Mental Space


A lot of dancers I know create dance beginning with an experience of the body and then allowing it to formulate into an idea.  This sort of creating “from the experience of the body” is definitely something I take part in, but I have to confess that a lot of my ideas come to me first mentally.  I attribute this to the fact that I have more mental space in a day than I do physical space to move around.  I work in a law office four days a week.  My day begins at 6am making lunches and getting my son and I out the door so I can be in the office around 8am.  When I’m not working, I’m driving my son to his after-school activities, making healthy dinners, and helping him with his homework.  (I just want to note that most parents I know, single or not, share this experience.  The big difference, as far as I can tell, about being a single-parent is that I have the luxury to leave the dirty dishes on the counter all week-long if I must and no one complains about it. Heh). So, but what I lack in studio time, I make up for in mental space.  My job keeps me busy, but I have been doing it for so long that I have a lot of mental bandwith for daydreaming.  Therefore, I come up with some of my best ideas while I’m reconciling bank accounts – that or sleeping.  Sarah Romanowsky, an L.A. based aerial dancer/choreographer, once mentioned to me that she choreographs mostly in the car while driving. This from a woman who takes her talent to the air. I know a lot of people who used to write poetry during math class. There is something about being occupied, but the mind having the space for creativity.  Anyhow, this dance woke me up at 2am last night. Just plopped down as a whole chunk of movement sequence that I, all of a sudden, really really wanted to see. Not as pleased about how it came out as reality, but have ideas to make it better. Also, did I mention it is really really hard to dance on pavement in 50 degree weather at 7:30 in the morning? Right. I didn’t because excuses are BS. mmhmmm.


About Holly Shaw

Holly Shaw is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer and choreographer who has performed as a soloist with Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos off and on for several years. Shaw is the creator of the Eve’s Elixir project, a platform for artists of contemporary world dance wanting to bring new ideas to traditional dance forms, and has produced several shows in San Francisco. Her flow between contemporary modern dance, flamenco and Middle-eastern styles makes her a unique choreographer. Shaw has spent years training Bay Area dancers in technique and improvisation, challenging them to dance from a deeper level and uncover their unique style.

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