21 Sep

Wayne McGregor: A choreographer’s creative process in real time

The title of this TED Talk really caught my eye.

It’s different, it’s new, I have no idea what to expect.  More interesting, is that it is involving a series of actions and concepts that is not only rarely used in TED but rarely used by the average person.

Anyone can talk about logic, anyone can talk about advancements in science and anyone can quote another person’s work.  Dance, choreography, is a different process.  It’s that process we had used, when were kids that played but for most people this is something that fades away over time.

The Ted Talk can be found here:

Date Filmed: September 2012

Length: 15 minutes, 18 seconds

Total Views so far: 105,968

One Sentence Summary: “Three creative processes of choreography applied to TED.”

I think this entire TED Talk had caught me off guard.

The very first aspect was that McGregor takes something very real, very literal, the T from TED and places it into a dance.

It’s a bit of a game of telephone, except McGregor doesn’t begin by citing a phrase or a series of words.  It’s about the perception and attention level of his performers that really come into play.

A few years ago there was a documentary on Circe du Soleil, the world famous circus.  It showed the needed dedication, the pain and the great amount of practice required to put on a world class show.

A phrase from it that stands out to me now is that the performers all have a very deep connection and awareness of their bodies.

The two dancers, Paolo and Catarina are astounding in this regard.  It is readily apparent that both have worked with McGregor before as they take quite naturally to the methods that he is using.

Due to the fact that physical thinking is new to me, I’ll try to summarize each method.

Creativity -> Interpreted -> Memorized -> Reflected

Lines of movement, body shapes and their expression.

Personal creativity via a mental picture

It’s rather interesting that McGregor mentions that it’s a distributive cognitive theory, that discovering a creative process via the ‘mind hive’ is an interesting description.  Usually, the idea of collaborative process is one that reduces the creative elements and instead focuses on the precision moments that make it more able to reproduced by the whole.

In other words, working in a group is usually used for tweaking a system, to perfect a device, not to create something.  This is usually due to the inability to contain the many different directions that so many minds can create.  In other words, the creativity becomes so great that it falls off the rails and goes in a direction that collaboration was never meant to go.

Not so with dance!  Or as I realize just now, interpretive dance  It certainly leads credence to the idea that dancing is a full time pursuit.  It is significantly more easier to express one’s emotions through physical movement if a person is well acquainted with ‘moving’.  Doing so only once a week would bring about a different result.

I was almost shocked when McGregor first ‘moved’ on stage, even though he introduced himself as a choreographer, I wasn’t expecting him to be so quick on stage.

This entire process is very visually pleasing.  I wonder why the creative process of dancing is so often characterized as something entirely different in film.

Of course, methods and mindsets evolve constantly. This could be a very modern methodology to choreography.

Is it just me, or does McGregor also mimic a reasonably acceptable metronome/beatbox/ska performance?  It works for the presentation at hand that is enough, and no doubt, in the dance hall.

Although this TED Talk doesn’t really mobilize me to want to dance, it does make me appreciate it a bit more.  I’ll have to remember to check out another dance performance sometime.

On the other hand, it does inspire me to do something that McGregor says repeatedly.

Misbehave.  Beautifully.


-Updated every Friday

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized



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