As the season changes, it’s good to briefly look back and acknowledge the past in order to intelligently move forward.
Reflection is a useful for finding out what went right and/or wrong in the preceding season and how we can use the understanding of our past to sow the seeds and make better crops for the seasons ahead.
As a dance instructor, I often obsess about ways that I have effectively communicated what can best be described as highly ambiguous ideas to students from all skill levels. Certain things I feel I have down to a science. I mean, I feel pretty damn good about helping people do a mean basic step or effectively lead a variety of patterns in a harmonious way with their partner but one thing I consistently find myself reviewing and revisiting is:
How the hell do I teach someone to develop his or her own voice?
By voice, I mean style, their certain way to move and express once they understand the technicalities of the dance.
I’m wise enough to know that teachers often teach STYLE as TECHNIQUE in our scene and nothing could be more damaging to the continued growth of their student. I would equate that with teaching someone to write poetry in order to teach them a language, does that make sense?
Nonono, how, as a dance educator do I transfer poetry of motion to another person when the essence comes from within each individual? I have seen students request that I do things slowly because they want to mimic the movement I am creating with my body but I don’t feel comfortable with that because that is MY interpretation of the movement or step and I want people to explore THEIR version. All that said, I do understand they need an inspiration and a base to work off of.
Don’t get it twisted my friends, I don’t claim to have all the answers, I simply ponder these thoughts!
There in lies the true challenge. I might not have it completely figured out as I write this, but I certainly feel good knowing my intention is to get my students to discover themselves in their movement as I have done and continue to do as the seasons change.
My advice is to mimic things you like from a lot of people and put it all in a Vitamix and add YOU. The thing is….the YOU is the most important part by far and I hope to see more of that in the future.
Bodies are beautiful things and can obviously express as good if not better than an angelic voice when utilized creatively. As a student, let’s work on making sure that technique makes the foundation strong, but the exterior on the surface is what makes people stop and look.
As educators, let’s make sure we encourage our students to discover themselves and not be ego-centric and believe we want a bunch of little “mini-me’s” dancing around the club.
I’d love some thoughts on this as your voice is what makes life so interesting.
What say you guys?
To your dancing…