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 Post subject: Perfomance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 442
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I'm trying to work on how I look when I dance. It's hard to make my body ebb and flow, and all that beautiful stuff that dancers do. I've gotten a lot better as I've gotten more comfortable with the movement, however. The dance department at my school is big on expression and how you look when you move. We study ballet at school, but it's a more modern-based program (3 out of 5 modern class days, mostly modern concert choreography). The studio at which I dance (the one I started at this summer) has a more ballet than anything else, and it helped a lot- but they don't seem to care (in class, at least) about how beautiful it looks as long as it's technically correct. Okay, I know there's a question in here somewhere! Image When I dance, I feel stuff that is just, inexplainable I suppose, and I try to let it come out in my body(and face), but there's not much there. In general, I am sparing with emotion and expression- and it crosses over to the stage. My body just doesn't know how to deal with certain emotions. How can I get better at that?


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
This is going to sound really, really corny -<P>Emotion comes from inside yourself, so I personally think you should be close to yourself (if you know what I mean) and understand how your feelings work.<P>I had a real problem with emoting in dance and music and acting until I sat down and really allowed myself to feel my emotions. We are taught from a young age, nowadays, to hide our feelings. Anger and frustration are not proper emotions anymore. Neither are the "over-done" emotions like love - we are told to love and yet not to put yourself in a vulnerable position by loving. Pride "comes before a fall" and if you are sad you are supposed to either buy yourself new shoes or take pills. <P>Let yourself feel your emotions on an every-day basis and eventually that will carry over in your dance as well. It is bound to carry over, since dance is an extension of our passionate selves, and if you allow yourself to be passionate, you can't help but win out!


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bree has some wonderful thoughts there not only for dance but for life! How are you Bree? Hope you are doing well - I have been thinking about you.<P>I have always felt that not only are my emotions part of my dancing but so is my breath. We had a thread on that you might want to read, if you have not already done so:<P><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000264.html><B>Breathing Through Your Dance</B></A><P>Too many times students/people get caught up in the technical aspects, and though they are surely important, they are only a means to an end. And, that end is the dance. That's why it is an art and not a sport.<P>How a student uses the mirror is often indicative about how that student feels about her/his dance. It's great to use the mirror to check this and that, but it is not to the image in the mirror that we dance, but to the image in our heads. First you have to get an image in your head - what you want to say with your dance. <P>You have a full range of "equipment" to express that - your arms, head, eyes, face, body, breath, music......and of least importance high extensions and arched feet. The very fact that you are questioning yourself and pondering this, says that you are on the right road. Many never even think of this, Bebounce. <P>You also need to be patient with yourself. This kind of insight comes with time and experimentation. It also comes with the growth in your control of your dance technique, which in the final result gives you the freedom to express what you wish to say.<P>And never be afraid to express what it is you feel when you dance. Don't let the strictures of others structure <I>your</I> dance. Don't let the inhibitions of others inhibit you. <P>I have a great deal of faith, Bebounce, that through your search you will find your way...your very own road...and bring others along with you.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 442
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
tHat breathing through your dance article was VERY helpful- I have a copy of it in my dance notebook that I keep with me always! Image Getting better at technique has helped me a lot though. I find that sometimes the music ,and the movement, and the perfromance will move me so much, and it's not easy to control myself. I start adding a certain flavor to the movement, and my port-de-bras become all romantic and super-flowy. When I feel comfortable, I do better. I have found, however, that it helps me SO MUCH more NOT TO HAVE A MIRROR to look into. No mirror to scrutinize myself in (and that's what I do), and I can just concentrate on how the movement makes me feel. I problem, though, is that sometimes it makes me feel like changing my head positions, or REALLY flowing with the music when the rest of the people aren't using the beats like I am (so I look like I'm in slow motion my mom once told me! Image). My body just starts thinking for itself. THe good thing, though, is that it doesn't forget the choreography! Image


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have that very experience too, Bebounce. Whilst I am dancing it seems that my use of the music is different than the dancers around me. Especially in adage. I have often wondered about this and talked about it in this thread:<P><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000547.html><B>Dancing Through the Music</B></A><P>I begin at the same time as the others and finish at the same time, and we "meet" at various intervals, but my dance seems to go through the music. I usually put this down to my years of dance, and perhaps the younger dancers have changed with the times. <P>In an adage I don't like breaks. The ending of one step is the beginning of another. Unless specifically choreographed differently, I will give it a legato/connected quality. It flows through me from the music out my finger tips. And I never study the mirror. I glance at it briefly, especially at the barre. But in the center, I dance to an image in my head. <P>Adding "flavor" to your dance, Bebounce, is marvelous. Some people never get there - and some take years to do that. You are more than just someone doing the steps when you add flavor - you are an artist. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 12:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 179
Location: Paris, France(but i'm from Cyprus)
What you are saying, Basheva, about dancing through the music is one of the things my teachers thinks are most important in dancing. And I believe that I have improved a lot in this section. About how to look when you dance...I never think of how I look! I just let my body and face express themselves. i 'm not saying I only concentrate on techinque, but I never think of expression, as it comes naturally. I 'm told that most of the time I smile Image do you think that it would look silly?


