Tuesday, March 27, 2018

No one can teach you how to write about dance

Eva Yaa Asantewaa
(photo: Axel Jenson)

No One Can Teach You 

How to Write About Dance

by Eva Yaa Asantewaa

...at least, not in any conventional way. Because...yawn.

But consider some tips:

  • Fall in love. With dance. With writing. No one can tell you how to do this. It either happens, or it doesn’t.
  • Care about others--people beyond yourself, people beyond your immediate circle, people (for now) beyond dance. Want the best for them. Want to share what has worked for you. What has meaning for you.
  • In your writing, share your process. Your engagement, curiosity, questions, excitement, discoveries.
  • Leave theoryspeak to the academics, please. Write for the rest of us.
  • Figure out how best to communicate. What might readers want and need to hear about? What might they already know? 
  • Witness dance with your own body. Pay close attention. What are you feeling?
  • Admit to yourself (and, possibly, your readers) when you feel disconnected from a performance. There’s important information in that experience. Figuring out what’s going on--with you, with the dance--will help you find a useful way to write about it.
  • You might benefit from avoiding people who immediately level judgment. After a performance, give yourself privacy and time to process your own experiences.
  • Follow your impulse. Let something irresistible pull you into the writing and keep you there. Learn to sense when there is more in the works, and learn to recognize an internal signal that tells you a piece is finished.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Grow a self, if you have to, and invest in it. Spend major time on this.
  • You are not a blank slate. Being open to an experience is more important than so-called “objectivity.” You are most confident in your openness when you are confident in who you are. Bring your true, full self to your encounter with dance, and be honest about that as you write about it. Use that.
  • Don’t try to write like your friends or anyone. But do examine how they do what they do. What tools and strategies work for the writer you’re studying? What does not work? Learn from all of this while honoring your own voice, style and inclinations. Take those lessons, and then do things your own way.
  • Learn to be your own best editor. Learn to relish the task of self-editing, the opportunity to sharpen your self-expression and tell your story or make your argument in the most engaging, most convincing way.
  • Read your writing out loud to yourself (or to a friend or colleague). Your ears will quickly pick up any problems and also identify what you’re doing well.
  • Take a keen interest in your world. Dance (and your particular niche in dance) is not the entirety of it.
  • Three words: Learn. From. Artists.
  • Two words: Respect. Artists.
  • One word: Gratitude

©2018, Eva Yaa Asantewaa -- InfiniteBody

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