“play”–to engage in an activity for enjoyment…have fun, relax, frolic...
In my new dance solo, I am exploring the power of being playful. As I share with the audience in patter between sections, it’s taken me a long, long time to appreciate the potency of play.
Loosening the reins is so often just the ticket when we seek solutions, when we aim to try something new or different, when we hope to create. Through play, we engage our imaginations and tap into their immense possibilities. As I described here, playfulness helps things flow.
Isn’t it ironic, then, that all too often we dial up the pressure and put a stranglehold on playfulness when we take something seriously (or want to be taken seriously)? We force things and attempt to control them. Revving up the rigidity that shackles what could be a more organic, and fruitful, process.
Sad to say, I speak from recent experience. Several weeks ago as I was crafting this solo, I got so tangled in analyzing and overstuffing the choreography with movement that the dance felt lifeless. Once I got out of my head and back to fooling around with the theme of playfulness, the piece started bubbling up with vibrancy.
I noticed that my senses of dread and dissatisfaction in rehearsal were replaced with excitement. I became eager to see what else I could cook up for the audience and me to enjoy, smile and laugh about.
Ideas flowed. Yes!
As I get ready to head off to rehearse for our upcoming performance, I noticed a deer come gamboling onto the marsh. Even as she is a formidable animal, her prancing and leaping seem effortless, sprightly.
She reminds me that the bounce and agility we see in movement is akin to the buoyancy of thought and spirit we can enjoy when we lighten up and play. And so, as Alan Cohen wisely urges: “Let out a little more string on your kite.”
Photos: Top-Courtesy of Schwalbs Photography, at Lyme Art Association; Middle-Courtesy of Nikki Carrara © 2017