One of the expectations of me as a dance student is to create dance works or make up dance moves but I must confess, in dance, I am better as an interpreter than a creator. (I could give reasons/excuses for this but do I want to? Nah. Screw excuses.)
While I probably can’t live up the expectation of having a natural flair for being “creative”, I surely hope it does not mean that I am not creative at all. (Just like how I worked hard to be a good interpretive dancer, be flexible, be independent and any other things in life.)
That is what I told Dr Jenny Willis who is conducting a research on “Being A Creative Professional”. The report won’t be published until summer this year but I already can’t wait to see the findings of the research. It is of course exciting to see how I have given input to the research, and I guess it will be even lovelier to see how my hair behaved when a second interview was being filmed on my bad hair day! 😉
In the interviews, I reflected on my experiences since I came to England – study, living, working and traveling – and even I was surprise by how I could relate all my experiences back to being creative. For me, creativity is less about creating something new. If I must say something that make me sound a bit intelligent, I’ll chuck in the word “postmodernism”, and what I learnt about it is that in a postmodern era, nothing is new, nothing is original.
At this stage of my life, I want to be creative in two things: in my life-planning, and in problem-solving. We all know about creativity in problem solving, so I’ll skip that and focus on life-planning, because this is where I am at this point in my life now.
Graduating is indeed scary. I am a 22-year old Malaysian and I study dance, a professional field that do not offer security of any kind. My family encourages me to live a life that makes me happy (even if that means I do not go back to Malaysia) and I do not have a boyfriend (although being emotionally tied to one is another story). I do not want to further my studies, but I do not seem to want a stable life either. What do I want to do to myself? (What can I do to myself?)
I aspire to help artists achieve their artistic aspirations, so I chose a career in arts management. But what does that mean? Will I be fundraising? Will I be a promoter? Will I be a…? I can’t tell exactly because there is no “typical route” into the industry. And I love it, because I get to choose how to go about living my life as an arts administrator (and eventually a manager, hopefully). I had been applying for jobs in the past few days. Of course I have fondness for all the jobs I applied but there is one that I especially look forward to – as a project assistant for a small dance company. Working for a small company that works on production-basis meant that I dip my hands into all sorts, just how I like myself to be. It is a freelance job, though not essential to me, becomes a bonus because I get time to do other things too. Other things being:
- Working in Starbucks – for some reason it appeals to me
- Helping a dancer friend from Taiwan on… whatever she wants to do!
- Work for other small dance companies / independent artists!
- Reading up books about Arts and cultural policy and economics and …
- How about dance photography?
- Starting up a freelance business? Wow I would love to venture in that!
At the back of my mind, I expect myself to live a slightly different life from my friends. I see myself as world citizen, or a nomad, who is independent, optimistic and brave in some ways. I can go anywhere and want myself to live through whatever comes to me… and I take cue from – and greatly, greatly inspired by – Colin Wright, Untemplater.com and JetSetCitizen.com. Alright, Colin does intimidate me because he had been so brilliant ever since he was 18 years old or something like that. I am already 22 years old and nowhere near what he did when he was 22. But it is not too late, I guess, and I have my own way. Heck, I’m from Malaysia and I have mwag (Malaysian swag) you know! 🙂
So, being creative is not just about creating something. It is a complete set of characteristics, mentality and skills that help me to live a life. Being optimistic. Knowing the limits. Having the ability to let go. Stay strong but flexible (whoa, just like ballerinas!). Sense of urgency.