There was an article in today’s New York Times written by a professional dancer, Maresa D’Amore-Morrison, that struck me on several levels.
Last May, Eric (San, known professionally as Kid Koala – Ed.) asked us if we would participate that fall in his world tour, which he described as a vaudeville show. He said that this time, besides energetic dance routines, he wanted us to incorporate puppets into the act. My puppet would be three feet tall, the torso of a robot character from one of Eric’s graphic novels.
[…]I didn’t have the faintest idea how to make an inanimate object move on stage. And the challenge was even more daunting since we wouldn’t even see the puppets until hours before the world premiere in Geneva, because they were still being made in Canada.
[…] I wanted to do a good job because I take pride in my work. But I also wanted Eric to hire our group again so we could continue collaborating with him.
The first point that resonated with me is the main brunt of the article – being challenged to tackle a new skill. It’s something that makes changing careers seem, at least at first, daunting…especially when you’ve spent thousands of hours and dollars mastering skills for a primary field. After encountering rejection or friction in the field that has been your passion, well, taking a leap of faith into a new field, learning something foreign can seem to be both ancillary (“but I don’t love it.”) and a huge risk (“How do I know that this will work out for me?” Answer: you don’t. No one does.)
The second point is wrapped up in that last excerpt…being only as good as our last project, performance, piece of work. There’s a delicate balance between wanting to put out your best work because it meets your standard, and wanting your best work to open doors. In the best possible world, the dominos fall and one great performance garners offers: but there’s a big difference between wanting to reach that artistic ideal and cobbling enough opportunities together to make rent.
The third point? Is simply that Ms. D’Amore-Robinson states in the article’s first paragraph that she has three different jobs. Three. Different. Jobs. It’s de rigeur for millions of artists (and non-artists, too), but totally a foreign concept to a wide swath of folks. (It was my norm until I started at my current workplace.)
No big conclusions to draw – just thankful for an interesting performer POV in the Times.