Monthly Archives: April 2011

What a dancer has to say about genius and creativity

Like most little girls, I wanted to grow up to be a dancer. It didn’t happen. I took classes here and there but never pursued it seriously. I skipped the chance to take dance in middle and high school. I’m not sure if it was because my upbringing (I was raised in a pretty strict Seventh Day Adventist home until 16) prevented me from letting the performer in me shine or if I lacked the confidence to be a beginner at 13.

But I danced at my home church in Houston though. I was actually the choreographer for the youth group. Teaching moves I made up in my room. Those were some of the happiest days in my life. Part of the reason I left my job last November was to make “young Wanda” that Wanda, proud of the life I was leading. Young Wanda thought I was going to be a creative monster by now. Debbie Allen Jr.

Debbie Allen Fame (1980)

When I left Nickelodeon, one of the first things I added to my new daytime slate was dance classes. I wanted to get that exhilarating feeling I felt as young Wanda back in my life. I started taking modern classes, but then decided to take any class I could. I took belly dancing, jazz/hip-hop and West African to name a few.

I had the wonderful pleasure of taking lessons at the Mark Morris Dance Center. If you are in New York City, check out there work-study program. And say hi to Jackie for me!

Always a researcher, I looked up dance and creativity one day. The first article that came up was from non other than modern dance genius Mark Morris. (FYI: The way he enters a room is simple and yet magnificent.)

Here are excerpts from a 2001 article from Harvard Business Review entitled “Genius at Work.” Reading the entire article is encouraged if you can afford to buy it online. Morris gives good talk including how to manage geniuses, the difference between creativity and art and his own creative process.

For your viewing and edifying pleasure, here are a few of my favorite moments in dance. The first is the reason I moved to New York City. Enjoy!

If you want another perspective on genius, check out a post featuring the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Fame (1980) Dance in the Street

Creative hit or miss?

I saw this in Manhattan on the side of a bus stop on 8th Ave. What do you think about this actor’s effort to get a role? Creative hit or miss? For a definite hit check out this post about a beer ad from Leffe.

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Don’t Be A Genius, Have One…It’s Safer.

I didn’t like Eat, Pray, Love. And I’ll probably never see the movie. But here in a lecture on TED.com, the website for the nonprofit dedicated to spreading ideas, author Elizabeth Gilbert makes a noteworthy case for separating the divine catalyst of our creative process from ourselves.

As a believer in God, this makes absolute sense to me. While I am constantly empowered and encouraged by the persistence and ingenuity of the human spirit, there are some elements of existence that should remain in the divine. Enjoy!

For another perspective on genius, check out a post quoting dancer/choreographer Mark Morris.