I’ve been re-reading parts of Agnes DeMille’s memoir Dance To The Piper (which I highly recommend if you want to get an inside peek at historical moments in dance history, plus feel inspired by one choreographer’s persistence, passion, and dedication to dance with a sense of humor and humility.)
There’s a scene where Agnes goes to visit Martha Graham, along with Martha’s friend, mentor, composer, and fellow choreographer Louis Horst.
Martha is in a huff because she feels her latest work is not good enough. After she rehearsed her dancers for hours upon hours, changing and re-creating entire scenes right up until showtime, she is having a breakdown. (Apparently this happened with every show she did.)
“The winter is lost. The whole winter’s work is lost. I’ve destroyed my year. This work is no good,” Martha says.
After some back and forth, Louis says to her:
“One cannot always create on the same level. The Sixth Symphony followed the Fifth, but without the Sixth we could not have had the Seventh.... One cannot know what one is leading into. Transitions are as important as achievements.”
Ah, the transitions.
Can we remember that life really is a series of transitions strung together by occasional pinnacle moments?
Can we remember that not everything we create will be a masterpiece, but that we need to keep creating anyway?
Can we remember that through the challenges, the stretching, the painfully long, the piercingly tough transitions, we are not alone?
If we can remember, we can find peace.
We can connect and collaborate with our fellow artists and humans, to create more presence and love in this world.
We can muster up the courage to keep creating and expressing what’s inside, in the face of whatever we are transitioning from, through, or into. For what else are we supposed to do in this life?
Don’t let the critical voices in your head shut down your creative flow. And if those voices do show up, keep going anyway. Just like Martha did.
In the crazy state that our world is in, we need creativity, self-expression, and healing more than ever.
Do your thing. Make your stuff. Dance your dance. And share it.
I’d love to hear from you on this -
What kind of transitions are you in or creating right now?
When in life did you think something you created wasn’t good enough, and what happened after?
Please share in the comments below and help us all feel less alone.
to creating through transitions,