When performing, what is the last thing you do before the next thing you do?
in a count
in a phrase
What is the last thing your audience sees?
after a pause
and a breath
There is no stopping in dance. Even when you are standing still, you haven’t…. stopped.
There is no move. wait. and move again. In dance there is only…. continue.
Continue to the end of….. every movement, every count, every phrase and breath and extension. Continue your awareness and intention and move through space, into space and BEYOND. Take your audience to the very end…. of…. every……………. moment.
Our upcoming winter recital’s theme is The Sweet Shoppe. Our students will be performing with many different inspirations: candies, cakes, chocolate, etc. You would see many sweet smiles and happy dances if you came to our recital, but my blog today is about a deeper concept of sweetness. I’m referring to dance as a gift given to the audience and the sweetness in the giving. If you think of your performance as an actual gift, then your movements are informed by motivations such as:
This gift is especially for you.
My goal is to bring you joy.
As you delight in me, I delight in you.
Such moments between a dancer and an audience are like Christmas morning or a birthday party, where giving and receiving is held with honor between people. There is that vulnerable moment of sweet expectation when you give a gift and the receiver rejoices that they matter to you.
Dancers – Give the sweet gift of yourself! When your joyful light shines your audience unwraps the best present: Your heart. Who wouldn’t delight in receiving that?
Studying the Vitruvian Man is very beneficial for a dancer. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote of man standing limbs apart:
“…know that the centre of the extended limbs will be the navel…”
What a great visual when considering how to use your limbs – Where do they start? Not at your hip and shoulder joints but in your center.
And consider this among his list of human proportions:
“The length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man.”
Are you using your arms in a way that is equal to your height? Have you broken through the concept of personal space to consider that you may not be taking up your actual personal space?
And what about interpersonal space? Observe the outstretched stance of the image. Notice how we are in our most perfect, symmetrical place when we are reaching out. How might that affect how you interact with other dancers? What kind of connections can be made?
Consider where these concepts of line and symmetry might take you:
“Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole.”
This riff on Aristotle’s and Euclid’s ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ begins your journey into the concept of synergy – amongst your bodily members, your fellow dancers, the world around you. The total sum of your expression as a dancer is more, way more, than the sum of the individual parts of yourself that you bring. But you have to bring it all – body, emotions, mind. All in. Stand in the stance of the outstretched Vitruvian Man. Stand there for at least a minute and feel yourself expand into the space around you. Do this before a performance and see where it takes you. You are an actual work of art!