When I play music in a dance studio, my body knows naturally what to do. It comes from years of serious training as a dancer first, then an ice dancer. Good technique was something I had to truly work for, but I had—I have– an innate ability to express music. We all have a gift, and when it comes to dance, musicality is mine. When I play a piece of music that I love, I feel enveloped by some presence. I feel as though I’m part of something special. I feel sure. Focusing exclusively on technique leaves me feeling empty and pressured. A process that has room for artistry, grace, and freedom of interpretation—this is what opens me up.
Of course, I did not become a dancer, but music and expression have remained with me, and shape my current work as a floral designer. I still work in a studio, and still rely on music to uplift my process. Most people associate my floral work with movement; my arrangements cascade and arc and bend and move. And I suppose that it can be no other way. My work is movement-driven, because my life is and always has been. Of course I would want my flowers to have freedom of movement and expression. This is how I also feel my best.
When I create my flowers, I choose music that supports the tone or mood I’m after. That can be serene or spunky. Regardless, I’m obsessive about creating moods and atmospheres. I like to work in good spirits. I’m always searching for that state of flow, where the music, flowers, and my touch comes together in a charged way. Where, for even a moment, everything feels like it was choreographed to be this way.
The below is a sampling of music I would and do play in my studio. This playlist is ideal, at least in my mind, for any kind of creative work, be it floral arranging, painting, photography, or dance. There is haunting, classical music that just envelops you. And there are those tracks that get you out of your head and into your body, your process. There’s humor and beauty, quietude and… something other than quietude. It depends on the day, the moment, the project in question, but all of this music moves me, creatively.
It’s strange. Certain things—like ice skating—can leave your life. But the artistry, the impulse behind them… it never leaves. It just takes a new shape. I’m grateful that there is not an artistic void in my life. That I waited long enough for my choreographic impulse to find its new form. And I’m endlessly grateful that the movement, the music, and the desire to express never left me. I just have a new studio, a new medium, and endless music to play and express.
Thank you to Bahareh Ritter of Ritter Collective for these exquisite images; they so deftly capture the feeling of the creative process.