Photo Credit: Phil Wayes

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Comp Class Conundrum

After my old friend Becca over at I Just Want To Be Real posted about the frustration of dance composition classes, I decided I wanted to share my thoughts on this.
Dance Comp is a class that forces a person to create specific work, which defeats the purpose of creating art-- one can't force creativity. Can you truly speak from the soul when there's a rubric attached? I don't think anyone has been able to lay their magnum opus when they're trying to make sure they meet the specific criteria of a graded assignment.
So fear not, students of dance, because comp class is overrated (in my humble opinion, anyway). You will find your voice, but it won't be
in the form of a homework assignment.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I don't know anything about your class, so I can't weigh in on its value directly, but it might help to look at the purpose of the class differently.

If I were teaching such a class, my goal wouldn't be to have the students produce their magnum opus, but to give them the tools that will allow them to do so later in their careers. Specifically, I'd want to give them:

a- a structure for thinking about composition and for communicating with other choreographers

b- experience in developing a piece from idea to finished product

c- tools that they can use to break out of their accustomed ways of thinking

Creativity isn't something that can be forced, but it is something that can be nurtured. I suspect (again with no information about your class) that the purpose of your homework is to give you the skills to nurture it, so you won't suffer from creative blocks quite so much.

Every single "advice to aspiring writers" I've ever heard has stressed the need to write something every day. Most of them also recommend giving yourself little assignments, ideally *not* related to any pieces you're working on. The idea is that, since you can't make inspiration come to you, you should take yourself to unaccustomed places, you have a better chance of running into it.

Exploration is important to the creative process. Finding out who you are NOT is just as important as finding out who you are. And being forced out of your comfort zone will help you do that.