When you dance a step, you want to tell a story but it is not as simple as just thinking about feelings or emotions. This article will give you ideas on how to break down your steps and help you focus on their meaning.
It is a Part 2 article, so have a look the the previous post How to add meaning to you dance steps? Pt.1 .
Follow these points to make your dance steps more than just "dance steps", if you know what I mean:
Make sure you do your homework and read about the dance you are preparing. Surprisingly, not many dancers know the history, origins and development of the Ballroom and Latin American Dances. Are you one of them?
Without knowing what the characteristics of each dance are, you have no chance of showing anything except different facial expressions.
Maybe 10 minutes of your practice could be spent reading about the history of Ballroom and Latin dancing.
2. Who, Why, When and What?
To help you break down a step ask yourself these questions:
Who are you trying to be? A dominant woman, an innocent girl, a perfect technician?
Why are you that? You want to show your strength, your artistic side, your knowledge?
When are you like that? Throughout the step, at the beginning of the step or at the end?
What are you actually doing? Opening eyes or closing them, smiling or showing sadness.
Imagination is a key.
Once you have done your research and decided who you want to be at a specific step, imagine what this "character" would think and feel. Are you gonna be sexy, romantic, angry? Then be that throughout the entire step. Can you keep the focus?
Remember that as a dancer you must never stop working on your technique. Without it, you will struggle to deliver any story or meaning- your idea is not enough. In fact, technique can also be a meaning in itself.
Could a piece of your choreography be simply about how precise and clear your Reverse Wave or a Chasse Cape are? Yes, of course.
Some people get easily bored with it but actually there are ways to make it more exciting. Read my blog on How to design a 1-hour solo practice session.
When you combine these points a story will start emerging. It does not have to stay the same throughout the whole dance. The best performers will keep changing the intention as they dance. It may take some time for you to be consistent at it, but it will definitely be worth it.
How do you start?
Pick a dance and 3 steps in which you feel most comfortable (you are balanced and poised). Then dissect each of these steps and give them your "meaning". Everytime you dance them stay focused on that meaning and over time the story will develop even further.
Have fun with it because that's when the excitement of performance starts.
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Photo Credits: Maggiore Fotografico