Dancing in the Studio

Some days a cup of coffee is enough; it’s all you need to get in there and start working. Other days, though, it’s like you’re slogging through wet sand, like you’re moving in slow motion. The temptation is to have maybe just a teeny bit more coffee. You know, like an IV drip of coffee so strong the fumes peel the paint off the walls. I’d recommend not doing that, though. Sure, you’ll have a burst of energy, but you know what comes after that; jitters that make junkies look calm, just for starters.

What works way, way better is dancing. Nothing formal–you don’t need a video and a choreographed routine to get the blood pumping. All you need is to go through the playlist and see what pops out–which song grabs you that morning. Oldies always works for me–Archie Bell and The Drells and “Tighten Up” is my go-to for getting the sludge out–but you might like Bollywood or hip-hop, jazz or heavy metal. Whatever works for you. Turn it up loud, put it on auto-repeat, and dance!

It doesn’t have to be dancing, of course–any kind of physical activity will boost creativity (with a caveat for those who are not in good physical health, of course). This, from an article originally published in Newsweek and found on The Daily Beast:

Get moving.

Almost every dimension of cognition improves from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and creativity is no exception. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, and the boost lasts for at least two hours afterward. However, there’s a catch: this is the case only for the physically fit. For those who rarely exercise, the fatigue from aerobic activity counteracts the short-term benefits.

What makes dancing even better than just generic physical activity is that most of the artists I’ve talked to over the years say that there are certain kinds of music that always inspire them. Maybe it’s a song that always gets the ideas sparking, or maybe it’s a genre that takes your brain to a fabulously creative space. Put on that music, whatever it is, and add in dancing? A recipe for things happening.
I don’t listen to music in the studio while I’m working, and I don’t listen to much vocal music at any time. But I’ve got some songs that work for those mornings when dancing in the studio is the only way to go. Here are just a few:
“Tighten Up,” by Archie Bell and The Drells
“Beast of Burden,” The Rolling Stones
“Cut the Cake,” The Average White Band
“Boogie On, Reggae Woman,” Stevie Wonder
“Church,” Urban Knights
“Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka Khan
Well, it could go on and on, obviously, but like anything else, it’s subjective: what works for me might not work for you. So tell us: what songs get you going? We’d love to hear–and find new music to add to our own playlist titled “Dancin’ in The Studio.”


Put those dance moves to work with the “Dance on It” painting technique from Mixed Media Revolution by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson!

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