A funny thing about deciding to make a thing with more than just you, whether it’s art or business or a little of both, is you don’t really think about how you need to gather people who are like-minded in vision, but also approach tasks from a different perspective than you. You think about who you respect. You think about your friends who you enjoy time with. You think about who you’d want to depend on. But you don’t really sit down and brainstorm people whose brains can puzzle-piece with yours; a person who can fill in the gaps on things that didn’t even occur to you. That’s really a hard thing to even know about someone until you work with them.
Weirdly (gloriously? amazingly?), the team here at Atelotorque, puzzle-pieces brilliantly. We have completely diverse capabilities and strengths with regard to show production and business acumen. Plus we just think completely differently, and have been able to play off each other and boost our concepts and ideas to far more creative and beautiful results than any of us would have accomplished alone. Which, I guess is synergy? Whatever you want to call it, it feels very lucky and important.
Take, for instance, our name: Atelotorque. When deciding we were going to produce a show, I tend to be single-mindedly focused on the creative vision of WHAT we’re going to do. The thing. The thing and making it cool and meaningful, and just HOW we’re going to convey the ultimate artistic message in a cohesive and interesting way consumes my thoughts and drives me. Tawnya, on the other hand, goes straight for the details that are necessary for support of the project, that don’t register as a need to me. “We need to decide on a name,” she told us one day, early on in the process. “Hm…” I thought in response, “that does seem like a thing we should have, just at least for clarity’s sake.”
My approach for coming up with a name was to really think about what producing a show means to me, what I want to convey to the audience, and how I want us to be perceived by the general public, and then braindump a list of all of the possible words and phrases I associate with that meaning. Tawnya’s was to start by Googling “ways to come up with a business name,” which literally would never have occurred to me. In hindsight, of course it makes sense there are tactics that have been compiled on a list, but I tend to be a reinvent-the-wheel thinker, apparently. I cannot even tell you how useful it is to have partners to redirect your thinking and focus your energy on specific tasks when you need it. With the techniques Tawnya presented to us we were able to focus our collective brainstorming energy and come up with Atelotorque.
Atelo is a greek prefix that means boundless, endless, or imperfect. It also includes the first letter of each of our names (Amy, Tawnya, Elizabeth, and Lindsay). Torque is a twisting force that tends to cause rotation. It’s the force that leads to spin (vital to the world of the aerialist in infinite forms). Atelotorque is a word we created that speaks to the idea of an endless, boundless, imperfect spin. We find beauty in the journey of our art and movement, and specific loveliness not just despite the inevitable flaws, but also because of them. Life and art are about learning, which must inherently begin from an imperfect place, and is an endless process. Atelotorque is a tornado, majestic in its force and power, controlled by nature, mesmerizing. Atelotorque is the acrobatic sister of the Japanese aesthetic world view, wabi-sabi, which “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”* Atelotorque is how we’ll use our movement, both beautiful, and still always striving for perfection, to teach you something about how we experience and interpret the world.
*Richard Powell, via Wikipedia.