Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sara Barney: Recent Reflections

There are a few thoughts I have been circling around lately. I have been reflecting on the idea of living with ambiguity, attending performances, and becoming more comfortable with networking and communicating. After journalling and many conversations, I believe they have an interesting way of connecting to one another.

Living with Ambiguity
Living with ambiguity has never been super fun for me, though I’m not sure if it is something that comes easy to most. It’s growing on me. It has taken since June, but I can truly appreciate it for what it is and recognize it’s important while living in this city. Life here goes so fast. Opportunity flees just as fast as it comes rushing back. I see that now as a really exciting thing. I have hope for future aspirations. I can see how the constant turnover of opportunity can seem scary. The sense of stability sometimes seems a bit lacking, but I feel it is all in how you look at it. For me, right now, in my life, I look at it as endless possibilities. I see room for further discovery and opportunity to be exposed to numerous adventures. Without the fellowship’s guidance, I don’t think I would see myself willingly experimenting with ambiguity. I am so very grateful that the fellowship has allowed for me to discover this way of being.

Performances
I feel like I have been to a fairly wide spectrum of dance performances these past few months: some using additional mediums with movement, others using specific dance techniques. I have become aware of more and more things while being exposed to such a variety of shows. I am starting to build a sense of my true likings from a performance, maybe even details that I would like to use sometime. I recently have been drawn to the spaces that people choose for their work. I find it very interesting when a choreographer really uses the space they and/or their company performs in. I think it is because I feel more a part of the work when the space that I am sitting in is used in some fashion. I have experienced very intimate settings as well as quite grand spots. In both situations, if the space was used in some way other than a traditional sense, I was exceedingly engaged. I was drawn into the story; whether it was literal or abstract, I felt a greater sense of understanding. I believe details such as this allow for a certain depth in the work. When things are carefully constructed and thought out, I have a certain appreciation for it, whether I would like to perform it or not.

Communication/Networking
(Small Back Note) My mother owns two ballet schools in Rhode Island and had performed professionally for many years. I was known as “Eva Marie’s daughter” for most of my childhood and teen years. I found this to be pretty fun. I was at every show and event she participated in. In doing this, I got to meet many people. She introduced me to everyone she worked with. At the time, this seemed simple. No “biggie.” When I got older and started to go to functions that didn’t involve her, I began to learn how to stand on my own two feet and present myself as Sara Barney. It was liberating. Though, as time went on, it became difficult to make those connections with artists I didn’t know. I began to think, “Who am I? I’m not that important. They don’t even know me. They’re accomplished and successful. I should probably not say anything.” It took some time to figure out that we are all human. Novel, isn’t it? People like to hear honest praise. People enjoy commonalities with others. What is the harm in telling someone you like their work? Living here in NYC, I am becoming more comfortable with communicating with fellow artists. I now believe that no matter how successful someone is, we can connect, at least on some level. You never know when you put yourself out there what may happen. It may be your next big break or a new friend or someone you run into in a few years. They may know someone that you should know. Worst case scenario, they end up being not very nice. When you know you are being genuine, that’s all that matters. If someone cannot accept that, remember that that’s not your problem. Well, that is what I am telling myself now. I feel a bit more empowered with the people I have met during the fellowship. It is happening slowly, but my community here in the city is growing.

For me, these three topics have been integral parts in my personal and artistic growth during my time in the fellowship. It hasn’t necessarily been easy or stress-free these past months, but life is like that, full of tough times to discover the great times to be had. I am more comfortable in my skin now than I was six months ago because of this fellowship and all its capacities (no pun intended).

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