Dance, as with most art, can teach us about how to harness the tension between order and creativity in an organisation and in ourselves.
An hour spent watching professional dancers rehearse is a humbling experience. Their discipline, intrinsic drive to perfect the smallest of moves, facial expressions, even the position of their fingers are inspirational for most workers whose main driver is whether Dorothy put doughnuts in the boardroom for morning tea.
"When I watch her create movement phrases, to me it's the musical equivalent of listening to Bach improvise a fugue," says Fox, a renowned composer and sound artist. "It's incredibly intuitive but brilliantly precise at the same time."
Lake says of her collaboration with Fox on A Small Prometheus: "We have pushed each other into this place and we have ended up with a piece that has quite a lot of tension in it. We didn't set out to make that; it's where we have been led."
Lake says she often works with dancers in an improvisatory way and then selects those passages she wants to "fix", or retain in the final piece.
But for A Small Prometheus she wanted the dance to suggest instability, or constant flux, so some passages are fixed and others are a little unplanned. "Bodies melt, cascade, fall into each other," she says. "Often things go wrong. It hasn't been lethal, but it's risky. There are sections in this work - which is new for me - that are essentially loose and unpredictable."
These are the nouns of an authentic life of a person and an organisation. We suppress them at our peril.
Almost all of us read these as signs of error, failure, disaster, impending job loss. Leaders not only allow these elements to exist, they fan them.
That's why Leaders are brave and rare. Not for the reason we traditionally assume - ie that they need courage to make the tough, unpopular decisions needed to preserve order.
A Leader is called to create the space and hold all of these contradictions within, amidst the fear, anger, anxiety, conflict and uncertainty that inevitably arise. The Leader perseveres despite the failures and the criticisms because this is what she is called to do. There is almost no choice for her.
As Stephanie Lake said about her work:
'We didn't set out to make that; it's where we have been led. '