I started out with the intention of writing some thoughts about my perspective on what tradition and classical form means to me, as these are topics I talk about a lot in my teaching. However, as those who know me would probably expect, it has turned into much much more. So, I am going to start at the beginning and do this in parts and just see where it goes, and yes, I will get to the part on classical form and tradition…eventually.
I first have to start with the artist and what that means to me so that when I use the word artist in this post and future posts, it is somewhat clear as to what I am expressing in my use of that word.
Artist = Human Being. Every human being is born an artist. To create is the essence of our beings, our soul, our spirit. Whether or not we honor that, develop it, or commit to that path is another story, but we are all born with it. It is the beginning of us all.
To live as an artist is to be committed to seeking out and listening to our higher self, our truth, and then living that truth unapologetically, in all the little things every minute of every day, without needing to be validated, or right, or better than anyone else. Acknowledging and honoring fear, and then waving at it and wishing it well as we stroll past it in pursuit of love, light and truth. Every human is capable of this, but it is a choice. You do not have to paint or dance or make music to be an artist. An artist comes in every form imaginable and can exist in our everyday lives. The way we prepare a meal, take care of our loved ones, or make eye contact and smile at a stranger, or the way we treat the earth and animals.
The universal and most common answer when you ask a dancer, especially a student, why they dance is, “to express myself”, and my question to that is but why?…What service are you offering by expressing yourself? because after all…when you choose to journey the path of the artist, you choose a life of service. As a committed artist, it is not only our responsibility to seek and express our truth, but it is also our mission to understand and relate to the truth of our fellow beings, and the conditions and environments that we all live in and create. There is a distinct difference between being heard and being understood. Being heard tends to be one-sided, while being understood is an ongoing exploration and collaboration. I will give this example; Let’s say you are devoted and passionate about a cause and you wish to fight for that cause. One of the first things we will often do is express our anger or outrage about something we feel is unjust, but if our wish is truly to make a change to or impact the cause, then we have to think about this question; Does this expression of my emotions or thoughts alone actually create the change or connection I seek, or is this expression only seen, heard and understood by those who feel or have experienced the same as I have? If we are only having conversations with likeminded people that share our view, then are we actually contributing to the change we desire? Yes, the emotion needs to be expressed fully, but then it has to be transformed, it has to evolve. There has to be hope with it. We cannot just express anger and then hold onto it, we have to release it and let go of it if we wish it to transform into understanding, change an