When a good friend of mine sent me a text and asked if I had yet read Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, I replied negative, and if I recall, she wrote back something like, “you will soon!” And then presented me with my very own copy when I saw her next. Well, Z, I’m happy to announce that just this evening I’ve finished the last drop of this treasure that has quenched my thirst. Thank you.
For dancers (and writers, musicians, creatives) unfamiliar with The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life, I hope that you’ll take this advice soon: open a new tab in your browser. Go to Amazon.com. Order your copy.
Tharp has a lifetime of experience as a dancer and choreographer (and has many necessary talents that fall under those umbrellas, including writing), which she shares without ego. You get the impression that she’s on your side, and wants you to succeed, to experience the mistakes that give character but with fair warning.
Building on her own successes trials-and-errors in the world of theater, Tharp also draws on world history to give us a complete picture of how all of these things come together: For example, I’ve learned about Mozart’s and Beethoven’s creative habits in her comparisons that are presented in a way that makes them seem more human to me than ever.
My interpretation is that what it comes down to is the act of studying. Study your art. Practice the basics perfectly. Know the rules. Then break the rules.
Books such as this, and other books about performance arts that I’ve shared with you here, are written to make us better, smarter, more empowered dancers and performers. They give us tips on how to be our own agents, how to respect technique always, how to push boundaries, and so much more. Sisters and brothers, read them. I won’t include a book on this website unless I believe it’s worth your time and mine.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a quote from The Creative Habit (it was difficult to choose just one – my copy is full of my own inked-in stars, underlined sentences, circles phrases and notes for my past, current and future projects): “Inexperience provides us with a childlike fearlessness that is the polar opposite of the alleged wisdom that age confers on us, the “wisdom” telling us some goals are foolish, a waste of time, invitations to disaster. In its purest form, inexperience erases fear. You do not know what is and what is not possible and therefore everything is possible.” ~ Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, Chapter 9, “Skill.”
Everything is possible!
With unending love,