Avoiding Questions While I Make a Dance

I'll start with an admission: It's been awhile since I made a dance. It's been almost exactly two years in fact, since I went in the studio and made something from scratch. In that time I've made quite a few student pieces, some of which I like a lot, but we all know that's a very different process. When you have a time limit, a music genre, a limited vocabulary, and a large group of young dancers to work with, you just do the work of putting everything together. You try your best to make the young dancers look good. What you don't do is grapple with the question "Why?" Why am I making a solo rather than a duet, why am I asking for music inspired by the landscape of Arizona, what is my dancer dancing about???

I'm hoping that once I get into the studio, I can turn these why questions into how questions, like "How will the dancer enter the stage, how will she relate to the music and to the musicians, how will she get from phrase A to phrase B." I know that productive "how" questions can easily slide back to second-guessing "why" questions. I also know that when I'm the dancer, the most productive rehearsals happen when the choreographer doesn't question why she's making the decisions she is, but just goes with them and sees where they take her.

So far, I've let the questions sit off to the side while I focused on the easy first steps, the logistics of making a piece - I found collaborators in two awesome musicians and one strong, smart dancer; we nailed down a rehearsal schedule, and have performance dates to work towards. (Thanks, NACHMO for the dates. That helps.) And we have our first rehearsal tomorrow....