The Imperfectionist Manifesto by Melissa Dinwiddie
Whenever I create a new choreography, I really struggle to “finalize” it. I feel it still doesn’t look right, whether it is because the movements don’t seem to go with the music anymore, or I lack the skills, or my movements are not refined or whatever. It just does not look as it should be.
That is a perfectionist in me talking, isn’t it? I have always been a straight A student since elementary school, and I have developed a habit of noticing small flaws and mistakes. Diligently correcting those mistakes earned me 100% on exams, though the process was not fun all the time. So every time I watch a recording of my choreography in progress, I notice my flaws and mistakes, and often flinch. If it is a few days before performance, then I start to stress out.
Today I was listening to a podcast called Creative Insurgents, and it is directed towards artists. In the podcast, I encountered this concept of being an “imperfectionist.” A co-host of the show, Melissa Dinwiddie, who is an artist and musician and does a lot of creative works, was talking about how she was working on becoming an imperfectionist.
It was an epiphany for me.
I looked up Melissa’s blog, and found this article called “The Imperfectionist Manifesto.”
I’ve always known that being a perfectionist is the cause of my stress. So I try NOT to be a perfectionist. But not being something can have a negative feeling. It’s like, giving up on improving something because I should not be a perfectionist. That’s as good as it gets. It feels limiting.
But being an impefectionist is a different feeling. I want to positively become an imperfectionist, and create my art work. Whether it is a great piece of work or crappy one, it doesn’t matter. I create. I create, because I enjoy doing it.
Ultimate value doesn’t always have anything to do with technical skill.
I find this quote so liberating.
Yes, we always try to improve ourselves, no matter what. I will always work on my techniques, because I want to get better. But the overall value of my performance does not solely depend on how cleanly I make a turn, or how pointed my toe is. It depends also on the feeling evoked in the audience and the experience they go through by watching my performance.
And you never know what they see in your performance.
No matter how “perfect” your performance is to you, there will always be people who love your performance and those who don’t.
We all want to be loved, but it is almost impossible to be loved by everyone.
So in the end, you create your art, no matter what it is, and embrace the imperfectionism.
I thought this was a good lesson for me, and it made me feel better about everything I am doing now. Melissa’s article is really nice. I highly recommend you read it, if you are a creative one.
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