What if...?

Every day, the whole day from the minute you get up is potentially a dance

- Deborah Hay

Original painting by Lynne Cameron

Original painting by Lynne Cameron

I had been searching for this quote that I had copied out several years back and eventually found it in one of my notebooks. Deborah Hay is a dancer and experimental choreographer, and her work is fascinating. However, it was this statement of commitment and opportunity that had caught my attention. Of how dance is not just what a dancer does but how a dancer lives every minute of their day. How a dancer perceives the day - as a potential dance. A dancer’s body is trained to dance and becomes a dancing body, and everyday living becomes a dance. The gap between the lived moment and dance is erased.

At the time I wrote down the quote in the notebook, I had started to shift my life – I had moved from full time to part time work so that I could commit two days a week to my painting, had moved from the country to a tiny flat in central London to see more art and ballet, and take an advanced painting class.

I tried the idea on for size – what would it mean to see the day from inside an artist’s perspective?

What if, every day, the whole day from the minute I get up is potentially an act of painting?

I had to change the grammar a bit because ‘a dance’ also contains the movement of dancing, whereas ‘a painting’ seems to mean the finished object rather than including the action of making it.

It made me try, for a few days, to experience the minutes of a day in that way. It changes how you see the world, how you feel the day. It didn’t turn me into an artist overnight but it contributed to that shift in perspective.

You could try it – substitute your own poetic passion, write down the question, and allow yourself to feel your way to answers. It could give you a new perspective on what’s possible.

What if, every day, the whole day from the minute I get up is potentially a dance?

a poem?

a photograph?

a film?

a song?


an act of looking?

an act of noticing?

an act of contemplating?

an act of drawing?


If you want more support in building your poetic life, people are signing up for the online course that starts in two weeks, Catching the Whispers . Perhaps it’s what you’ve been looking for?


Lynne CameronComment