Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Recommendation - Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit

How people get inspired, develop their ideas and form a body of work is something that fascinates me. No two artists have exactly the same process but I have yet to come across one who does not have a work routine - and hard work at that!

When I came across Twyla Tharp's book, I was immediately hooked. Creating a piece of modern dance is something that always mystified me. So many unique movements, the use of the stage, the interplay between bodies and negative space, all of it coming together to form a work of art.

Of course, we now take a break for a little snippet of her work.

Tharp constantly stresses the need for structured, disciplined work: researching a concept, refining ideas, exploring the accidental detours but remembering your core. She also cites many other artists and their creative habits, ranging from a writer to a chef, showing that all of us do share some aspects of working on our creativity while still maintaining our own distinct style. She also proposes a series of exercises for each chapter, to allow the readers to work on the concepts themselves and find their own way. I will honestly say that I did not do all of them - some got a little too out there for me!

I loved her description of how a choreography is created and how it is, in many ways, a collaboration between the choreographer and the dancers. For the curious, the ladder she is sitting on for the cover isn't just a weird photo. That is where she sits during her work sessions, to have a better understanding of the use of space. It is a tool.

To finish off, here is another bit of contemporary dance, by Grupo Corpo. I love how fluid their movements are and how joyful. The music isn't bad either.

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