How do you deal with your professional knowledge? What’s your relationship with your intellectual property? Does it ever feel like your supply is going to run low?

Some people think that creativity is a zero-sum game. As if there is a limited supply in a bucket, and it’s in danger of running out. But really, creative expression is like a muscle. If you learn how to keep it in shape, and understand the energetic rules of contribution, not only will your well never run dry, you’ll build yourself a foundation that will support you for years to come.

There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding on this topic, especially in fields like conscious dance where well-meaning entrepreneurs are trying to differentiate and create unique programs while dipping into the depths of universal knowledge.

The thing to understand is that we live in a world where information is increasingly available for free. You might have to cut through a lot of noise, but almost every needle can be found somewhere in the haystack of the Internet.

What’s not readily available are the maps, models, or support you might need to put the knowledge into use. It’s like going to the store and buying a lovely organic gluten-free cake. You can hold the beautiful finished product in your hand, and you can read the entire list of ingredients that went into making it on the label.

But as anyone who’s ever attempted baking well knows, if you were to simply mix up all of those ingredients at once in a bowl and put them in the oven you would wind up with a big ugly ball of glop.

The recipe is the roadmap. You have to know which ingredients to mix first, and in what order. How hot does the oven need to be? How long do you need to bake it? And if you really want to become a pro at baking, you would do well to find support. You could take a class and study with a professional to learn as many tips and techniques as possible.

Movement modalities have similar characteristics. Most draw from the universal well of embodiment and mindfulness, with ingredients such as meditation, fitness, and body intelligence. The successful ones are able to distill their particular approach into a memorable map or methodology which can become branded or trademarked intellectual property.

The support and specific trainings required to teach others how to deliver these maps and methods true to form are the financial lifeblood for successful modalities. Trainees gain valuable and marketable experience along with the rights to offer their work under a well-known banner.

So obviously it’s not in the best interest of any given modality to simply give away their map or model or intellectual property to anyone who cares to run with it. But much like the cake in the store, the ingredients and end product are on display for anyone to see. In this case, it’s happy and healthy people using the tools of movement and embodiment to lead better lives.

Some entrepreneurs use the phrase “moving the free line” to describe the process of giving away their best stuff in order to build a tribe, grow their audience, and succeed in business. You see it all the time with top coaches and thought leaders regularly offering bits and pieces of their work freely to the public. Like the peacock with me in the photo above, there’s always some beauty to share!

The psychology works like this. When you see a leader freely offering tastes and tidbits of so many of their great ingredients, you can’t help but think that their proprietary recipe (map), or training/support program (model), must really be worth investing in. Seeing the basics of what goes into their success is one thing, knowing the sequence of steps in the recipe and having a mentor to hold your hand while you learn is another. Being trained and authorized to offer their brand of knowledge takes it to another level.

For movement leaders, I believe it’s crucial to understand the difference between scarcity and abundance consciousness. The key to what I call “contributor culture” is understanding how to channel your creativity effectively. A unique map, model, or support system is something you can claim as your own and always bank on.

Yet the universal building blocks that form the basis of the benefits are there for the giving, like tastes of a cake that lead someone through the door of your bakery. By applying your creativity to the myriad ways that, for instance, moving meditation helps people live better lives, you plant the seeds for those who recognize the value and want to invest in a formal training or support program using your particular map and methods.

Something to think about as you prime the pump of your creativity. You have an infinite supply of inspiration and ideas flowing from the the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Learn how to discern between your proprietary property where you can harvest your value and the open source ingredients that are yours for the giving.

Dancing with you once again, much love until next week!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

DANCE FIRST SPOTLIGHT – Capacitor – Dance, Cirque, and Sculpture Company!

This week’s Dance First Spotlight is a special shout out to theCapacitor performance company, and their founder and artistic director Jodi Lomask, a long-time friend and associate of mine in the dance and art world.

Capacitor is a dance, cirque, and sculpture company that works with scientists and artists to create shows and installations about the natural world. Our visually-stunning, auditory experiences are delivered on abstract structures by athletic dancers, acrobats, aerialists, and contortionists. These displays, grounded in scientific understanding, offer many portals into the work for audiences of all ages.

Celebrating their 20th year as a creative force in the Bay Area with a groundbreaking retrospective at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco from May 17-20 entitled “Left to Her Own Devices – 20 Years of Sculpture in Motion” that includes a wide range of Capacitor works enacted by 20 dynamic performers, this is your opportunity to experience their unique approach to movement, music, sculpture, and choreography firsthand.

Capacitor holds a special place in my heart, for as many of you may know, my alter ego and parallel career is in sculpture and metal fabrication. In fact, I was the first artist to collaborate with Jodi in the design and construction of several of the large interactive sculptures that will be featured in this show.

By combining the strength and structural aesthetics of welded and curved steel with the form and movement potential of the human body, Capacitor is able to bridge the realms of art and choreography to create a truly remarkable new form of beauty. Their performances are breathtaking surreal experiences that transcend whatever preconceived notions of dance or choreography that you may have.

Each night is launched with a pre-show talk related to one of Capacitors performance themes such as the ocean, the rainforest, or neuroscience and the human biome. Plan your experience around one of these thought provoking discussions!

Thursday, May 17: Dr. Tierney Thys, a National Geographic Explorer, will speak about the astounding ocean science and marine behaviors inspiring our dancers and choreography. Then join an ocean meditation with best selling author, marine ecologist and movement maker, Dr. Wallace J Nichols, to get in your Blue Mind before the show.

Saturday, May 19: Dr. Nalini Nadkarni will present her discoveries in the tropical rainforest canopy  — “the last biotic frontier on Earth” – and share how her Capacitor collaborations have entriched her research. Then Dr Julene Johnson – UCSF Neuroscientist – will discuss what the arts tell us about the brain and warm up your vocal chords with an exercise demonstration.

Sunday, May 20th: Julie Phelps, CounterPulse Director, will interview Left To Her Own Devices visual media designers John Fesenko, Can Büyükberber, and Terry Estioko about the process of creating the interactive video for the show.

Left To Her Own Devices is part of a broader festival at YBCA called Transform Fest which asked “Where is our public imagination?” Come to other great shows happening over the course of the two weekends including Okwui Okpokwasili, DJ Spooky / Printz Dance Project, Jessica Care Moore, Campo Santo, and Lars Jan.

Learn more and see how you can join the Capacitor Creator Circleand receive an invitation to a private post-show toast to meet the cast and crew.

Watch a rehearsal video of Left to her Own Devices.