Thoughts onthe Importance ofVariety by LinneaHagler W
hat an idea;what awide range of thoughts to have and process,what an expanse to try and understand. Variety. Variance is something that dancers have and
hold quite dearly inmany of its forms.As
choreographers,who vary themes andmotifs to create awork.As
performers,who knowand study a number of roleswithin awork and different layers of their dancing.As
multiple bodies,who occupy a com- mon spacewithin the studio or upon the stage.Without a grasp of variety, dancers practically cannot be dancers.
Variety canmean a couple of things. It canmean diversity and a departure fromsameness. It can also be applied to art as the com- bination ofmany differences to create intricate patterns, a sort of balance that can only be achieved through diverging.
This is a topicwith a global range of applications. It’s awide cate- gory, a single broad brushstroke across the canvas of society’s con- versations today. It has somany names and faces. It can be some- thing awhole community discusses; and it can also be something that individuals strugglewith daily.As
a student, and in particular as a student of the arts, I feel both things hanging overmy head.
I feel that there’s this pressure in dance—andmaybe specifically on students of dance—to neverwalk the same paths that you have taken before, to never create any twoworks that are even a little bit redolent of each other. To drink fromamillion different creativewells, because that is justwhat you’re supposed to do.
Yet at the same time, dance is a communitywhose fickle tastes are always unerringly particular, devastatingly specific.How
ever muchwe press at boundaries, howevermany envelopeswe push, there are patterns that are fallen into regardless.And thenwhat seems to happen is that any kind of dance that doesn’t fit to these newtastes is somehowunworthy, somehowuninteresting, some- howunderdeveloped.
But howis it that a community so steeped in this idea of variety can dismiss so quickly things that don’t quite fit into its ever-shift- ing tastes?And if you happen to be the outlier in this situation, the onewho disagrees,what do you do?
This is a question thatmaybe only students encounter.Ma
ybe it’s due to a gap in our knowledge,maybe it’s scholastic ignorance or else just a youthfulnesswe haven’t yet lost. I don’t know. I don’t think I should, or anyone really should knowthe answer. I think thatmaybe a better place to start is realizing that if youwere truly the only onewith tastes at all like yours, howthenwould there be this piece of art that appeals to themmade by someone else? You can’t be alone in this, if that’swhere you start.
The idea of variety is too important for us to be chasing answers to questions, anyways; variety is something thatmust be inquired after in an open-ended, voraciousmanner.
Dance understands that variety in the studio is howwe keep our creative blood oxygenated, that newideasmust happen on that floor all the time, or elsewhat arewe even here for?Dance under- stands the fleeting nature of the creative process and its need for
DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas vol. 21 • no. 2 www.thedancecouncil.org
May-July 2018 page 15
variation in order to function at all. In the studio. In the class- room.On the stage.
Dance is an art that can very easily get caught up on its own two feet, ironically. But it’s also an art that is practically built on varia- tion—there are infiniteways to dance depending onwho you are, where you are, howyou are.And this iswhat dance always should be,will always come back to. Variety is a necessity and in dance, variety is a state of being. It is the lack of sameness and the abundance of diversity and it is the combination of creations that make theirway to bridge gaps, start conversations, formrelation- ships.
Without variety,wewouldn’t have dance.Andwithout dance,we wouldn’t really have variety, either.Whichmakes this into some- thing thatwe should always be chasing, that silver lining ofmak- ing things that you like because you like them, because you don’t see themanywhere else. Because if you don’tmake them,who elsewill? If therewere not those outliers of art, therewouldn’t be much art at all.
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