This autumn we made solos.
A solo in response to a repertoire that we have chosen to learn.
I was initially quite apprehensive about creating a solo. I haven’t actually made a solo since my audition for Northern (which was 4 years ago now, wow), but without the little push of assessment I probably never would have make a start on creating. It is what I needed. Not so much the thought of being judged or graded, but to create work that I am happy to share.
Now that solo assessments are done, post-show pizzas are consumed, tea is brewed for reflection.
Before the term started, I made a promise to myself to enjoy the process. To push and challenge myself enough that I grow but not get stressed about it. To focus on what matters, what I am interested in, but also to persist through the things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing but needs doing. Like Ballet for example, some days I feel like a prima but most days my body hates how it makes it feel and I struggle to remember the exercises. Frankly, I just want to go to the loo in the middle of the class and simply not come back. But I made compromises on how much I do in class so that my body is warmed enough for R&D in the afternoon. Despite how challenging the exercises were, I pushed on. Laughing in class helped too (Laughing out loud is not recommended but in my head there were definitely a circus going on).
Seeing others’ work in progress can be inspiring and encouraging, but for me sometimes it can lead to self-doubt. Maybe I need to build a narrative too, maybe I should put in a few tricks, maybe I should make something funny….blah blah blah. All the maybes and what ifs kicks in so quickly, to say that my idea is not enough, that I need to be entertaining, meet the criteria (whatever that is). Self-doubt was messing with me, so at one point I decided to treat it as a friend rather than my enemy. Whenever the voice on my shoulder make comments or suggestions, I would stop and question. Do they have a point? Would adding in that one trick make my solo better? Does it fit the intention for my exploration? That little voice can make great suggestions at times, identifying these doubts and categories them into suggestions, comments and lies really helped me move things on rather that getting frustrated.
But above all the lessons that I have learned this autumn, this, is the most significant of them all.
MAKING A SOLO IS DEFINITELY NOT A SOLO PROCESS.
Creating and developing something alone in studio can be so uninspiring and intimidating at times. But there’s something special about this process when people support each other rather than compete with one another. Friends. Friends who are supportive and encouraging when self-doubt kicks in, but are also honest enough to tell when something is not quite right. Friends who would share their studio slots so that you can all help each other out. Friends who would listen to your creating process rant and bring snacks to fuel your unproductive hours. Friends who would be proud of you (You know who you are, thank you, y’all are awesome).
For the past four weeks, I saw some of my peers struggle and getting frustrated, but having breakthroughs, witnessing them performing wonderful works that moved me is truly humbling. Thank you, for all of your generosity, to share a part of you, with us. Thank you.
I guess I’ve learned something. Yes I have.
Photo: Amber Bosteels