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Balancing Inspiration

Most forms of enternainment can serve as inspiration for getting your own creative juices going. But the abundance of options and the volume of material that can be consumed might become a source of further procrastination.

If you are diving into movies, books, videogames or music for inspiration you should know that these different types of input effect you thinking in different ways.

Television or cinema (everything that is moving image) give you a very clear image of what is happening. There is very little left to imagination. You might be engaged emotionally but most of the time your brain is not really motivated to work because it is getting everything served. It is dumbing you down, especially when you apply the repeated patterns that are imprinted deep into television productions.

Video games are very similar with the difference that they require you to actively engage.

Music and reading are not as clear about the things they say and you make up a good portion of what might be happening on your own. When two people read a character description in a book, they still envision the character differently. The same goes with music. While we hear the same sound, it triggers different emotional responses in everyone of us.

There is nothing bad in turning on the tv or going to the cinema. But in order to keep your mind active I highly recommend that you grab a book or listen to music more often than you switch on tv.

Have a good night everyone.

The Sacred Place

At the moment I am reading “die empty” from author Todd Henry. It is a book about doing your work as good and as commited as possible, so that you “empty yourself from everything you can give”. This idea of not saving anything for later cultivates an urgency to look for new stuff every day, thus challenging you to reach for stuff outside the status quo often.

The author mentions the concept of the sacred place. He advocates that everyone needs to find that place where he can do the work that he really cares about. Not the work that is urgent because it brings the food to the table, but the one that is important because it feeds the souls and follows the path that you envision for yourself. The sacred place shall be a place that is not to be used for stuff that is not important, otherwise is loses it’s inspirational impact.

As a lot of us can’t have an extra room in their flat or rent something for that purpose I suggest using the sacred place as a metaphor. Create a sacred space within your possibilities. You can always install a real one later. For a dancer this might be the practise room of his crew or a writer might have his favorite table in the cafe around the corner. Be creative as this must suite you and nobody else.

My personal “sacred place” at the moment of this writing is the 90 minutes at the end of the day from 22:30 to 00:00. My wife and my daughter are already asleep and I find the time to write. It does not matter if I write for one of my blogs, a screenplay or a poem. The thing is I have time to create without having to think about anything else.

That is the purpose of your sacred space. Whenever you are there, it is about creating. Try it. Here are the rules:

I) find a place or a time frame that gives you the possibility to disconnect from everything that might distract you from doing your creative work

II) use this to do your important work every day

III) focus only on doing the work

IV) don’t bring anything else to the sacred place

I am doing this sacred place practise for only 37 days now. But I did not miss one. It is like medidation. Helps you calming down an focusing your awareness on the things you want to accomplish. It might not be for everyone, but it works for me. And it might work for you. There is no loss in trying.

Marketing vs. Good Work

If you do good work, they will come.

A lot of good people live by that belief. But in my own experience and within of the range of research I did for an upcoming project, it looks like this is not true.

I guess most of us have that friend that is creating either great music, having awesome business concepts or doing some other part of great work for the sole purpose of creating. We have been told, that putting out good work will make the audience come and find you. This might have been true back in the days. Today good work is everywhere because technology helps people creating and so many people can do great work now that was not possible without computers and stuff.

But due to this fact there is a total overload of information and there is a very small chance that people who are looking for what you do, find you without you putting in the work into the marketing side of things too.

Promoting your art and selling it is not bad. There is no selling out if you stay true to your craft and vision. Selling out is doing whatever works in order to get the money.

So the question is not if you should focus on doing good work or marketing. In order to be successfull with your art, you need both.

In order for our work to have an impact, it must first have an audience.

The basic questions to ask every Move

This post is a follow up to last weeks introduction article about dance concepts. I introduced the following key-principle.

You should understand every move as an abstract set of instructions that can be applied in different ways.

Yo, right. But what do I do with that information?

When you see every movement you learn in this way, there are certain basic things that you can alter. This gives you a lot of possibilities how to apply this move in different ways.

I’d like to call this basic things that we can alter “the basic questions that we ask every move”. Of course this is only a metaphor as we do not really ask, but I love the dance = language metaphor and will entertain it a lot in the following posts. So it is better to get used to it.

Let’s get to the questions:

The question of direction. How does it look when presented from different angles. This includes choosing different orientation in the space as well as rotating during the move.

