Inspiration – Being Open to Any Source

by Elaine Wang

1. Where have your ideas come from?

• A personal story- When something I experience in life resonates in me so deeply (and often so complex) that I feel compelled to put physical form to it.
• An image that continues to reoccur in my mind
• A thought or feeling so nuanced and layered that words can not express all the different veils that make up the situation
• Poetry, journal writing, literature, music, history, science
• Most often, there is an idea I want to understand or to investigate that I have very little grasp of. This can pertain to a situation in the world that I am grappling with or it can be centered on something in dance that I have not been able to master (example: partnering, floor work, etc…).
• Creating limitations on the structure of a dance (giving rules within space, time, and force) and seeing what can come of it
• Nature and finding metaphors between nature and our human experience
• Travel
• Gestures
• Dreams
• Another movement form (example: tai chi, qigong)

2. What approaches have you used to flesh out your ideas?

• Improvisation
• Writing
• Dreaming and or letting my mind invent images that somehow I believe are linked
• Putting on a costume
• Playing with different types of music and or sounds
• Creating the gist or seed of a movement theme and adding to it
• Creating chunks of phrases and weaving them together
• Creating separate often disparate movement or thematic sections and playing with the order (shuffling the sequence)
• Having another observer give me feed back
• Videoing the rehearsal process and honing and editing the material
• Informal showings and feed back
• Continuing to ask the question “What is the essence of this piece?”
• Honing a beginning, middle, or end of a dance
• Creating specific tasks to help movement invention (example: find ways for two dancers to propel one dancer across the room)
• Finding a dynamic range in movement qualities, tempo, size of movement, emotional landscape, and arc of the dance

3. Once you received an inspiration, what were some of your next steps?

I must always get myself into the studio to see what comes of it.