my choreography, but I spent just as much time making home movies with friends as I did in the dance studio.
When it came time to select a major for college, dance was the natural choice. But I only applied to schools that had a Choreography emphasis. I knew I wanted to keep making. In college I made ballet dances, hip hop dances, jazz dances, theater dances. I’ve gone on to make steps for musicals, for music videos, for dance companies, for myself, for dance classes - but I also currently make graphic designs, schedules, spreadsheets, events, performances, websites, newsletters, and more.
My point is, while I have a clear passion for making - for creating - I don’t know if I excel as a maker in any particular category.
I think it comes down to one fundamental concern: I’m too easily satisfied.
I’m so satisfied making things that the product becomes irrelevant. On a scale from “I don’t really give a shit” and “extreme perfectionism,” I lie somewhere in the middle, at “yea, this is good enough.”
This might be fine if my making was a total hobby - just something for me to exercise my creative impulses. However, I am actively seeking engagement and validation for my makings. I sell tickets to my makings. In this case, is “good enough” enough?
At this point, if you’ve been actively engaged in this newsletter, you’re likely thinking:
“So I shouldn’t buy tickets to your upcoming show?”
Well, while I’m not here to tell you what you should or should not do, I would like to share with you that my upcoming production is the first time I’ve truly reinvested in an existing project. Last year, when I first presented the piece in solo form, I had audience members asking when I was going to do it again. My initial response? Oh, no, this show is done. It’s been made. It’s been seen. Moving on.
But then, almost as if possessed by an Andrew I didn’t recognize, I found myself meeting with people to get feedback. Taking notes on their critical responses and internalizing possible edits. I found myself applying to residencies to further develop the work. I suddenly had a new cast and new members of the creative team. I was learning to become unsatisfied.
More than anything, I was learning to fall in love with re-making.
Only time can tell if this remake will have a remake or if my scale will continue to inch further from “good enough” toward its way to great or fantastic or excellent.
Regardless, whether I’m making or remaking - dances or crayon art - I think each work informs the next and each project aims to be just a little bit better than the last.
Maybe I’m less satisfied than I thought.