Inspiration – Letting Things Marinate

by Desiree Parkman

1. Where have your ideas come from?

Most of my ideas come from my own personal life experiences, favorite time periods (20′s, 60′s), people I admire and want to tell their story through movement or a social issue I want to express.

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

In fleshing out ideas I try to hone in on a particular rising thought or statement I’d like to convey and then hopefully have some bodies I can sketch movement on.

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

It is always best to start with research and form a kind of statement. Something that keeps me focused on the message I am trying to convey. From there I may have some imagery of a sketch of how I want the piece to evolve but often for me the music comes first and then the movement.

4. What strategies have you used to take an inspiration and translate it into something you could use to generate movement and create a piece about?

Even the most abstract thoughts or ideas can be translated into something concrete to work with. It may be a simple word or phrase that starts the flicker of creativity and you go from there.

5. How have you handled an inspiration that seemed too big to tackle through movement? For example, refine it, abandon it, etc?

I always keep a journal of ideas, poetry, inspirational quotes , photographs. If I feel my vision is too large to undertake fully, I try to break it into smaller pieces. Maybe a solo or duet and try to use that as a foundation. It may take years for this process to complete. But continuing to work through it as opposed to abandoning it completely can lead to a better understanding of the subject at hand. And alas if all that fails I may abandon it and be inspired to start something new, and that may inspire a different look at the piece I left behind.

6. How many of us have these magnificent ideas in our heads for pieces that never see the light of day? What advice do you have for those who find it hard to get started?

Our brains have such a huge capacity for visualization and creation. It is completely possible to have many outstanding ideas for works that are floating around in the brain. I think what is important is to write down as many as you can and really spend time meditating on them and see which one really speaks to you. And then start to form something a step, a poem, music, something to give this thought a beginning, a purpose. Something that distinguishes it from more than just a thought, it becomes real.

7. In translating your inspirations into movement, have you found any limitations in movement’s ability to fully realize what you’re attempting to communicate? Or, have you felt that as a choreographer you were limited in your ability to access movement that fully realized your inspiration? How did you manage that hurdle?

I think this is an ongoing struggle. Its like a writer who can’t find the right words to express their story. Blockage. I believe the movement is infinite and that there are always possibilities to use movement in various ways. In my opinion when the blockage hits its up to me to broaden my horizon and seek out new information through reading, watching, listening being and waiting for my mind and body to sync and release some new thought and movement patterns.