One of my favorite pieces of music is Igor Stravinsky's Circus Polka. In 1941, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus commissioned the famed choreographer George Balanchine to write a ballet for a somewhat unconventional ensemble: fifty human dancers and fifty trained elephants. Given the freedom of selecting a composer for the the pachyderm production, Balanchine immediately turned to Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine later recounted their telephone conversation:
GB: "I wonder if you'd like to do a little ballet with me."
IS: "For whom?"
GB: "For some elephants."
IS: "How old?"
GB: "Very young."
IS: "All right. If they are very young elephants, I will do it."
Artistic decisions are made in many ways. Mostly through intuition; Knowing whether it is possible to accomplish the intention when presented with a media. Knowing the media causally is often the only option, but trusting one's ability to manipulate the given media is most important. Making art is a leap of faith; Faith in one's own ability. Where am I going with my great effort? Slowly I move toward realization of my deepest concerns. Art-Making, after all, is finding one's own voice, one's own manner of seeing, then swinging through the trees with glee as realization of one's intent begins to match one's intuition.
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