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 4:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Annie, I don't a think a smile is silly, but it must be appropriate to what you are dancing.<P>If the music or the role you are dancing calls for a smile, then that is what you do. However, you realize there are many kinds of smiles, aren't there? If you were dancing a Spanish piece, you might want a saucy smile. If you were dancing Coppelia, you might want a teasing smile. If the Prince was awakening you as Sleeping Beauty, you would have a very happy surprised smile.<P>And of course, as Odette when you found out the Prince had broken his promise, you probably wouldn't smile at all. <P>Usually when I was dancing something that didn't really have a character, like in the Waltz of the Flowers in Nutcracker, I would want a pleasant look upon my face, without an actual smile. So, it depends.<P>Many times the body will show and express what your mind is feeling. But there are times when it is good think about it, how to relate that feeling through physical expression. A smile is one of those ways. You can be very happy, and yet not smiling. But if you want to show someone you are happy, then you smile. It is the physical extension of a mental attitude.<P>Another way in which we show a great deal of what we are thinking/feeling is through our hands. The human hand is endlessly expressive. If you watch the hands of a flamenco dancer, you will see many of the same movements of a ballet dancer. But the emphasis is different. <P>A ballet dancer may finish her turn with a soft legato opening of her arms and hands, drawing tiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmeeeeeee until the end of the musical phrase. Whereas a flamenco dancer to the same music may finish her turn, and use her hands much more sharply to emphasize the finality of the music.<P>Recently the movies The Godfather I and The Godfather II were on television. I was fascinated watching the hands. Italians like to use their hands for emphasis, and it was a study in how to do this. A great deal of the dialogue in these movies were accomplished without a word being spoken, just subtle, delicate movements of the hands and fingers. It kept me entranced for several hours.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited August 16, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 257
Location: St. Peters, MO USA
now this is what i like about this forum. its about dance, not silly talk. thanks ladies for that advice. hey bebounce, you mentioned that you have a dance notebook. what do you put in it? how has it helped you? do you take it just to class or keep it at home? what type of book is it? besheva, do you have one of these books too? how has it helped you? does anyone else have one of these? thanks.<BR>kim

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Great Dancers are not great dancers because of their technique: they are great dancers because of their passion -- Martha Graham<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 5:56 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have to say, that I never kept a notebook - perhaps I should have. Sometimes I would write down a combination I especially liked, but that's about it. <P>However, I really poured over dance books, both pictures and text. I studied endlessly the dancers in those pictures. Those pictures were embedded in my mind. For instance there is a beautiful picture of Margot Fonteyn as Giselle holding her skirt out in her fingers. I used to look at pictures of ballerinas doing that, but Fonteyn's way of doing it was very different.<P>What she did was to take the skirt and hold in out to the sides, but only between her forefinger and long finger. That way the skirt never looked crumpled, and the rest of her hand - especially the thumb which is often a problem - was able to be beautifully placed. I studied that picture a lot.<P>Then one day in a rehearsal we had to hold our skirts out, and I did it Fonteyn's way and the teacher just loved it and made everyone hold their skirt that way.<P>So, no, I didn't have a notebook - though that is certainly a good idea.<P>I guess I should add - having those pictures embedded in my mind is what gave me the images in my mind - to which I danced.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited August 16, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I do write down any combinations that i know we will have to remember. When i am teaching around 20 classes a week and choreographing for shows the brain can get a bit muddled. Even just looking at the first line of steps can be enough for me to remember the whole thing but you can always guarantee that if I don't write it down I will forget some stupid step in the middle.<P>I quite often keep pages of useful advice i have read on the internet which I think may be of use to my students.


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 257
Location: St. Peters, MO USA
i am starting my own notebook today. i want to use a 3ring binder to put stuff from this forum and other interesting things i find, and also loose leaf paper. thanks gang for your insites.<BR>kim

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Great Dancers are not great dancers because of their technique: they are great dancers because of their passion -- Martha Graham<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>some stupid step in the middle<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> lol! I always like the group approach to recalling whatever the heck the transition was that seems to creep up in every combination...


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 442
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Kim,<BR> I keep a ringed binder full of paper. In the pockets I put dance pics I like, and LITERRALLY TONS of posts from here that I printed- mostly Basheva's advice Image so I will remember the important things. I dte the notebook paper, and each day I write down every combination that we do in class, even if I have to make up names for some of the modern moves. And I have my own way of writing that looks like the counts and rhythm... it's funny. I write down my assets and weaknesses, stretches that I need to do, things to remember in etiquette, notes I've gotten specifically, or things that I need to repeat because I forget them easily. When we have dance history classes, I write down the info on the dances and artist, etc. This summer when I read about Balanchine (or Balanchivadze, as I learned), I put it in my notebook. I give myself emotional advice on how to deal with dance, and I write down my own choreagraphy sometimes. I also write things that I observe in other people that I need to work on, and what I need to achieve at certain times. And etc.,... it's a really helpful notebook. I am definently a focused dance-crazed girl. It's basically like those research notebooks that they make college students keep in med school science or something! Image<BR> New quote I made up:<BR> "Remember to thank your teachers for corrections- and remember to thank God for your teachers." -Me


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 Post subject: Re: Perfomance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bebounce....I am truly honored to be part of your notebook. I can't tell you how happy that makes me - it truly does. <P><P>------------------<BR>Approach life as a dancer approaches the barre, with grace and purpose.<BR>


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