I am currently undertaking a solo residency at the ever-supportive QL2 Dance. This means that I find myself in the incredibly rare and fortunate situation, as an artist, of having a regular slice of time with studio space available to me. I am using these precious commodities to return to and invest in practice.
Just practice? I get puzzled looks when I try to explain what I am doing with my time – aren’t I working towards a performance? Or developing a new project for show or film or public workshop? And I guess the answer is yes, partly, practice is a part of process and process is how you create. But isn’t there value in practice for practice’s sake? While I was at uni, I somehow formed this sense that all ‘creditable artists’ spent hours in studios, often in their own company, developing or staying ‘in practice’ – how is it that it now seems so uncommon or puzzling when I try it myself?
In her book My Body the Buddhist, Deborah Hay’s first tenet is ‘My body benefits in solitude’.
How many dance students dance alone uninterruptedly for at least forty minutes daily, outside of rehearsing, choreographing or physically stretching? Why is this not a four-year requirement for every college student? How else can a person develop an intimate dialogue with the body?
Practice is a foundation and a springboard. It is very hard, for me at least, to embark on new projects or have fresh ideas and curiosity without it.
The idea of publicly documenting this residency makes me fairly uncomfortable… which is probably a good indication that it might just be worthwhile! I will be using this page to document and reflect on my experiences in the studio as I attempt to nurture and sustain my practice.
Wish me luck!