Even though we dance for love not money, it can be hard to stay inspired at times. Ever had those days when you have bit of a 'writers block' with your dancing or choreographing? We caught up with some dancers and choreographers recently and asked what inspires them with their work. Here's what they said! Thank you very much to these wonderful dancers and choreographers for their insight!

Paul Malek, Artistic Director at Transit Dance and freelance Choreographer/Director

Paul Malek Transit DanceI think the greatest way to be inspired as a maker of dance is to disassociate yourself with what dance as a technique that you've trained in for years actually is, and start with a simple question. What is it do you want to say?
We seem in life to be able to discuss and have opinions about topics so frequently, we can stare at an awesome photograph for minutes on end and be intrigued by its purpose, watch a gripping television series or documentary, then walk into a studio, look into a mirror and go, ugh, I'm stuck. 
First thing is I rarely if ever make or create movement with a mirror, I feel the mirror is the death of creativity, for we are making everything 2 dimensionally, with the idea that someone is looking at it from a front. Which immediately eliminates a plethora of opportunity to create something unique. 
Secondly, always have a purpose. For instance a purpose of a leg mount is predominantly to stretch or show off your range of flexibility. Yet if I was making a piece about the lifespan of a leaf, I would not necessarily see the purpose of creating and placing a leg mount within this work. There is a place for everything, and just because it has been labelled within a dance technique, doesn't mean it is necessary to add when making movement, choreography and work. 
Always go back to the fact that dance is an art form in which you can communicate a message, find out what it is you wanna say, and make something with meaning. Whether it is an abstract idea, a work with a strong narrative, or just for pure entertainment sense, there is always a purpose behind the movement you create. 
Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to open all your senses and breathe it in. 
Rebecca Bassett-Graham, Company Dancer at Studio Wayne McGregor
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To stay inspired I like to set goals for myself. No matter how little or big, by having a goal in sight it helps me to keep motivated to achieve it, something to work towards. As much as I can I love to go and see other performances. Seeing what else is out there in the industry inspires me. Seeing other dancers move and perform and what choreographers are making inspires me creatively. Most important, when I’m having a down day. I like to just have a moment to take in where I am and remind myself how far I have come.
Michael Ralph, Teacher, Choreographer, Director
Physically I love doing yoga. I do yoga which keeps my body and mind reallyMichael Ralph choreographer focused and centred and it gets rid of all the nasty things that come and go in your head and I really like that it centres me.
Inspiration wise I watch a lot of different things. I love to go and see as many different shows, in Melbourne there’s so many things on all the time. Plays, musicals, concerts, ballets, I try and see lots of different things. Also YouTube is the best thing. You can get so much inspiration from watching different things on YouTube. I don’t know what I did without it actually before it was invented it was so hard to get hold of footage!
But these days it’s so easy to find someone or something or a company or a musical that someone has told you about or just get caught down a YouTube hole and be there for hours looking up lots of things.
I would also add that talent inspires me. Something special about someone inspires me to create for them.
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Luke Cooper, Dancer Royal New Zealand Ballet  

RNZB dancer Luke CooperTo stay inspired, I tend to look outside of dance. I find myself new hobbies and interests to keep my mind busy on things other than ballet when I'm not in the studio. The ability to switch off then means that when I am in the studio I feel fully engaged, invested and enjoy myself more, instead of feeling drained and even bored. This then allows me to find more moments of inspiration in the studio from my fellow dancers and the choreographers/stagers/ballet staff at the front of the studio.

This is definitely not an easy task and I have not yet mastered it myself, but it makes a noticeable difference when I can apply it.


Sara Garbowski, Dancer Royal New Zealand Ballet  RNZB dancer Sara Garbowski

As a professional dancer I have several outlets that serve as inspiration.  Ballet class is a source that I use daily to explore and solidify technique. It is the inspiration I build there that allows me to feel confident and achieve a certain artistic freedom onstage.



Kirby Selchow, Dancer Royal New Zealand Ballet 

Kirby Selchow RNZBDancing is my life it was what I always wanted to do and I would have never of taken no for an answer. 

The things that inspire me to dance is life, music and the people I love and adore in my life inspire me daily. Walking out of the theatre and speaking to someone who has been moved emotionally by a performance is a constant inspiration. My Mum is without a doubt my biggest inspiration – if it wasn’t for her being there and supporting me the entire way through, none of it would have happened or been possible.

Tabitha Dombroski, Graduating student of John Cranko Schule, Dancer, Choreographer
What keeps me inspired to choreograph? Tabitha Dombroski student of John Cranko Schule
I love creating. I love moving. I love a challenge. The idea that every body moves and feels different is amazing to me. At John Cranko, I am surrounded by so many amazing and talented dancers.This is so inspiring for me everyday. I draw a lot of inspiration from my peers and the dancer I am working with. As I aim to make the dancer look their best, and create movement that feels right to them (Still with a bit of a challenge). I also love and gain a lot of inspiration from music. It makes people feel and think a certain way without them knowing it. A big part of what keeps me motivated is seeing people so happy when they move, see their passion and their fire. I have been able to give a lot of people opportunities which they wouldn’t have had without my creation. I have been able to provide people with personalised solos for events and competitions, which so far have all gone very very well. My heart and soul lies in seeing people I’ve helped succeed. In seeing others get the recognition they deserve for their beautiful ability to move and emote.

Thanks again to all of the dancers and choreographers who contributed!

What inspires you?

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