Okay, we all know the importance of warming up our muscles before dancing or working out. Now that the weather is warmer, yippee, it is time to pay attention to our bodies. As we warm up, it may become easier to fully stretch and reach the extensions of our muscles. This is exciting. It is also easy to notice trouble spots. Treat these areas with care and be sure you are paying attention to them while you dance. Injuries happen in dance and paying attention to your body could help you prevent something bad from happening. Performances are coming up and nobody wants to be stuck sitting out come showtime. Oh, and don’t forget that the best time to stretch is after a big workout because it helps your body gain flexibility! Keep on dancing!
There is a certain amount of acting that goes along with dancing and most of the physical acting work that a dancer does is with his or her face! Facial expressions in dance are taking on a prime importance in showing the meaning behind the dance. Even ballerina’s in Swan Lake have to change from the traditional smile to sadness and despair while enduring a horrible curse. Dancers expressing pain and sorrow have to move their jaw, cheeks and feel the emotion so that it is seen in their eyes.
I have the wonderful challenge of dancing a piece where my facial expression changes vibrantly as the story of the dance is told. I start out eager and happy, this is super easy for me and my disposition I then have to become annoyed, I guess I could think about my little brother and how he threw tantrums until he was 5 years old, but feeling my character being thrown into a ditch may work better. I then try again at my goal, but cannot be as happy and perky. This is the biggest challenge of all, it’s hard to portray disappointment and anger when a dream of mine is coming true. The final stage of anger, frustration followed almost immediately with the act of giving up on my goal completely will also be hard. I guess I will begin by laughing at myself as I make endless amounts of silly faces in the mirror. Then I will try getting suggestions from friends and family, it will be fun to see them imitate me! Then it will be up to my audiences (you know, after notes from the director) to interpret the emotion in the movement.
Wonderful dancing times ahead!
In case you missed it in this weeks class, choreography is being thrown at you. Are you paying attention to the details in the movement that teachers and choreographers are showing? There is a lot of movement that goes into just a few seconds of dancing, be sure you catch on efficiently by keeping your senses keen.
Use your eyes to see the specifics of the movement, directions to turn, and how well you are doing by using the mirror. Don’t use the mirror to memorize a dance, instead use the mirror to practice making sure your arm ends up in the right place, that your toe is pointed if need be and to practice facial expressions.
Use your ears to listen to the musicality of the movement. If there is music, listen to the timing, if not, listen to how the your body moves through the space. There will be cues for you to hear and that will tell you how to dance.
Use your sense of touch when moving about the floor. Your feet feel a certain way as you perform technique, your hands flow through space then land in a particular way. What do you touch as you move? Do you glide one hand down your leg, or grab a partner’s foot as they kick it into the air?
Use taste and smell after any dance class to refresh with healthy snacks and meals, this is important to keep your body ready for more choreography.
Your senses have a big part in dance and how well you learn choreography. Have fun with this time, as any details missed will be drilled when teachers clean up the dances.
Right about now there are dancers who have made the New Year’s Resolution to get fit, perfect that pirouette, finally accomplish the handstand and so on. How far have you gotten with your goal, and what was your motivation for making the goal anyway?
Whatever your motivation may have been, now is not the time to give up or slack in the way of dance. Preparing for a Spring show takes hard work and it is good to expect growth in your experience. A great way to keep yourself motivated is to challenge your friends to see who can do the most push ups (if gaining upper body strength is your goal). Another thing to do is get a friend to take a picture/video of your progress each week. This way when you reach your goal, you will always be able to see your progress. A different way to track your progress is by ruler. For instance, if you are trying to achieve a split, you can measure how far away from the ground you are when you try your split, then track how flexible you become each week.
Whatever your motivation, keep reaching for your goals.
Show season is right around the corner and dancers of all ages are getting excited about costumes. It is a wonderful time of dressing up and taking super cool pictures with friends, oh yeah and performing too!
It is such a let down to receive your costume and have to keep it on a hanger looking all pretty until showtime when all you want to do is put it on and show everyone how spectacular it is going to look on stage. This waiting adds to the anticipation of performing and there is no secret that it is important to a dancer that she look fabulous.
That said, there is a lot of work that goes into the costumes. Sequins of all sizes, shapes and colors are undoubtedly scattered throughout production areas as seamstresses put together the fashionable works of art. Even a simple tutu for a ballet costume could take weeks to put together because of the intricate details that need special attention with tutus, they don’t seem so simple after you learn how to make one. Whatever the costume, it should enhance the dance and help a choreographers vision of that dance come to life.
At District Dance, we have a few costumes that have been chosen from a place outside of the normal costume books. Some of the skirts seen in our recital this June are being handmade and I am sure it will add the extra touch that will make our dancers look just right.
Showtime is coming, it is so exciting!