Some dancers make every move look real. They can make you believe anything they want- they love, flirt, suffer or challenge in their dancing. The question is how can you take it to that level too?
Dancing involves emotions and feelings. All these actually come from one source which is your library of memories, emotions and experiences- whether good or bad.
How can you show love, if you have never loved? How can you touch and hold someone if you don't experience it yourself?
Let me tell you a story.
I went to South of France last week. On a Thursday 27th July at noon I was sitting on a white rock of random shapes, heated by the Sun. The sky was crystal clear and the sea was blue (the blue we all like). The waves were hitting the nearby rocks- some smaller, some bigger. The sound of waves combined with the light breeze gave the sense of freedom. There was a helicopter passing above my head now and again and a blond tourist in a red t-shirt with a white cross singing La vie en rose...
Why did I just tell you that? Well, for the first time I really listened, I really saw, tasted, smelt and felt. How interesting the experience was. We miss so many things because we only look where we are going without getting the maximum out of our journey.
You may now ask- so what?
Dancing is not just a single layered movement- an Alemana or a Feather Step. The key ingredients are your feelings, experiences, your broken heart, your need to love and literally everything that makes you- You!
Every dancer must search for experiences in life. Being a great technician in a studio is one thing, but the result may just be empty. As a dancer I am learning everyday to actively look for these sensations and always explore them. However, remember that technique goes hand in hand with this concept- it's not a substitute but a supplement.
Now, how do you add "feelings" into your dancing and make them "real"? First of all you need to experience them. Learning to sense will help you realize how you respond to these stimuli which is feeling! Try the following exercises:
Close your eyes for am minute or two and just listen. Whatever sounds these are- someone may be talking, music playing at the distance, passing car outside, shutting the door or sound of a cup being put on a table. Did you notice them before? The same applies to the music you dance to...
Open your eyes and study whatever is around you. Did you notice the shade of blue the sky is right now? What about the person next to you, what shoe laces are they wearing and what are they doing with their hands? Did you notice any clear shapes around you? All these are in fact quite simple to ignore, but why?
Touch your skin with one hand and feel the texture. How much are you pressing your fingers? Does it feel warm? What is the texture of the material your outfit is made of? Or what does it feel to touch your dance partner's top?
These are only 3 of all the senses. Experiment with them and then figure out how they make you feel. The more you study them, when you are alone, the more control you will gain over them. Your capacity to "sense" them all at once will broaden. Then you will start using these as your instruments. Have fun with it!
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Photo Credits: Sam's Photography