What follows is a commentary on the creative process around my latest piece “When In Doubt” which you can watch me preform here: https://youtu.be/TZ34SBrtRxs
This is a personal piece that deals with the topic of doubt. It was created around my application process to a dance program and it describes the transformative journey that I’ve gone through in my relationship with my doubts. As personal as this piece is it’s also a general statement on the effects of oppression on women, dealing with the way that we unconsciously internalize, from early on, an attitude of not trusting our minds, which affects every aspect of our being, everything we are trying to do in the world, and how our world operates and appears to us.
About the topic:
As soon as I made the decision to apply to the program my doubts started to pop up. I consulted with one of my mentors to see if I’m on the right track and when I asked if she thinks there’s any real basis to my hesitations she suggested I make a dance about my doubts.
The choreographic process:
I researched and wrote my thoughts about the meaning of doubt, about whether doubts have positive or negative implications and under what circumstances, about the difference between doubt and self doubt. I asked myself where my own doubts came from. It was clear to me that it was something external that I had acquired as a result of my oppressions. For example, I had just come back from a workshop about healing from the effects of war that included a visit to Aushwitz which helped me understand more how my doubts are directly connected to the experience of being the target of systematic extermination.
In a conversation I was asked if I thought that having doubts has also something to do with being a woman and my answer was a very definite “I have no doubt that my doubts come to me from being a woman”. That was a good reminder for something that had occurred to me many times in the past but I have forgotten, or maybe my doubts made me forget. I decided to make this connection between doubts and my female identity the center of the piece.
The embodiment of doubt:
Some of the material for the dance came as a result of improvising on the idea of doubt and trying to see how I could embody it. I tried different things and I kept getting feedback. it was challenging to embody the doubt. The feedback that I got was that I naturally have a very grounded presence and movements which are the opposite of doubt. It was interesting to notice the discrepancy between what goes on in my mind and how I’m perceived. I had to keep working on the embodiment to get it right.
While working on the piece early on I was wearing a jacket and I kept taking it off and putting it on because of my changing body temperature. At some point I decided to incorporate it in the dance. The decision to incorporate it seemed accidental but it made me wonder if this isn’t an example of true intelligence, intuition guiding the creative process. It seems so because it gradually started to acquire more and more meaning. One of feedbacks that I kept getting was that I need to decide what is my relationship to “the thing” and it became clear to me that this is my doubt. The next idea was that if this is indeed my doubt i have to relate to it as such as much as I can throughout the dance in the realest way possible.
It was important for me to portray the joinery of:
Contemplating where my doubts come from
Realizing that I had subconsciously taken on “wearing” my doubts as part of being a woman in our society
Noticing how the doubt is holding me back
Feeling distressed and desperate about it’s existence in my psyche
Trying to figure out what to do with it
Separating from it physically and emotionally. Noticing that there’s a real me underneath the doubts,
Deciding what I was going to do with it.
Acknowledging it’s there for a reason, embracing it, but not letting it run my life. In other words: dancing it.
In the piece this phrase allows me to step into dance as one of the only places in my life where the doubt doesn’t have a hold on me. It also has a deeper meaning in my life because of my decision to allow myself to cast my doubts aside and take myself more seriously as a dance artist.