The Technique of Taking Dance Class (Part 1)
Taking class is not as easy as it seems. All of the tools you need are present in the room and within yourself, but how do you access them? It's just a matter of putting it all together to set yourself up for success. Is it crazy to think it could be THAT simple? Do you constantly compare to others? Do you feel inexperienced or unsure of etiquette? Well look no further; we’ve got you covered! In the spirit of honoring EMBRACING MOVEMENT over the next 4 weeks, we will break this puzzle down into 3 easy areas to remember and execute! This week we are all about OPEN EYES…
Successfully making it through a dance class can be broken up into 3 areas that allow you to stay mindful while also achieving greatly.
Open Eyes Open Mind Open Heart
When you approach class with these three areas in mind, you will find a new found sense of focus and be able to get the MOST out of your training!
Let’s start with 4 ways to use “Open Eyes” :
1) The mirror - What a beautiful tool! Allow your eyes to use this great tool when striving for self-correction, observation, and positive affirmations. Yes, the mirror shows all, but focus on reading what it says in a positive light rather than negative. You choose how you perceive what you see!
It is a friend helping you along your path of movement discovery.
It helps reveal the areas to focus on for better execution.
It helps your mind understand spatial awareness.
It helps you observe and learn from the movement of others, both teacher and students.
And it helps you face yourself and accept yourself for the beautiful artist you are.
The mirror does not judge. Only your interpretation of the mirror's message does. Choose to keep it positive, friends.
2) See the Teacher - Demonstration and visualization are crucial components of learning and retaining movement. Let’s break down those terms: Demonstration and Visualization.
Demonstration is why there is a teacher! Allowing yourself to really SEE and observe your teacher and fellow classmates can really change the way you exist in class. Use this as a guide to take the pressure off yourself!
Visualization is THE biggest game changing tool we love! You first see the teacher and then you have to see yourself making the same pictures and shapes. This can be accomplished with OR without the mirror; enter visualization!
We use these terms to move beyond just hearing your teacher's words and learn to watch with active awareness. See their movement, observe their style, and search for subtleties, all while applying the movement to your own body. It will do wonders for your assimilation, the way you learn and retain movement. If you can teach yourself to watch first and then execute while learning, you will have a completely different “in class” experience.
Your teacher's demonstrations are a gift of insight; take it. Your use of visualization allows you to quickly embody the movement; use it.
3) Watch Others - This is beyond valuable when done in a safe space AND with positive intent. Observing other dancer's movement, process, breath, interpretation, and style can be extremely informative to yourself as both an artist and a student. So how do you watch other students and use it for good?
Use your moments of pause and stillness to view other’s movements.
Take in the verbal and physical corrections of other dancers and apply it to yourself.
Use your eyes to analyze style and technique as it appears on other students. THEN use it to improve upon your own.
Look out for traps and problem areas you fall into as well those that others experience.
Take energy and inspiration from your fellow dancers.
There is a reason we take dance class with others and don't make it all private coachings like you do for voice. The knowledge you can gain from your fellow peers is invaluable to infer your own learning process.
All we ask is that you learn in a loving light, supporting and encouraging, never judging, your fellow classmates. We are all on our own unique path in class. We all have something to give and we all have much more to learn. The community in class impacts beyond what's in front of your eyes.
4) See Yourself - This can be the hardest, but also the most game-changing, lesson. Your body is a beautiful, complex puzzle worthy and capable of being solved. This may be hard to hear for some, but you are perfect as you are in this moment. You need to use your eyes to help put all the pieces into place. Observe your lines, your placement, and your style, and then go a step further to feel your way into it as well. Your eyes will reveal truths. Rely on yourself to uncover, and know that your teacher is there to guide you along the way. Lastly, take moments to look into your eyes during class, restate your positive affirmation, and thank yourself for being there. Sometimes our eyes are all we need to keep us on track with confidence and joy.
See yourself for your beautiful gifts and tell yourself "I am enough".
Whether in class with us this week, on the road rehearsing, or taking class elsewhere, focus on how you can keep your eyes open throughout the experience. Together, I think we can learn a whole lot.
Feel free to email or comment with any insight your eyes discover or struggles you encounter...