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Developing Your Own Style? Stay On the Bus!

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In a world of dancer wannabes, you wannabe your own dancer. You look to the RB clones and the FCBD copycats, and you think to yourself that you want to find your own voice, your own unique expression separate from these iconic performers. But you love what they do so much, and you want to be guided by their aesthetics, their techniques, and–maybe if going professional–their branding. How do you get from emulating those you admire to becoming a unique artist in your own right?

Stay on the bus.

This article on photography by Arno Rafael Minkkinen introduces a beautiful metaphor for finding your own creative path–namely, that of The Helsinki bus station. Much like our beginner dance classes, bus stations are a single destination from which all the buses head out on their journeys. We all start in the same place, so to speak. And even as we grow, we naturally access and emulate the developed works around us, sometimes seemingly “copying” or traveling the same creative path as they have. The thing is, the buses don’t necessarily go shooting in polar opposite directions straight from the station. They often ride parallel for a while before going to their individual destinations.

“The buses that move out of Helsinki stay on the same line but only for a while, maybe a kilometer or two. Then they begin to separate, each number heading off to its own unique destination. Bus 33 suddenly goes north, bus 19 southwest. For a time maybe 21 and 71 dovetail each other for a spell, but soon they split off as well. …


It’s the separation that makes all the difference, and once you start to see that difference in your work from the work you so admire (that’s why you chose that platform after all), it’s time to look for your breakthrough.”

The author goes on to offer still more insight into the struggle we artists undergo to find our own voice, and leaves us with a hopeful message:

“So, be the caretaker of your vision. Make it famous. And above all, remember, that art is risk made visible. Good luck and see you out there. You’re going to be great.”

Fame may not be the goal, but all our efforts deserve our loving attention. “Art is risk made visible”, so go forth and take some risks, my friend.

Read the full article here:

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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