Often when I train dance, especially ballet, I picture metaphors or ideas that help me improve the movement, and also keeps the training fun, enjoyable and really interesting.
Recently I started to illustrate my dance notes with Adobe Sketch, and wanted to share them with fellow dancers who might find them useful, or with anyone who is curious about what goes through a dancer’s mind sometimes…
- Nature As Inspiration: nature is a big inspiration for me, for example, how trees are deeply rooted in the ground, they stand high and tall, they are very stable, but their branches reach out in the sky, and the leaves move freely when the air blows. In a way, this is similar to the idea of balancing on a rélévé in ballet, with your feet grounded in the floor, your legs and upper body standing tall and reaching up, and your arms both long and relaxed. Water is also a very interesting source of imagery I feel. The way water flows through a mountain without effort, adjusting to the rocks it passes, and irrigating the spaces it goes through, inspires how a body can flow with the music through space transmitting a sense of peace, fluidity and continuity.
- “Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t” – Often in dance we critique ourselves a lot because of where our bodies are at compared to other dancers. For examples, “my legs aren’t high enough”, “I’m not flexible”, “I don’t have turnout”, “I can’t do more than 2 pirouettes” etc. I think often we forget HOW MUCH we can already move and how much joy this can bring. Ballet is extremely challenging, especially for those (like me) who start later on in life. I find it incredibly useful to focus on what I can already do, and not on what I can’t (yet). I helps me enjoy the movement 100 times more and progress based on what my body already knows.
- “Find the moments to let go” – The more I dance, the more I realize how important is finding the relax in the movement, the moments to breath, to be aware of the joy of your body moving in different ways to the music.
Last weekend I did a contemporary dance workshop with choreographer Russell Maliphant. It proposed many interesting movement ideas and enriched others I had been investigating. Here are some quick notes I took throughout the weekend:
- Dance as caligraphy – In a way, dance is like writing with our bodies in space. In relation to the music, how we perform movements, the dynamics of it, is like writing or talking. There are pauses, punctuations, accents, tones, the same movement can take a thousand different qualities and it’s the dancer’s choice how we express it.
- Do we see our body as the sum of parts? Or a fully connected ‘whole’ that is completely engaged in any movement we do? – When we move, we can think of the body parts involved in a movement or we can think of the feeling of our body as a whole doing that movement. For me the latter makes every movement so much easier and enjoyable, suddenly your whole body is helping you to perform a sequence, instead of having to think of body parts being in coordination to move in a certain way.
Made with Adobe Draw.