I have the amazing opportunity to meet & collaborate with people from across different areas of work, skill sets, and perspectives. Each time I hear about someone's work and passion, I'm inspired at how seemingly unconnected areas of work have strongly connected themes.
I asked my dear friend Dani Trudeau who is the Founding Director of Tribe Porty to reflect upon her space and I love how she has applied her lessons from dance to how she has choreographed Tribe. Created last year, Tribe Porty is a community coworking and creative events hub with a growing following of artists, freelancers, and those wonderful undefinable folks (you know who you are). You can read more more about Tribe and the inspiring work that Dani is doing at www.tribeporty.org.
At North Carolina School of the Arts, my least favourite class as a modern dancer major was choreography. I had trained in ballet for far longer than contemporary dance and was used to be told what to do- no improvisation allowed and perfection was the aim.
When we were asked to create new movements as well as put them into new choreography, I was lost. The most I could imagine was replicating some modern choreography that I learned at Alvin Ailey one summer into almost all of any new choreography I was asked to design. It was hugely frustrating to be asked to do something without being given the tools to learn how to. I didn’t know that the key to choreography was drawing from what made me uniquely me, or movements which were created from feelings, thoughts and visual inspirations which came from my own experiences.
Recently I have been challenged a bit by some of the complexities which communities quite often have and Jo said to me, ‘Tribe is your art’.
This made a few things fall into place for me. Designing the space and enjoying being creative with the look and feel of Tribe was easy. What is hard is bringing the community with me yet stay true to my art. At times, I questioned my own wants for Tribe being the same as the people who use Tribe.
I have decided to view it more like a choreographer.
How can I make the most of the stage, the dancers, the set and the audience? What does each dancer bring to the overall performance and how can I make my own vision for the piece be realised?
This perspective feels great and makes much more sense to me and the desire to continually develop Tribe Porty. Each member is so talented and brings their own gifts to the stage.
My role is to try and make sure each one feels part of the dance, at times as a principal dancer, at times part of the corps. Together we can make amazing art and there are endless dances to be choreographed. Keeping in mind, that some dances are better than others and a fair amount of improvisation is required!
Approaching Tribe Porty this way also allows me to carefully craft and indulge my creativity, for the love of my art. Saying that, I could apply that analogy to many things in life; how can apply my strengths into situations which turn challenges into opportunities for growth and creativity.