Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Creativity is a 'C' of much consequence when it comes to the A-Z of Grace and Poise. Creativity is essential to the Ballet Practitioner / Choreographer and Teacher, but seemingly also an inherent part of our being.
''It is in the playing and only in the playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self''
To create is to generate, to imagine, to explore the opportunities of discovery and allow your mind to wander beyond the realms of the known and beyond into the fields of innovation. In Ballet creativity encompasses the body, mind and soul as it challenges the way in which the body can move and travel through space, the mind can conceptualise and transform meaning into movement and the soul can feel. When it comes to shaping the body, exploring pathways of movement and translating narrative through the use of the body and expression; creativity has no bounds, but how can we facilitate creativity in children and why is it so important in not just the world of ballet but of value to us all.
Fun Facts: Why Be Creative
Live longer, Live in good Health
Researchers found that creativity decreases mortality risk. One possible reason creativity is protective of health is because it draws on a variety of neural networks within the brain. Creative thinking has also been proven to reduce stress and keep the brain healthy.
Thinking creatively allows the brain to see a problem not as an obstacle but as a maze, a challenge, a conquest. The brain is able to target the issue from numerous angles and evaluate all the possible options. This allows the self to be able to cope better with uncertainty and additionally be more efficient and proactive in the work place and general life.
Confidence building is often a challenge for many, creativity allows the self to explore the possibility of failure and not to be afraid of this eventuality. Failure can begin to be seen as a bump in the road rather than the end of the road. Once the self adopts failure as part of the process of learning the feeling of competency increases thus making us more confident.
How can we foster Creativity in children?
As mentioned previously the fear of failure is always prominent amongst children when they are exploring something for the first time. As a teacher I often experience children withdrawing mentally from the space when asked to put forward their own ideas and explore their own Ballet improvisations and creations. It is noticeable that there is a fear of not being 'good enough' feeling ridiculed, or not knowing where to start. This is a painful reality and realisation that children often feel such anxiety towards creative processes. Children often express such a lack of confidence that they appear to rely upon us consistently for answers rather than looking to themselves for a solution. So much so that nurturing creativity has become a fundamental part of my classroom, my ethos and central for my sense of self.
My Tips for Fostering Creativity in Children
Firstly every child needs a space that they feel they can trust, a safe place to explore free of judgment and free of expectation. They need to know that when it comes to their own imagination that whatever they create is something, and that something is valued. They need to know that should they feel they have failed that this is part of the learning process. ITS OK TO FALL OVER AFTER A PIROUETTE (SPIN), YOU ARE HALF WAY THERE WHEN YOU GET BACK UP AGAIN!
When children turn to us for guidance we are tempted to give the answer, take control and guide them in the right direction. Guidance when needed is good, a child shouldn't feel abandoned when they seek help, but more often than not they are capable of finding a solution and offering the answer themselves. So redirect the question to see if they can find the answer themselves. This is far more valuable as not only do they get the answer but they have also gained from the experience of problem solving themselves.
For children to make their minds more flexible they need to know there is flexibility in life, allow them to lay out all the options, list all possibilities and explore different avenues and ways of approaching things.
Seemingly seeking to cater for children to develop creatively and celebrating creativity is an essential part of education and life. As a Ballet Teacher i feel very passionately about providing this opportunity and creating a space where creativity is at the heart of what we do and who we are.
Ballet allows us to holistically develop creativity, unbound by the limitations of usual movement identity, unleashing expression and digging into the depths of meaning and narrative. Ballet is poetry of the body, may we let our verses run wild off the page and may our language endeavour to illuminate the reader.