Stop slumping!

I have a confession to make.  I’m stuck in an artistic slump.  It’s been a long while since I’ve found a song that has really spoken, or rather yelled at me, to dance to it.  (Usually that’s what it feels like when I find a new song:  OMG DANCE TO ME NOW!!!!!)  I feel like I’ve been doing the same movements over and over again in my performances.  I’m… in a rut.

But, I’m not freaking out about it.  I used to fret that I hadn’t had a good, new idea in weeks, months.  So, why am I not too worried about it?

  • Ruts happen to everyone.  Even the most prolific artists have periods of their lives when the muse just isn’t speaking to them.  I trust that, as I have before, I will find my way out of the rut and be inspired again.
  • The Universe has a way of pulling you out of your rut.  Trust it.  I know that eventually that new song will come, or maybe I’ll talk to someone and it will spark a new idea and the muse will return.
  • I’m taking small measures to entice the muse back to me.  When I’m not feeling inspired in my dancing, I focus on other things.  I listen to music to which I’m not intending to dance.  I just listen and enjoy.  I’m not making new costuming.  I’m reading books that are unrelated to dance.  Creativity is the merging of two unrelated concepts or ideas, so, ideally, if I spend enough time not seeking the muse, she will return when she’s ready.
  • Worry and stress will only push away the muse.  I know that if I fret, I’ll just worry myself into a stifled, uncreative frenzy, and then I’ll really be stuck.
  • I’m still doing things I enjoy.  I am writing in my journals, collaging, saving images on the web that catch my eye, taking walks around my neighborhood, chatting about dance and art with my friends, watching movies with my husband, running simple errands (yes, I enjoy that), and teaching my classes and guiding my wonderful students.  I have not given up on joy.  My life is full of joy right now… and maybe the muse is just on an extended vacation.

So… when dancers ask me what I do when I’m feeling uninspired, stuck, or blah about my art, I tell them, “Just relax.  The muse will return when she’s ready.”  Trust that you’ll be inspired again.  Keep your eyes and ears and heart open for new ideas, music, costuming ideas, and dance movements.  Take time to enjoy the little things in life.

What do you do when you’re feeling stuck?

 

Comments: 6

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I’m a dance clothing designer, and sometimes, I have to check myself from constantly looking at the dance scene and look somewhere else. I know my brain have a particular way of making creative association when totally out the dance clothing topic. So I go elsewhere, and try something else for some days, and usually it come back very fast with brand new idea. I even get back to an old cinema job one evening a week, just to be able to change the role for a night and be somebody else. It totally work for me! I usually take note on scraps of paper the whole evening between movies, just looking at the crowd, my mind half on creation, half on the job. I also try to work on two project at the time, so if I get bored with one, I jump to the other. Forcing myself too much in a project is a sure way to kick out my muse far away.
Anyway, a interesting topic to share 😉 Thanks!

 

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I think its important to remenber that if you didn’t feel stuck or uninspired, you’d probably not appreciate the times when you feel really inspired and creative, after all… you have to have the “down” to experience the “up”, otherwise it would all just be … ok.. and not FANTASTIC!!:D
I try to think about that when I get stuck=)

 

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Whenever I’m in a rut with dance, I try to find something else I feel halfway decent at and do that. Gives a bit of an ego boost and is a great way to just let it out. I generally go sing when that happens. I’m not amazing but I’m not bad either. I also go dance when I feel like I’m singing crappy. Lol.

I think it also helps going and watching other people dance and not just within bellydance. Reminds you why the dance is so special to begin with.

 

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I do exactly what you are doing. Hit museums, take a non belly dance class, volunteer, take walks, breathe and relax.

 

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I usually take a break, as little as two to three days with no dancing,no dance music, and no dance obsessive thoughts..:) I find that when I get stuck it is because I am thinking about dance too much, and not dancing fully from my heart. When I step back it reminds me of what an organic dance this is, and how after practicing, and learning, it is time to let our hearts and bodies take over.

 

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When I get stuck, I either need to:
1- take a guilt-free break for a weekend or so
2- expose myself to something very different
3- watch some really good belly dancing purely as an audience member. No analysis, no idea-scavenging. Just enjoy it. Usually, #1 and #2 have to happen before I’m ready to do that. :)

 

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