Thoughts On Movement and The Creative Process

For my animation class we were asked to read the following article about the creative process:

http://the99percent.com/articles/6695/What-We-Can-Learn-from-Babies-Experimentation-Failure-Creative-Genius

When Glei wrote “The theta state is characterized by the ability to shut out the world and deeply concentrate and connect with a task at hand.”  This quote really stood out to me because I feel that it relates to how I live my life, since I’ve never stopped playing.  I jump around on walls for fun, play at least 7 or 8 different sports/activities for hours each week and at the end of it all, it only seems as if seconds have gone by.

To me, I see movement as a type of art, whether it is moving while trying to keep the ball inbounds playing volleyball, or doing acrobatics while crossing the street.  Like any art, the words quality and creativity definitely apply.

Throughout all of my activities I try to achieve quality movement.  How does one judge quality movement?  I think that somewhere down our evolutionary path we acquired the ability to judge quality of movement because the higher the quality of movement the quicker, or more efficient we would be able to get away from predators or catch up to prey, in a primitive sense.  This means that quality of movement has a lot to do with efficiency, or the seamless transition between movements that many quality movers’ possess.

The role of creativity in terms of movement is a difficult one to conceptualize.  Since people have been moving in various ways for centuries it is difficult to imagine creating something without being influenced by the movers that have come before me.  Having said that, the amalgamation of various types of movement in different activities is a useful tool to create something new, or at the very least something that you haven’t seen before.  An example of this is the incorporation of gymnastics into parkour to create free running.  Or on a more specific level, the incorporation of break dancing type movements to facilitate moving and expressing yourself through an urban environment (in free running) as a fellow athlete Alexander Zyulev does so proficiently in many of his movements.

The idea of creating something through movement that you haven’t seen before can definitely be a daunting task, since people as they get older (like the reading said) have a natural tendency to do what works, in the case of movement, what works is what is attainable or what has already been done before.  The amalgamation of different types of movement into one can be a useful tool to spawn creative movements.  However fundamentally, this creative process is just repackaging and reusing old movements or movements from other contexts and is not creating something new (not to take away from people who incorporate various styles of movement into one, since these amalgamated movements are often extremely difficult and still require ridiculous athleticism and body control).

I feel that to create something truly new (at least in terms of movement) one needs to engage with their environment, experiment, and play as babies do (like the reading pointed out).  The state of flow needs to be entered in the creative process because in that state possibilities that one would never have thought of with our hardened adult brains seem to have the slimmest chance of panning out.  In the state of flow, the slimmest shot at something working is more then enough to give it a shot.  Through exploring ones’ environment and putting your body in positions you do not regularly hold or to purposely push yourself away from your comfort zone is a valuable tool to have and will definitely help in terms of the creative process because they encourage thinking differently, thinking outside of routine, which we are trained to do from a young age.

Overall, creativity and movement are words that seem to oppose each other, since true creativity implies that the idea or movement has not been thought of before.  However in many ways, creative movement can be the most beautiful and visually engaging because it is often thought of, perfected and achieved in a manner that is very delicate, tedious and time consuming.  Having said that, when the right combination of creativity and quality of movement are applied, the result is breathtaking, inspiring and ultimately one of the reasons I move.  Even if I am not able to create as well as others, to participate in the creation process and just to strive towards something so amazing and genuine as new movement is all that any mover can ask for.  Ultimately, it is our responsibility to create, lest stagnation ensue.

Written by

Trevor de Groot

APK Pro Team member. Trains in Stoney Creek, Ontario, "up in da Canada dere, eh?" Trevor's favourite foods are plantains, snow and licorice.