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!