I was a few weeks into my residency when I decided I should document it. I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the idea, but that somehow made it all the more important. During a particularly satisfying improvisation session, I had a rare moment when I wished I had been filming, although I questioned whether it would have been the same satisfying dance if I had in fact recorded it. Well, in my next session I set up a camera, and of course it was my single worst studio session so far this year. I felt a bit like Schrodinger’s cat.
So why did I make the decision to create this blog? Who is it for?
If you’ve ever embarked on any solo project, you may have experienced how difficult it can be to stay motivated and accountable. Written reflection was already a part of my dance practice and now I was filming improvisation tasks – publishing some of this seemed like an effective way to stay accountable and connected to people outside the four walls of the studio. While I’m not currently beholden to anyone, I did have a purpose in returning to practice, and I have received support. To have something to show for my time, and to be able to track the twists, turns, ups and downs of my process would definitely be a valuable measure. Having somewhere to regularly share the practice would give me structure and something to aim for personally, while allowing anyone in the QL2 Dance community and beyond who might be interested to have a window into my work.
(On a slightly more boring note, having art form documentation is important for any artist, especially when it comes to applying for professional support and opportunities.)
So, having made the decision not only to film, but publicly document my process, I had to decide on a platform. I don’t tend to post on social media very often, and considering my aversion to filming myself dancing, any form of vlogging would be a stretch. At this stage I didn’t have a website, though I had encountered situations often enough where having one would have been useful. This clinched the deal. I would build a website and use that as a platform to document my residency in blog form.
Cue months of lost time as I gathered my materials and built a website.
That’s not entirely fair – it was time consuming, but I actually found it to be a valuable process of reflection and skill acquisition, with something to show at the end of it.
But by this stage, deadlines were looming and it was time to focus all my energy on applying for grants. In an ideal world, I would have time during my week for writing grant applications as well as reflective blog posts, but the reality is my practice has to fit in around my day jobs, going to class, domestic work and maybe some time for rest and socialising too. I know this is a reality that is shared amongst many of us!
And now it’s August. I have accumulated months’ worth of footage, notes and process development, all ready to sift through.
It’s hard to know how to get started, but here we go...
Originally (before the backlog got quite so long) I thought that posting chronologically would be the easiest and most logical way to go. Now the beginnings of the project are a long way back and less clear in my mind. The process is already interwoven with ongoing reflection, and it continually feeds and evolves from itself. Time has muddied the timeline, making chronological reconstruction difficult, and I am also aware of the value of staying in the present – documenting the immediacy of my experience in the practice as it unfolds. I may have to abandon absolute clarity and go with a bit of a mishmash: immediate thoughts and (fingers crossed!) insights blended with re-telling of what came before.