FLEXIBILITY – By Jason Winters

FLEXIBILITY - By Jason WintersThe longer I am in this fantastical world of dance, the more I realise it is never what I expected it to be. I remember starting out and dreaming of so many things I wanted to do, and people I wanted to work with. Thanks to some serious luck and determination, I definitely achieved a lot of those dreams as a performer. Granted, I didn’t always get the auditions I desperately wanted, or happened to get a career-stopping injury right before the opportunity of a lifetime, but I never let that stop me for I saw the end goal and realized it might take a different path to get there. In my mind, the road never came to a dead end, just a fork!
When the time came to move into choreography I had the same sense of desire and visualization for what I wanted to accomplish, which lead me to believe it would be smooth sailing for the most part. Well, the latest chapter in my story has really challenged my flexibility as a creator! I was very fortunate to work on SYTYCD season 3 here in AU, and when I walked into the studio at CarriageWorks I couldn’t be more excited to see Phillipe and Jessie H. These 2 dancers represented, what I believe, is the future of Contemporary dance. A fusion of hip hop with serious jazz/ballet technique. All 3 of us were pushed to find the best of ourselves and create a true fusion of movement and story telling. Now, I am called in to choreograph the boys duet for the GrandFinal, and I am really pumped to again meld the two worlds of Robbie and Phillipe.
So, I begin the process by pitching an idea to the fantastic team at SYTYCD. I have to elaborate on the process of a submission for something of this magnitude… It requires a song choice suited perfectly for the choree, a video of the choree intended in the duet, costume description and photo examples, lighting and camera plots, and a detailed story outline. So here we go…
Unfortunately, the music I have chosen is not approved for use on the show (1st idea down). I go back to the drawing board and pump out another concept, but the prop is not possible to build (2nd idea down). Back into the vault for another, but this time it is too similar to a duet earlier in the season (3rd idea down). Digging deeper, but now the prop I requested is in use for a group routine on the same GrandFinal show (4th idea down). Music not approved again (5th idea down), special effect not possible (6th idea down), costume too complex (7th idea down), story line too deep and intense for the mood of the GrandFinal (8th idea down). ALL THIS HAPPENED IN A SPAN OF 7 DAYS.
Needless to say, I was about to throw the towel in and tell the producers, “I might not be the right person for this duet”. Instead, I remembered the time when Mia Michaels and I were working for Cirque and had to re-choreograph the same finale routine 14 times! I told myself that “flexibility breeds creativity”, and that I would come back with one more idea. Something sharp, stylized, and classy… well that was the one and it was approved merely hours before rehearsal started with the boys.
WHATEVER the challenge, giving up is not an option. There is always another path to get you to the goal and dreams of your life. Search, be open, listen to inspiration in all forms, and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF… from there EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Love & Light,
Jason Winters