Creativity Workshops with Litza Bixler
Many of you will be familiar with choreographer Litza Bixler’s work ranging from commercials, music videos and feature films, including the salsa film Cuban Fury and her frequent collaborations with Edgar Wright for The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Shaun of the Dead.
Already a respected and lauded choreographer, writer and visual artist Bixler has now also become a Creative Coach and Consultant, using the Kaizen-Muse system. She is excited to be teaching regular workshops in London where she will share her wealth of experience and knowledge to help others turbo-charge their own creativity. Keep reading for Litza’s responses to some questions we put to her:
What inspired you to train as a Creativity Coach on top of all your other creative endeavours?
I’ve always wanted to empower people to connect to the stuff within themselves that generates meaning, wonder and curiosity in their lives. I considered training as a therapist at one stage, and did some counselling and hypnotherapy training a few years back.
As my life progressed, I realised that the main gift I have to give to the world is my own creativity and a genuine love of the creative process. I believe that creativity, like love, is not a finite resource. We have an infinite supply of creativity and it’s something that is in all of us.
Plus, we are all teachers. Even when I am leading a workshop, I am learning from the participants as much as they are learning from me.
2.How do you actually find the time? You are extremely prolific.
Workshops and private coaching are both very easy to fit around all of the other stuff I do. When I’m not on a shoot, I work alone a lot – which I love – but I also love those little moments of interaction with other people. Plus, I think we can always find time to do the things we love.
I don’t really go out socializing much, so that frees up time. And the nature of the freelance business is that you always have these little pockets of time between things – while travelling etc. I’ve even done coaching sessions at the end of a shoot day because I find the sessions energizing.
3.You have worked with some of the ‘greats’. What do you think it is that makes them this way?
This really varies depending on the person. Some people are ‘great’ because they are so focused on one thing – whether that’s directing, composing, painting etc. Others are great because they’ve exposed themselves to many different things – because they learn all the time and their minds remain open.
Ultimately ‘greatness’ is such a subjective idea. I think the most important thing for people is to have a sense of meaning in their lives. To feel connected to themselves, to others, to the world.
Ultimately creativity is the little piece of magic behind lots of different types of ‘greatness’.
4.From your many years as a successful choreographer and creative, what do you perceive as the main drawbacks to success?
Again, firstly, you have to look at how you as an individual define ‘success’. What is a successful life? That, in and of itself, is a huge question.
But if you’re talking about success as it’s often perceived – industry respect, earning money and all of the accoutrements that go along with that – I think one big drawback is losing touch with the process. Especially the part of your job that originally brought you joy, and I think success can create pressure.
Baseball manager, Joe Maddon says: ‘Never let the pressure exceed the pleasure’.
5. Are we all creative? Is it a mind-set, or something we can all aspire to and engender?
I believe we are all creative. It is an ability, or a potential really – like language – that humans are particularly well set up for. That doesn’t mean creativity doesn’t need nurturing though. It can become inhibited in us from a young age.
But if you watch a child learning, you realise how innately creative human beings are. I think as adults, it’s often about reconnecting with that child self, before we became too caught up in meeting social expectations and obligations.
6. In terms of the Industry, do you think there comes a time when an artist should think about another career path?
That all depends. I do think if you start to hate what you do, if you lose that sense of joy and wonder, then you either need to consider something else, or look at ways of rediscovering what you loved about your job in the first place; to approach it with a Beginner’s Mind.
On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to have a job that you enjoy, but don’t absolutely love: to work to live essentially. There’s nothing wrong with that. And then it’s about finding joy and connection in other aspects of your life – learning, creating and/or raising a family.
You might have a job that doesn’t fulfil your creative curiosity, but then have a hobby that does. And being a parent can also be a creative act.
7.Obviously there is a time limit working as a professional dancer? What are your thoughts on this? And relevance as to gender where Hollywood is particularly brutal.
Yes, and it’s interesting that this gender disparity in Hollywood has remained, especially in film. TV is a little better – and in terms of fiction writers – women are very well represented. So there’s something curious going on in film in particular; it is a very male dominated industry.
And yes, there is a time limit with any physical profession. Professional baseball players retire by their early forties. The body ages, it takes longer to recover from injury, etc.
I think dancers should always have a plan B for the second half of their lives. I’ve actually been the happiest since my late thirties. And while I’ve noticed all the challenges of having an aging body, I feel like my mind and spirit have grown younger as I’ve aged.
8.In regards to your upcoming Creativity Workshop what specifically will you be covering?
We’ll be asking questions like ‘Why nurture creativity in ourselves and in others?’ ‘What is creativity?’ and ‘How can we become more creative in all aspects of our lives?’
We’ll use experiential exercises to answer those questions- exercises to open the mind, and to encourage us to think differently. We will also look at creative blocks like procrastination, fear, overwhelm, perfectionism and a lack of confidence and explore using different tools to break those blocks.
9.And finally who will your Workshops benefit?
Anyone who wants to explore their creativity more – and bring more creativity to their lives, as well as those who are setting up creative businesses – and anyone who struggles with creative blocks and finds it difficult to get past them.
Here at Mark Summers Casting & Management we are excited to host more of Litza’s workshops, and I for one will be in attendance. Please check on www.litzabixler.com for further details of future Creativity Workshops and to keep up with all her past, current and upcoming projects.