When I started DanceBody I knew two things right away: 1. It wasn’t going to be easy and 2. I sure as hell didn’t want to do it alone! So, I made it my mission to surround myself with talented people who would be able to create with me.
My promise to churning out eight to 10 new dances every three months is a long term commitment to my clients that are ready to consume fresh content. And in order to make good on that promise, that means one thing: creativity.
Through the years, this process has become better and better; however, creativity still doesn’t come with an “on/off” switch. It can’t always be summoned on demand, but I’ve learned that creativity can happen on a deadline, or anytime. If you work in the creative field, it’s one thing to work solo and another to work in a group. Both have their pros and cons, but I will choose working in a team every time (when I’m alone in a studio, it usually ends up with anxiety and tears!).
Here are the 3 ways I’ve learned to boost creativity -- no matter what your profession is.
Source Inspiration Solo
The obvious inspiration for my line of work is music, so when my favorite musical artists aren’t putting out fresh tunes, sh*t get’s real. It takes some serious effort. But I know I’m not alone— everyone scrapes the bottom of the barrel for inspiration at times.
I’ve now learned to input inspiration from multiple sources, other than just music, such as traveling to a new place, watching a documentary, going for a walk, talking to friends, even meditating in the shower! When I need an “inspo boost”, I put myself in a new space outside my everyday routine. It usually works like a charm, because studies have shown that when you relax your mind, or put yourself in a new environment you feel refreshed and recharged with new ideas.
“...restful activities were often vigorous and mentally engaging but they experienced them as restorative because they offered a complete break from their normal working lives,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang on his book ‘Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’
When I’m feeling creative, I can come in strongly energized for my team, instead of being a negative drain on the process— you gotta make sure that personal battery is charged and ready to go!
Know Your Role
I’ve always believed that more heads are better than one, and I get to work with some of the best heads in the biz. I have a fantastic team, thanks to Courtnay, my COO and co-founder, Natalie, Director of Training, and Emily, Programming and Training Coordinator. When we’re in the dance lab together creating choreography, all cylinders are firing. It’s hard work and comes with its fair share of frustration. Then there’s all the good stuff— the laughter and unique bond— that only happens from truly being dedicated to the same goal, for hours on end!
When we face an incredible creative task in front of us, we all take our respective roles to get it done:
- I am the dreamer - I see visions of ideas that might work and new movements or feelings I want to pursue.
- Courtnay is the task master - she means business in that studio and has a clear intention on what needs to get done.
- Natalie functions as our mediator - she does a great job balancing the scales between Courtnay and I, indulging us both at different times.
- Emily is the tether to the rest of our incredible team of trainers taking notes and making sure we're organized.
Everyone comes in with thoughts on music and movement, but when it’s “go time” these are the roles we fill to get to our destination. When you're in a similar situation you can boost creativity in the same way: engage the right people.
Don’t Break The Cypher… or Do.
We say this phrase when we are creating choreography constantly. When we are in a good flow, we discourage each other from breaking that circle of energy: no checking emails or Instagram or taking calls! We stay in that studio and ride the wave, even if it’s taking a long time to catch it--half the magic comes from simply being in the same room together and waiting it out. It’s cool because sometimes a creative boost hits us all at the same time, and we start doing the same thing - spooky!!
We also have to know when to call it a day. Because we always know when our quarter launch deadline is, we try to start our choreography sessions well in advance to avoid falling short of our goal. This affords us the ability to let some days simply be what they are - uninspiring. Sometimes you can just feel that the energy isn’t right and we won’t be creating a damn thing. But on those days when we are forced to work through it to turn out the product - something is better than nothing. … and then we vow to do better the next time around!
Creativity isn’t always sexy. It can be time consuming, frustrating, and downright painful. But what I have learned is that when you’re working towards a common goal you have others around to pick you up and when you’re down. They’ll tell you to “Keep Moving.”
It’s my love of dancing and the DanceBody community that keeps me going and constantly boosts my creativity (and mood). The next time you need a little help with creativity, try these tips and hopefully you’ll be on your way to creating something epic.