When choreographers have a vision, it’s usually about the work in its entirety. The concept. The story. The feelings they hope the movement evokes. That’s what touches the audience and speaks to their soul; the essence and the spirit of the moving bodies.
This translates to setting works on younger dancers as well. Sometimes though, without proper guidance and explanation during rehearsals, what winds up happening and becoming habit is that dancers become fixated on, “the steps,” and not the actual nuances and transitions which make a piece effortless, fluid and cohesive.
Today, especially, when dance is inundated with pieces that look more like gymnastics floor routines and endless acro elements, it can be hard to differentiate and get the message across that audiences are going to walk away not remembering the five right side tilts you did, but what moved them about the piece. Sure, there may be a moment here and there where they remember a certain movement, but more times than not, that’s not what captures people.
Young dancers have gotten in the habit of placing, “execution” over “artistry” and there is a difference. The combination of both will make a piece unstoppable but any good dance teacher understands the concept of not wanting to “see” the choreography but “see” the dancer.
So, the next time you are setting a piece, think about how your dancer is approaching it. Are they executing the steps (albeit flawlessly) or understanding how to move through the movement with breath, dimension, emotions, dynamics, characterization, nuance and soul. If you can get your dancers to start to understand the importance of this, combined with solid technique and passion, they will transcend their dances to new heights.
See you in the dance studio,
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