MUTTS, HACKS & BASTARDS: The Creative Brain
Updated: Jun 29
“Jazz is a mutt...Jazz is a reflection of time. The tradition of jazz is that it always changes. If you stop changing it, if it stops growing, now you’re not following the tradition. And if you keep adding to it and it keeps changing, and the people in the last decade are saying, ‘You can’t do this,’ then you’re doing it right.”
~Robert Glasper, Musician The Creative Brain, Netflix
So I just uploaded a video from a stage performance for the first time since 2014. Wahoo!
That return to Memphis was my maiden run of this new BellaDancer experiment in public. The shackles have been struck. I'm just dancing however I'm inspired to now, which means some of what I do won't be appropriate for my old venues. Year after year, I keep herding myself farther and farther out of all the options I used to have. Greek and Moroccan restaurants, Arabic nightclubs, belly dance galas and festivals.
I know that, in truth, I'm herding myself exactly where I'm meant to be. I'm starting to think the main places my art would be appropriate for are YouTube and in venues like this new performing arts place Walmart is putting up in Bentonville. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is also a place I consider approaching--not for any of the cultural or themed events I've done there before, but because my art truly is an American monstrosity.
A melting pot of movement.
A multi-headed mutt hack-bastard.
I am a great-great-granddaughter of the Modern Dance Pioneers and other dancers in their vein--and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Below is the trailer I made for this first experimental dance. Yes, I made a trailer! Hahahah! My performance music is often so famous that Facebook mutes it, so I taught myself how to use my handy-dandy iMovie trailer maker, where I had all sorts of snarky fun directing my FB crew to the new YouTube channel. It also occurred to me that this is a great way to start herding all those from my old IzzyDancer channel who want to jump ship and sail with me on this new adventure.
The Asshat Trailer:
UPDATE: Here's the trailer for the second dance I did at that show.
Yeahhhhh...those were way too much fun to make!
So naturally when I upload things like this, people start to ask me how I do what I do...how I come up with the things I create. Last night, Netflix struck again. I mysteriously stumbled upon their The Creative Brain. (I have mentioned that I'm Synchronicity's favored faerie godchild, yeah?)
This show explains my process to a T.
It’s not spontaneous combustion out of thin air. It’s a constant state of absorbing everything I come into contact with, breaking it apart, and putting it back together in another way.
And guess what? That’s how the human brain is designed. 🤓😈🤓
I simply used my imagination on overdrive as a kid, and I never stopped doing so as I “grew up.” In fact, I honed it more. I honed it so much I built a career out of it.
Even when I was an office manager, an executive assistant—that’s why my bosses loved me. All I did was reimagine their offices and the productive flow into something that worked even better. Yes. I can revolutionize a flippin’ cup of coffee because that’s all I ask: “How can I make it better? How can I take all these pieces of what I have and solve a problem? How can I jerry-rig this and Tetris that to make something that suits my needs perfectly?”
My dancing always starts out as a very selfish act. My writing, too. “How can I tweak this so it fits me like a glove that I LOVE to wear? I soooo wish there was a book like THIS. ” It’s only later that I share it. Sometimes. Some are just for me. And anybody who has ever studied with me—it’s so much less about teaching someone how to dance like me.
Its about figuring out the best approach to help them find what it truly means to dance like THEM - to tweak it so their dancing fits them like a glove they love to wear.
“I think originality is bunk...there never has been such a thing as true originality. It’s in the play with convention that originality arises, it’s not in the rejection of convention, to me.”
~Michael Chabon, Novelist
The Creative Brain, Netflix
PLAY with convention.
That’s my special sauce, whether we're talking about dance, writing, or martial arts. Anything, really. Recipes, costuming, feng shui-ing my darn house. I just play with all the toys. I paint with all the colors. I practice and study my crafts, and then I’m a big kid with it all. In the process of creation, I don't ask, “Is this right? Is that the way I should?” I’m far more interested in, “I wonder what happens if I try this. Ohhhh. Huh. Fascinating.”
You know who else was a big, fat hackalicious rat-bastardizer who offended people left and right and got told over and over he was doing it wrong?
Absorb what is useful.
Discard what is not.
Add what is uniquely your own.
I'll take him as a role model any day.
I also lift my cup and give deep bows of homage to all the blessed traditionalists, cultural preservationists, and conventional practitioners. Without y'all, the world would only have orange, purple, and green to paint with, and those get really muddy, really fast when mixing them. What you do is so phenomenal. I gaze in wonder. I sigh in awe.
I then yank out my pirate sword to hack, slash, and make mutt art-babies that have your eyes and the milkman's devious grin.