I’ve been dancing for four years so I figured it was about time I started sharing something about it with the world. I’ll hold off on the obligatory introduction until later. First I want to talk about why I’m starting this up.
What really got me off my intellectual ass was Richard Power’s Waltz Lab. The idea is to encourage open sourcing waltz innovation. So I spent this morning happily ignoring my homework and messing around with a friend to come up with a variation I felt worth of the first round of votes. At the end of an hour of figuring out how to record the 20 second clip, my friend asked me to teach her how to make up variations. Non-pulsed, I answered “you just do”.
But it’s not that simple, is it? Richard Powers loves a variation called “make something up”. It’s a variation that beginners dread, and stumps me all the time. I for one have never managed to make something up on the spot when Powers calls it. I have two possible explanations for this. Either all the possible variations had been invented and I have learned them all (a little egotistical no?), or creating a variation takes more than a split second’s thought for me.
Creating a variation is a long, complicated process for me. It starts with a variation I like. Or with a step I wish we did more often cause it looks cool, or it feels cool. I ask “what would I like to pair with it?” And I build up like little lego blocks a variation. But it isn’t anything more than a pencil sketch yet. A co-conspirator must be recruited, preferably one who can both lead and follow, to help me decide whether it actually flows. Once modifications are made, the variation is “done” which mostly translates to “good enough, lets try something completely different now.” Check out this nifty flow chat I made: Innovation flow chat. Maybe I’ll figure out how to embed it at some point. In the mean time, notice that the red arrows are paired with “no”s. This is simply to draw attention to the fact that when it comes to innovation, “no”s, aka failures or setbacks, are where it really happens. Tweaking, changing, messing with things. That is where innovation really happens. And it is time and care taken at these steps that separates a great variation from a good one.
When making up a waltz variation, there are a whole set of meta-concerns, but those are topics for another post. Instead, I’ll leave you with my first official variation: http://youtu.be/7z2GclGPSIs