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In the Studio and Out in the World: Beginnings

In compositional improvisation, we actively practice creating dances from scratch in real-time. As a lifelong dancer, I relate to the studio as practice grounds for life outside the studio, and while there is no structure, there are ways in which we practice listening, making choices, developing material and motifs, and finding a conclusion or ending. In preparation for making dances, we will often generate guidelines or scores to focus on specific skill building. One score, in particular, focuses on beginnings: once one has been established, we reset and begin again. It not only illustrates the countless ways one can enter, emerge, begin, but also requires a certain amount of letting go, of being unattached because we will soon be starting again. It’s a reminder that the start of something doesn’t have to be grandiose or complicated to take root, and that a piece can include multiple beginnings. The same can be said for starting a new project or process. Beginnings are a declaration. A foundational check-in. A vulnerability of not knowing. The willingness, the courage to be with the unknown, allowing the process to unfold in real-time. To sift through what takes hold and what doesn’t. Sometimes beginnings are inevitable- sometimes there is little choice in having to begin again. We do, however, have agency in showing up moment to moment, to check in with ourselves and act from an intentional place.

Over the past year, I have been in the process of beginning a new practice of integrating Coaching and Climate leadership. Beginning this process, one where I am still developing the role itself and what that looks like for me is liberating, challenging, and confronting all in one. There have been multiple beginnings! And I am learning a lot.

There is an understated power in beginnings. To see the potential and possibility but to not know how it will turn out… The same can be said for the collective space we find ourselves in. We are at a threshold: in many ways we are at the limits of a world dominated by extraction of fossil fuels, colonialism and “power over” and have been for some time. But we are also at a beginning, the potential for a new paradigm, of living in more alignment with life on earth, each other, and ourselves. To each step into our own version of leadership and connect to what we deeply care about most. And to know we aren’t meant to do it alone.

So this is an invitation. To give ourselves the grace and permission to start something we don’t fully understand yet. To embrace the awkward, the unknown. Every moment is a chance to begin again.

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