Artistic Creation: The Cat, the Scientist, and Why We Have so Much Trouble Changing the Game

Artistic Creation: The Cat, the Scientist, and Why We Have so Much Trouble Changing the Game

Posted by Rick Tjia On 12th Apr 2019 In artistic creation, dance professionals

"There's more than one way to skin a cat." It's an old adage; one that in my younger years I used to hear a lot. These days it doesn't seem to be used that much anymore, and I'm not sure if it's because the saying has become no longer "in" or because the general opinion of the world is changing and we no longer believe it.

It's difficult to say which, because if we listen to what the word on the internet "street" says, it would seem that everyone is talking about differentiating themselves and what they do from the mainstream. New ideas are prime, and everything is about coming up with the world's new Game Changer.

There's a lot of talk. But then there's another old adage that says "talk is cheap." I do love that one. It kind of just puts the truth right out there on the table. Yeah, it hurts, but it hurts right where we need it to.

I believe that much of stagnation, even in the face of strong desire and willingness to move forward, is that we focus so much on the result we want to achieve and not enough on how we're going to get there. I've heard a lot of formulas on how to choreograph a piece, how to create a number: the devil is in the details, always start with a global structure first, always start with the music, dance needs to be able to stand on its own without music... Lots of advice from a lot of people trying to do something new, trying to change the game - with a personal process that's consistent enough that they can even give TV interviews or teach workshops that describe their creative process. But just the fact of having a set process kind of suggests that one has one way of doing things. And with that one way, we hope to create innovation. We strive to change the game. Making me think that perhaps we're not sure what the game actually is.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Albert Einstein: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." In other words, doing things in the same way with the same mindset is not going to bring us new solutions. I think the quote pretty much says it all in just 15 words. Translated, it means that there are many, many ways to achieve "Game Changer-ness." The most different of those ways will most likely not lie on our habitual path. Innovation will most likely not come from our established process.

Or, to keep it short, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." And these days, those cats do seem to be pretty warm...