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Moving Versus Movement: Why Dancers Are Researchers Pt 5

Hi everyone! Fabian from the think-team here, finally back with the series of why dancers are researchers. You can find the previous one here What is style? Why Dancers are Researchers pt. 4 ( Today I'd like to talk about the subtle differences between moving versus movement.

I was practicing for a performance with my friend and quite surprisingly we were pretty satisfied with the end result. Not that it is especially rare, but usually, dancers are pretty hard on themselves - rewatching the performance to spot mistakes. But anyway, one of the reasons we are happy is because we enjoyed the creative process. Perhaps it was because we like the style, we were dancing 'together' in unison, and we feel very emotionally connected to the piece. Our performance feels genuine.

Oftentimes, you may also see performances that look great, but may connect less with them. Performance is not just about moving. There other aspects beyond the movement itself such as stage presence.

My friend put it this way, "Just because you are moving, doesn't mean you are making a movement". In this context, we see movement as something that has a more complex character than just "moving". Something more meaningful. To me personally, this is how I get to explain why some choreographies resonate with me more than others. Some choreo may be filled with a lot of movement, but they do not necessarily connect with me. Here's an example of a choreo that moved me:

I absolutely love Shay Latukolan, a super unique dutch street dancer. Usually, in a lot of street-style choreo, there is a lot of hype/trendy movements that are catchy and fun. I love Shay's versatility, especially in this piece. For one, it is more vulnerable and raw. His movements are also dynamic and grounded which adds to the emotions that he's communicating. I especially especially love how he makes ugly movements look beautiful. His choices are unconventional, bringing twists to his broad hip-hop vocabulary. Point is, Shay is not just moving for the sake of moving. Here are other clips of him:

Anyway, everything I just said so far may just be a ramble and super subjective. But although it's an interesting discussion in dance, I thought that it sort of applies to other contexts as well. You can see a lot of people move, but very few will actually create a big impact with their movement. Movement is more meaningful. So in a work environment, we have two options: keep moving or make a movement. Again, the two are very nuanced at this point, but let me illustrate.

Here in, working smart is part of the company culture Work Smart or Work Hard? ( Meaning, we do not waste time doing things that produce low impact. As an example, we refuse to do ceremonial things - hosting events for the sake of doing it. Instead, we need to make it meaningful, make it beneficial for all parties. This made me think that some choreo was made ceremonially. Using cheap tricks for the sake of performing, but losing their meaning.

So I guess the discussion boils down to doing something versus doing something meaningful. In a company where every action needs to have a why Purposeful Action: Why We Start With the Why (, I think I am learning to only do meaningful things. For myself, others, and eventually to everyone.

Thanks for reading, I hope you get to reflect on some things from this post about any of your actions - dancing, researching, or pretty much anything.

See you next week!

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