The question of speed. What happens when you execute it faster or slower. Every move has a certain speed imprinted to it, that is set by it’s traditional connection to the music. But often a change to this brings really interesting results.

The question of energy. How does a move change when I reduce or increase the amount of energy used. Energy is not always directly related to speed. You can do every movement with a different intention and amount of force. This changes the movement itself.

The question of size. Size does matter in dance. There is a big difference if you reach out in the space as big as possible or try to keep the movement small.

The question of rhythm. How does a change in rhythm change the movement? Like with speed, most moves come with a basic rhythm attached to it. This is usually the rhythm the moves are taught with. But this does not mean that it is the only way to do it. Change the rhythmic phrasing of the move and get some interesting variations for free.

By exploring all the possibilities above you create a whole world of moves from within one movement.

Dance Concepts on FraGue’s Blog

As I am still working on my book about dance concepts I will start to put some of the content online to test how it resonates with readers and to get some additional feedback. If you have suggestions or something is not easy to understand, let me know in the comments or send me an email.

For today I give a little introduction about what dance concepts do in my opinion and why you should learn to work with them.

A dance concept gives you the freedom to explore the music and movement without thinking to much about technique or moves.

It gives you direction about the creation of your dance or creation of your moves. This can happen in the moment you dance = freestyle or beforehand in a planned manner = choreography. Almost all the concepts that I know can be applied in both ways.

The first concept that I will introduce today is very easy to explain but gives you a ton of opportunities to work with. Acutally it is the root of all the basic concepts I will introduce further down the road.

You should understand every new move you learn as an abstract set of instructions that can be applied in many different ways.

Sounds fancy but it is not that complex. Instead of learning a new movement and think of it as set in stone you should look deeper into what it does and apply the idea of it, instead the move itself.

For Example: in breaking we have a step that is called the salsa step. It goes by different names in different places but salsa step is the most common one. Instead of thinking Kick – Step – Side – Back : Repeat, you should think: one kick and three steps, then repeat. Now you have a easy set of instructions that you can apply. You are free in directions, rhythm and size. In this way the salsa step alone gives you endless possibilities to create.

Elsewhere screening in India

The guys at Aug& Ohr are doing an awesome job. Yesterday night the first email came in, telling us that Elsewhere will be screened at a festival in India around christmas. 🙂

Tight Eyez vs Junior or Krump vs Breaking

Usually I do not comment on battles and recent stuff but at the moment the Tight Eyez vs Junior thing is getting a little bit out of control because a lot of people miss the context of what happened. Everybody who does not know what I am talking about can check the video here.

The thing is: the discussion is evolving into some krunping vs breaking thing. But the truth is – this is not about dance styles. Dance styles do not disrespect each other. People do. This is not even about the battle and who won. This is about one guys missjudgement of what he can do or can not do.

There only two reasons why one would make this a matter of dancestyle. Either one is stupid and does not understand that this is not about dance or there is an agenda to create extra fuzz around it.

Both reasons are not to be supported. So be clear on what we talk about: Respect and disrespect between people, not dancestyles. Don’t make a war from this, that should not there. That is happening enough in real politics, we don’t need this shit in dance.

Working together in flexible structures as strategy in niche markets

When active in a nice market people tend to avoid working with other people in the same niche. One is afraid of losing possible customers to the others.

In most cases it is much better to do the opposite and connect with as many active people in your field as possible.

I use an example from our austrian hip hop scene to show why:

There is a loose group of dancers that are responsible for doing a ton of projects, despite the fact that they are not in the same crew. Under different leadership they are doing event management, theater productions, movies, commercial shows, fashion labels and music production. The advantage is that everyone has an experienced workforce and at the same time more work during the year. All of this would not be happening if we avoided each other.

Artists Social Insurance Fund

Today I sent in the last papers for my application to the austrian artists social insurance fund. It pays a part of your social insurance if your work is considered art.

Before 2016 the rules were pretty strict and it was very hard to get accepted. In the beginning of 2016 the rules have been renewed so that you can also apply with work that is teaching art and promoting art.

Therefore I highly encourage you to check if you are within in the rules that qualify you to receive funding from there. The KSVF supports freelance artists that live and work in Austria.

More Info on the Homepage of the KSVF (in german language).