Sometimes all one needs in life is to get to the starting line. And yesterday that’s exactly what I did. After a year and a half of planning and fundraising and meetings and scheduling and emailing and the like, I finally stood in a big, open room with 12 talented dancers ready to create exciting new dances. I breathed it in. It is always a momentous occasion that is in no way lost on me. Just thinking about all that it takes to get to the point where I can even begin the work reminds me why I work so tirelessly to bring BDL into existence. As I explained to the diverse company of dancers anxious to get their bodies moving in space, I have not created in this way since the last time I did BDL, which was March of 2014. You would think that the floodgates of creativity would burst open and waves of movement generation would break the dam. Instead, I was met with heaping amounts of internal dialogue: “How on earth will I begin? What do I really want to work on? How do I do this again?? Will this idea I have in my head even work? Will I like it? Will anyone else like it? Does the idea dance?? Why am I not moving faster? What the hell am I doing??” The list went on and on and on. It felt like I was riding a rusty old, vintage bicycle with only 2 working gears. But at least I was pedaling. I may not have been “in the zone” but at least I was in the game. Reminds me of the great saying from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming!” It’s times like this when one realizes that creative work takes faith and perseverance and the willingness to just keep at it. And often the “work” lies in standing before a group of people who are staring at you and saying to them, “I have no earthly idea what I’m doing, what I’m about to do, what I want, or what I don’t want. I’m stuck and I will likely need your help getting unstuck.” But that’s collaboration after all, isn’t it? And I firmly believe that sitting in the muck, the darkness, is just as important as sprinting towards the light. And that there needs to be a place to go where failure is, in fact, an option. As Stephen McCranie so eloquently put it: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” By the end of the day, we had spent a good hour working on one small phrase of movement that never quite landed the way I wanted it to. It may very well be the wrong idea entirely. I half-heartedly proclaimed my “epic fail” to the dancers right before we left and without missing a beat one of the dancers, Jenny Holahan, (pronounced Hoo-la-han) said, “That’s what we’re here for!” It makes me well up just thinking about it because that’s what I have worked so tirelessly these past three years to create and sustain. A place were we can all fail big, fail often, and fail boldly…as long as we just keep swimming.