Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

Real Suspense: Continuing Creation

Balanchine inspires me daily not only because of his genius and his persistence, but because he understood the necessity of constantly producing.
          He told Jerome Robbins to just keep making ballets, and now and then one of them would be a masterpiece. In other words, don't stop producing at any time for any reason. Don't worry about whether the next piece will be great. Get out there and create.
          Creating a new ballet is risky. Appropriate sound accompaniment (music in the Western sense or otherwise) is a sine qua non. Able dancers are, too. So are space, a performing venue, possibly an orchestra, not to mention costumes, sets, and lighting. And the choreographer does not know whether the new piece will succeed in generating ticket sales or meet at an early death at the hands of critics and budget cuts.
          Balanchine never backed away from risk. He found funding to get new music written (notably by Igor Stravinsky) to which he could choreograph something just as new. Would audiences like it? He produced bread-and-butter crowd-pleasers like Nutcracker, and he also mounted things no one had ever seen nor could they understand. As a result, we have a body of works that not only have generated countless performances for almost nine decades, but also stretched our ideas of what a dance can be, and spawned countless more ideas for other dances.
          I work daily on my new book, thinking, "Just keep writing books, and now and then one will be a masterpiece." Maybe I'll write a masterpiece, maybe not. The point is to keep creating.

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