Magic happens when the choreographer steps back and the dancers take the choreography into their own bodies. It happens when the curtain rises and the lights come up. It happens in the studio when the teacher stops giving the counts and the dancers must move together. Each time I ran the music for their combo to "Vogue" tonight, I demo'd a little less, replaced vocals with hand gestures, replaced yelling the counts with claps, then snaps. By the end, I'm an audience member, enjoying the flair that each dancer has offered to the movement that they've been handed. They may not all know the full combination in its entirety, but together, all of the knowledge is "in the room" as Harrison Owen, conceptualizer of "Open Space Technology" might say. When this happens in organizations, it looks like the leader or team lead offering a vision or direction and then stepping back and allowing their team to take ownership of their work. The team problem solves and sometimes surprises themselves with what they can achieve. What happens when this moment doesn't happen? At least in the dance world, dancers feel bombarded by the choreographer continuing to nitpick all the way up to the moment they get on stage. The choreography never becomes their own, and artistry is replaced by fear. In dance and in organizations - unlike the visual arts - the work is never truly owned by the creator but by all who dance it, evolve it, and make it real.
In short: letting go = going further.