Wednesday, 27 July 2016


Us mere mortals are forever in life trying to 'make the team'. As a kid on day one of primary school scanning the playground for a buddy, to being a twenty-something newbie at the local gym's spinning class, hoping a friendly face will look your way-we all want to be part of the gang! It's human nature to gravitate towards other like-minded individuals who you feel bring out the best in you. Those folks who just 'get you' and allow you to express yourself, experiment and explore without judgement. 

As a freelance dance artist & choreographer,  I'm often working & creating alone. Yeah, I may be teaching up to 250 people in just one day and meeting heaps of new folks every week but I'll be out there, most of the time, delivering sessions on my own with only my ideas, knowledge and experience in the mix. Of course the freedom is very liberating, with no one to question or quash your decisions but in the same light, when creativity grinds to a halt, you're left feeling like you've asked me, myself and I one too many times to expect to get any pearls of wisdom in reply! The light-bulb moments at times will dwindle, where you've spent the last hour staring a blank piece of paper hating every single idea that has floated to the surface of your muddy pond water of a brain. The struggle is real and sometimes you wish could just go fishing some place else! 

This is where collaborating with others saves the day. Teaming up with fellow Creatives will inspire and motivate you to beyond what you thought was possible. Their input can conjure up ideas and offer moments of clarity that would have never come to fruition on a solo mission. I can safely say that in every collaborative project I have worked on, there has always been that stroke of genius moment, a new lesson learned or validation of my work that I needed. That's not to say that plain sailing is guaranteed- too many cooks may not spoil the broth entirely but it sure can throw the odd spanner in the works along the way as creative differences become apparent. However, hurdles aside, the pros of working collaboratively arguably out way any potential pitfalls in my opinion. 

 Like a chain reaction, someone else's decisions or actions help you steer your own plans for a project, with that common interest in making something tick beautifully at the heart of everyone's agenda. A Director's specific vision for a scene in a production, a designer's urge to use a glitter ball or a choreographer's signature style is bound to assist your own creative process. Peering out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to the unknown feels a lot less scary when you're in the company of others who are willing to do the same. Venturing into a new project can be like the first day at university-it all seems a little less daunting when you take a mate along who is in the exact same boat as you are. When there's someone to say 'yes, that works!' Or 'yeah, me too!', the doubting Thomas in your head is less likely to be heard or adhered to! 

Recently I've had the privilege and pleasure of working more and more collaboratively which actually helped inspire the creation of this blog! I'm sure I'm not alone when I admit that I often feel the initial pang of inferiority when presented with the opportunity to team up with others. My self-doubts of 'not being good enough' or 'being found out as an imposter' are a given- it seems near impossible for me to approach any new venture (solo or collaborative) without a hint of self doubt and that's something I have come to expect but realise I can overcome. Being on a team is exciting and inspiring but it's blooming terrifying too! 'What if they don't like my ideas?' 'What if mine clash with theirs?'. These are quickly dashed when you get to work and discover that your counterparts are scarily similar to you- they too have their own self doubts and creative demons to deal with and they don't have all the answers that you thought they would! You soon realise you're in a gang of peeps just like you and all your strengths and weaknesses compliment and support each other's. Questions and answers are often met with considerable ease when there's more than one brain in the mix and you all provide a safety net for everyone to try stuff out without fear of failing miserably and having no where to go but down in to the black hole of 'No Ideas-ville'. 

Collaborating with others is a real highlight for me! It makes me feel that I'm not out there on my lonesome. That this freelance malarkey has achievable squad goals and I'm safe in the knowledge that I'll be saved from running out of inspiration, as long as I make an effort to team up with others to create things. You're bound to learn and grow with each new encounter and your own input will have undoubtedly inspired others! 

My advice to any Creative is to take a leap of faith when it comes to working with others. Don't go in there with pre-conceived ideas of how it will all go down. Be open to new things, be confident in your own abilities and ideas and be ready to be inspired by others. Like any self respecting superhero alliance, individually the members are pretty darn great but together....they are KICK-ASS GREAT! 

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