You Can Dance

In today’s world, so many people have careers that are technology or science-based. There is a school of thought that says that you are either logical or creative, but you can’t be both. Nothing is further from the truth. People do tend to approach a task from either a logical or creative point of view, but anyone can reach the same goal.

If you are a computer programmer, for example, you may believe or may have been told that you are too logical and process-oriented to learn something as creative as dancing. Let’s look at this differently.

When you first learned how to write computer programs, you weren’t terribly comfortable going outside of the rules or the programming languages that you learned in school. As you got more comfortable, you were able to explore some of the more obscure parts of the programming languages you already knew. Then you were able to fully learn new languages without needing to take a class or ask for a lot of advice.

Now that you are comfortable with your abilities you can be presented with a project in which a desired outcome needs to be reached and create a solution. If a different programmer in your department was given the same project, her solution would result in the same outcome, but the process that she used would be much different than your’s. She may even choose to use a different programming language altogether, or come up with a solution that would have never occurred to you. A talented computer programmer uses just as much creativity as any artist.

The reason for this is that every art form begins by learning the logic, process and tools of the trade of your art. If you are a painter, you don’t just start off squirting some paint on a canvas and pushing the paint around with your brush. You’ll end up with a mess. You have to learn how to create the visual representations you want to make on a flat surface come to three-dimensional life. Ask any painter who focuses on realism and they will be able to tell you dozens of rules that they follow when painting a portrait or a landscape. They have to know how to use their technical skills in order to create the realistic image that they want.

The same process happens in dance. The first things you have to learn are the steps and the body positions. Practicing the steps and body positions actually lays down a neural pathway, a pathway in your brain, which will eventually make those movements and positions second-nature. You are actually using your body and your brain as tools that work together to create a program of sorts. Just like you no longer need to really think about where your fingers are going when you type, it won’t be long before you no longer need to think about where your feet are going when you dance. It just starts to happen naturally. Once you have the logic and process down to a natural flow, then you can throw in the extras that create a unique interpretation that is all your own; a look, an extra oomph to a step, a twist of the shoulder to emphasize a move. That little bit of attention to detail is where the creative part of dance comes in. The rest is simply following the process.

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