How To Be The Best Artist You Can Be: Exclusive With Zoee Marsh
‘If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.’
“I was the student in the class that asked 100 questions and still to this day, I ask 100 questions.”
Zoee Marsh is one of the most sought-after dance choreographers in the Australian market. Her vision for beauty and compassion in a piece of work is a quality that makes Zoee unique. Her inspiration is drawn from the general aura of life; moved by a simple sound of music on a busy city street; a vivid sunset gracefully lowering behind the ocean’s infinite space or even a raw emotion that fires up in her belly.
“I once completed a 10-day silent meditation camp and it made me deeply understand that there is beauty in everything. When we fully realise that beauty is everywhere—in the worst of the situations, you can always find it to pull from,” Zoee says. “We are upon the luckiest of the lucky to do what we love every day and that is one of my definitions of happiness.”
One of the best ways to solidify yourself as a well-rounded artist is to not let dance define who you are. “Dance doesn’t define me. Dance is a part of my life, and a part that I love with all my heart, but I believe to be the best artist I can be, I need to have many life experiences to pull from.” Zoee acknowledges her identity is shaped by her sense of morality, which has been ingrained in her by her family and mentors, teaching her how to appreciate life’s beauty and to show kindness to others. “My urge to travel and jump in the ocean at any give moment, bush walking through mother nature, searching for waterfalls, finding the perfect avocado and trying something new every day,” is what she yearns for in a passion. Dance for Zoee is about the three ‘e’ words: expression, experience, and experiment. Without experience, it is almost impossible to express certain feelings and emotions that you have not felt before—this comes through time and maturity. It is also vital to exercise all sides of your brain to fully unleash your creativity. “Recently I have missed using my brain in a mathematical format, so I have started to create movement tasks that come from mathematic formulas. So now my mind through dancing can indulge in that bizarre craving,” says Zoee.
Zoee only started dancing at age 12 but decided at 16-years-old she would take it seriously. As a lover of tap, Zoee found solace in beating sounds into the floor and having creative license to produce noise through dance. “In reflection, tap was my instrument. I am a very musical person and never played an instrument. I remember in classes during secondary school, all I wanted to do but make new rhythms with my pencils on the table to try with my feet after school.” Zoee felt blessed to be able to learn from Australia’s finest tap teachers, which gave her a strong foundation for the style. During her senior schooling, she fell in love with musical theatre and contemporary movement. From this passion she had so deeply felt, she wanted to pursue VCE dance with ambitions of becoming a professional dancer.
Zoee does not deny there are challenges with pursuing a dance career, particularly with gaining a decent financial flow. “The freelance world is full of setbacks,” says Zoee. “I have a very strong and positive mind, so I don’t let myself sweat too much when they occur.” The beauty of being a dancer and choreographer is knowing passion will set your happiness free. However, like any job, it is important the constant seesaw act of income and passion is in line. Everything feels worthwhile when you see the end result of a piece you have created from scratch. “Ideas are the seeds we must water to create change and opportunity within our field,” she adds. “There have been two times I can count that I have really had to pull myself out of a spiraling mental freakout, and in this case, I simply remind myself how lucky I am to do what I love every day.” Art is like a journey up a rocky mountain; where there are sharp edges and steep climbs, but once you reach the peak of the mountain, you can bask in the glory that is hard-work and persistence. Zoee says, “I believe that if I stay as passionate, determined and true to my art, the setbacks will only be remembered as a small bump on what is a glorious long road of art.”
To Zoee, dance is her vehicle to express everything she absorbs while aiming to live the most exciting and adventurous life she can. She will be instructing at the Victorian Dance Festival on March 18th-19th at the Melbourne Town Hall.
To be the best artist you can be, just live and you will learn.
This article was originally published by Jessica Poulter on the Victorian Dance Festival’s Blog.