When we teach young dancers and they are starting to execute movement, often times the comprehension of that somatic initiation and execution takes a while to sink in. We all have had dancers who can replicate a piece of choreography we give them but don’t quite grasp where that movement should be coming from and more importantly what it should feel like.
Often times the word, “energy” comes out of my mouth when I’m giving choreography because dance is not static, even when the choreography is shape driven. There’s a breath and a life that should be circulating through it, even when we are in stillness.
With that in mind, young dancers often initiate movement from their extremities, i.e. arms, legs, etc. when in truth movement comes from the core outward and the energy should be breathing life through the three exit points, head, fingers, toes. The lack of attention paid to the energy transcended in these areas often creates movement which is cut short, incomplete and unfinished. This is where we as dance teachers must explain that the energy must be exiting the top of the head and finishing the lines completely, stretching through those fingers and toes.
The difference is remarkable. Once dancers make that connection and integrate the suspension and stretch, not only will their movement look more complete but their use of breath enhances musical phrasing, timing, and dynamics. It may take some diligence and repetition to make the concept stick but eventually it will be become inherent as their technique becomes muscle memory.
See you in the dance studio!
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