Playing around with images…
Word Study for Dancers: Confident
Borrowed the standtall image from the standtallevent, looks like a great organization!
Cambré is more than a stretch. As you create space in the vertebrae, as you expand through your chest and shoulders, you are finding a path to emotional expression through the use of your torso.
It is realizing that your whole body is breathing and moving, not just your arms and legs. You dance with your whole self.
In letting go, in focusing on your heart, the cambré will lead you to greater depth of expression through your port de bras and your dancing will come alive!
Oh I’m going in deep today! Today’s word study: GIVE
How can we apply the concept of GIVE to dancers with regard to performance?
First some questions to think about:
What exactly are you giving?
And who are you giving it to?
A quick read in a thesaurus reveals quite a few synonyms for GIVE that hint at holding back, hesitation, maybe even resentment:
A dancer who is uncertain, not confident, SELF-ABSORBED, may be stingy in the giving of him/herself to an audience. What might you be holding close to your chest? What is it within that is distracting you from the opportunity at hand? The audience will know if you are not fully vested in the moment.
Some words for GIVE are rather cool and uncaring, revealing lack of emotional involvement. An audience can smell this lack a mile away:
Let’s get to the crux of the matter.
NOW we are getting somewhere! I love the idea that your performance does not belong to you, is not your own – because all art must be filtered through another. An observer’s personal point of view, experience, emotional state and objectives will interpret what she sees and make a determination of what it is and what it means. When you entrust another with your performance you have entered into a form of relationship with them.
So this is your GIFT to your audience: To freely allow them to take your performance and to transform it INTO THEIR OWN IDEA. You give it away and it is forever changed. It is not yours. It is not you. It is something altogether new.
If you understand that your performance is an act of loving, if you are willing to lavish upon another your joy of expression, then you will not hold back your true self, totally open and fully present. Now THAT is truly GIVING. Your performance will elevated, shining. And your audience will experience a moment they will never forget.
Will you allow this process to take place? Will you give?
Not every day in the studio is your best day ever. That’s ok!
Some credits (I try to credit when possible!):
From our recent recital, The Carnival of Imagination, this image is from Maskarad, a ballet I choreographed for my advanced class.
I was struck at how transformative wearing a mask was for my dancers! Just a bit of covering over the eyes and yet it helped them to disappear into new personalities, freeing them in ways that made their dancing better than ever!
You can use the imagery of a mask to aid you in your own dancing. Use a mental mask to hide anything that might hold you back: worries and fears, stage fright, shaky confidence.
Or, go deeper and experiment with a real mask while practicing in the studio. If you aren’t really sure of WHO you are as a dancer, then you might be surprised at what identity comes out as you dance behind a covering. I have seen very shy dancers become alive while wearing a mask and all sorts of interesting qualities come to the surface – coquettish, dramatic, diva. It’s fascinating!
Let the hidden things reveal the best parts of you and you will become larger than life and own the stage!
Photography by Karen Boening
A quick look at ‘confidence’ in the thesaurus reveals much. Just reading and really pondering upon each of these words will help your confidence as a dancer.
backbone, boldness, brashness
certainty, cool, courage,
daring, dash, determination
faith in oneself, fearlessness, firmness, fortitude
pluck, poise, presumption
reliance, resoluteness, resolution
self-possession, self-reliance, spirit, spunk, sureness
There, now don’t you feel more confident?
Now go back to the top and take another look at the painting, note the dancer’s facial expression and body language. BE that dancer in your next class or performance. BE that dancer every day and your joy in dancing will soar!