Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dancer Pep-talk For The Economic Downturn

"Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?"

To me, my students, anyone else who needs it (this has been building up for a while now from conversations with students, colleagues, friends in other fields, literature...): Take a look at ALL the fields of research and development around you.  Just open your eyes.  They have all been suffering in the same way for a while now for many reasons.  Yes, it's in the way we've structured our government, current business models, entertainment models, educational models, etc.  They all have a part to play.  The real point is that if you're an artist and you feel like your field of art is suffering, you're in good and plentiful company.

If you're getting worn out, don't feel like you've sold out if you have to support your art by getting a job unrelated or less-related to your field.  Don't.  That's an order.  From me.  You're just doing what you have to do to provide the basic needs for yourself.  You can't expect yourself to create art if food, shelter and your basic necessities aren't provided for.  Just consider it nesting for the next economic bloom.

Yes, you could run away to a co-op and create beautiful art while defaulting on your student loans, but you'd be leaving your spouse/partner/family/children/etc. behind and that's just not something that fits your life, like ever.  Plus, you've been building up much needed social capital in your current community and that's not something to throw away.  Take it from me (4 states in 5 years), your social capital is the only way you'll get into that special little group that's doing whatever project that just happens to fit you to a "t".  They have enough friends right now, thank-you-very-much.

All of your expectations were created or created for you by someone who developed them in an economic wonderland.  It's time to cut yourself a little slack and realize that you're in a new reality.  When you see people succeeding around you, just ask them when they got into their job and how.  You'll likely find a trail (hire date, personal connection, internship, promotion from a lower position gained prior to...) that leads back to before the economic bust.  

This is a time that affords us less materials, less studio time, less... But it's also a time to squirrel away ideas, musings, create what we can, create when we must, and discard the ideas that are irrelevant for our current state of being, create new ideas, and above all, just keep at it.  And give yourself class in your living room even if the neighbor thinks you've lost it.