Growing up as an only child, is a unique experience. There can be a lot of time spent alone, inside your own head, thinking, feeling, listening – this was true for me. And I loved it. It actually prepared me for the time in my life during which I was discovering the kind of tap dancing I was supposed to be doing.
I had taken dance class since I was 3 1/2 years old – dance school, workshops, competitions, performances, and mentorships. I had been given a lot. I was even introduced to improvisation at a fairly early age, but took years to find a process in which the voice I’d been given would begin to come through. That process included entering the empty room.
Studio C3 to be exact. For hours at a time I would go in without music, but with a goal. I would sit still, listen, move, and then listen some more. I’d listen for ideas, for visions, for rhythms. The process mandated that I be alone. This wasn’t a situation in which iron sharpened iron. It was more like iron forming in the ground. It took spending time away from other dancers for me to parse through all I had received, and to discover my own ear, eye, and physicality.
That time was a while ago, but I still remember my empty room – the space where I could listen to the still small voice. Now, I carry it with me while on the road. And every time my dancing changes, a new idea is discovered, I can trace it back to moments spent in “empty rooms” when I could sit still, listen, move, then listen again.
Do you have an “empty room”?