CriticalDance Forum

Tips for remembering spacing/lining oneself up with the rest
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Author:  rhythm_dreamer [ Mon May 13, 2013 9:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Tips for remembering spacing/lining oneself up with the rest

Hi! I am 16 years old and I am in the Studio Company at my ballet school. This means that I get to perform in all of the shows that my school puts on, and since my school is very Balanchine, we do a ton of his works-and this involves a lot of corps work. My biggest problem when learning choreography and rehearsing it is spacing. I can usually remember the general spot on the floor where I am supposed to be (quarter, eighth, center etc) but I am terrible at lining myself up with the other dancers and getting to the precise spot where I am supposed to be every time there is a formation change. I have a very rough time telling whether I am in line with my opposite or not, in line with everyone else in a diagonal or not, etc. etc. etc. Does anyone have any tips for improving my spacial awareness? This is definitely my weakest spot as a dancer, remembering spacing and spacing myself precisely when doing corps work. If anyone knows of any tips or tricks that would help me, that would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Author:  Dean Speer [ Tue May 14, 2013 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tips for remembering spacing/lining oneself up with the rest

Good question! I've found that if you follow the outside shoulder of the person in front of you (say you are moving in a figure 8, for example) this does it, rather than focusing on following their entire body or back. If you are facing someone, focus on one of their eyes, not both. Try giving yourself the exercise of using your peripheral vision outside of dance and see how you can apply that to your dance work. Look straight ahead and while doing so, make a list of what you can see to the outside of your left/right field of vision. Now, when you take regular ballet class, without losing your own concentration and bearings, try to notice little things such as who is marking along with your group or what someone is wearing different that day.

You'll most likely find that you already a fair degree of skill that you are perhaps not aware of. I'm sure you've noticed things while dancing. Dancing -- and performing -- is, after all, being in the moment, not being dancing robots, as practiced as we may be. I like to coach this concept so dancers know it's okay to adjust as they need to.

Approach your ballet master/mistress with this question and they'll probably have some suggestions as well. Or talk to your teacher.

You're not the only one challenged by this and I'm glad you're aware of it and want to address it early in your career.

Best wishes for happy dancing!

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