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Genuinely Creative

The Need For Training In The Arts


During the five years I labored as a dancer (and waited on a lot of tables), an audition for Pilobolus appeared in Backstage.

For those of you of the proverbial certain age, Back Stage was an actual print publication which listed auditions. Pilobolus, a brilliant modern dance company, was and is a personal fave of mine in the much-maligned world of modern dance.

By confession, I do quite a lot of maligning. I find the craft to be tiresome, self-indulgent, and ennui-inducing.

So, why Pilobolus?

Because they were FUNNY, entertaining, and well trained.

Emphasis on the well-trained.

If the artist inside wishes to make something truly creative, there must be training and fundamentally so. The issues I have with modern dance (and avante-garde filmmaking, and self-published writing, and any endeavor in the creative fields) is a lack of appreciation for the core strength and technique afforded the dancer through years of rigorous and painful exercise. The same applies to writers who ignore editors, don't take workshops, and refuse to share their writing.

Some do. Most do not.

With regards to another art form, some filmmakers will be set P.A.s for years and slowly move up, obtaining additional basic instruction as they make their way towards directing, or producing, or cinematography, or editorial. Along that path of patience and drive is all someone needs to know to achieve a dream and make something of quality.

I can vouch for this difficulty and appreciation (and patience) in the fields of dance and film production. Work, failure, success, accomplishment, defeat, victory. They were all part of both careers.

When I launched myself into writing, the same rules applied. I look at early drafts of my two publishing successes, TIME Blinked and DracuLAND, and am shocked at the amateurish quality.

However, as John Cleese says in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "I got bettah."

Do not eschew fundamental training in any art form. Paint, if you are a painter, but understand human anatomy, perspective, and color palettes. Write, if you are a writer, but keep the style guide nearby; attend workshops; and hire beta readers and editors.

Most important.

Dance if you are a dancer.

But go to ballet class. Without it, you aren't dancing.

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