More thoughts on “discomfort”

Sometimes I don’t articulate myself well… that happens to all of us.  What I mean isn’t always what I say, so here’s an attempt to elaborate on what I meant in the last post…

1) There is a difference between what I mean by “discomfort” and “routine”.  Creative people must have routine.  Every morning Twyla Tharp gets up at the crack of dawn to go work out.  That’s her routine.  But, on those cold New York mornings where the bed is more appealing than lifting weights, I can assure you that going to work out is not “comfortable”.  That is Twyla’s discomfort.  I,too, have my routines.  I go to class at the same times every week at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance, but I can assure you that being in class is not a physically comfortable experience.  As artists we must regularly show up at the page or the studio, but what we create or how we practice isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience.  Sitting at home in my cozy robe on the couch with a cat on my lap is way more comfortable, but that’s not going to be at all conducive to my art as a dancer.

2) The 8-5. Here I mostly mean contemporary cubicle life, and, yes, this does work for some people.  I would say that this is one of the ways in which they are not comfortable.  It was mine for a long time.  Sometimes we need that in order to kickstart us into our true calling.

3) Where we make art must be nurturing, safe, and, yes, comfortable.  The studio is a place where we should feel free to make things without criticism, even self-criticism.  We must have the right tools and guidance available to us so that we can make art to its greatest potential.  But in order to find inspiration and new creative material, we can’t stay in the safety of our studio.

4) Hardship often does make great art, but we must revel in the beauty of the world, even when our times are tough.  Inspiration is everywhere, but you’ll never see if if you stay comfortable all the time.


Does that make more sense?


Comments: 3

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the Art of War, a book I read recently, totally changed my life. I realized I needed to apply routine to my dancing. And I have. Showing up every day is mandatory. With all this I totally agree. These are wise life changing words you are speaking.

All I can really do is relate what I have found in my personal practice, and I must say that I have found creation to come from me in a different way(than pain and suffering)…

My personal experience with creation is that most of my most personally rewarding costumes, choreography, shows, have all come from a place of joy, happiness, growth and vibrantly energetic sleepless times where I am flowing with kinetic energy every second. These times usually happen after I have fought through major resistance, a bit of frustration, and laziness…but I have never really experienced any emotional suffering.

Again, just my personal experiences.

thank you for being brave and putting yourself out there so much. heavy stuff to think about. good questions.




When I saw “discomfort” I immediately thought of floor work and in particular how my feet hurt so much when I do a layback (not sure if that’s the right term). I’m guessing if I keep practicing that very strong discomfort will eventually become bearable. Thoughts?




Thanks for your words! It’s a great help:)



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