Often times we see pieces and wonder what sets them apart from others. What gives them that magical, slight edge of polished nuance compared to others? I often harp on the notion with my dancers that it really is not all about the tricks and flashy embellishments in a piece, it’s in the details.
Focus is one of those important details that often gets overlooked in the rehearsal period and can make or break a piece. I’ll tell you why….Focus gives the piece its direction. Direction for the dancers’ intention and direction for the audience on where to bring their attention. When a dancer’s focus is clear, they are helping the audience along the journey. Focus can create a mood, a dynamic, a story and without it, choreography can often look likes it’s meandering in space without well…focus.
Clear focus in a piece is also essential because a dancer can look unrehearsed, unsure and unintentional in the delivery if they are not looking where they should be. That may not really be the case, but perception is everything and you know as well as I, that your eye always goes to the dancer who does not look in sync with the others. When focus is collective as an ensemble, it makes for a powerful piece, no matter the genre. It can be strong and direct, in your face with outward energy, or internal longing and searching. It very much is part of the choreography.
So, the next time you are in rehearsals, devote the time to painstakingly have your dancers go through their focus for every part of the piece. And not only the actual focus, the transitions of the focus. Be that specific. It will get everyone on the same page that much more and take your work to a whole elevated other level. It shows attention to detail and gives shape to your choreography. It demonstrates an artistry of thought and care by your dancers and that they took the time to understand not only the concept and big moments but all the little things that make for a piece that stands alone.
See you in the dance studio,
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