Give Your Dance a Face Lift

December 4, 2010 , , Tina Kapp
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by Jasmin Jahal
Spruce up your dance with exciting, new feeling by trying the following suggestions. You’ll be surprised how you can revamp, revise, and re-inspire yourself! However, before we try anything, you have to have the right mind-set. You have to think ‘outside the box’. Yes, that’s right. After all those classes where you struggled to get your technique just perfect, I’m telling you now you have to be a little creative and expand on that repertoire, right down to the most basic step. Of course, this does not mean get crazy and become totally unauthentic. Just open you mind and experiment a bit. Have fun!

1.Change the SPEED of a movement. For example, from all even Right-Left-Right-Left, 1-2-3-4 to Slow-Quick-Quick that counts 1…2…3-4. Try it with big Hip Circles (changing the speed throughout), Figure 8’s, almost any kind of Turn, and even Undulations!

2.Change the HEIGHT of a movement. Don’t be boring. Sometimes add a surprise by kneeling or squatting down briefly, or quickly rising to releve’. Try a height change within a particular step, such as in Triplets, Turns, Hip Drops, and at the end of a Body Wave.

3.PAUSE occasionally. Less in more, at least it’s more dramatic! As a dancer, it’s hard to just stand still, but those are truly the most exciting moments.

4.Change the SHAPE of a movement. You know you can Figure 8 vertically, reversed, horizontally from front-to-back or from back-to-front. Now mix them together! Get out of a rut. Notice if you tend to shimmy always the same way, like always standing still. Then add to it a plie’ or releve’, change your feet into a pose, or sway your hips side-to-side or in a circle. A little can go a long way to add a new spice.

5.Add unusual ACCENTS. You always can do a bump, a drop or a sharp lift in the hip, but how about a forward or backward movement with or without a twist, or what about performing an inward contraction? When it is least expected, avoid the hip movement altogether and use instead a shoulder thrust or shoulder drop, a stomach pop (outward), a flick of the hand, a head toss or turn.

6.Here’s a fun experiment. Add a FEELING to each segment of your routine. For example, most routines open with a happy mood that blends into a taxim that is intense and intimate, and culminates into a powerful drum solo. This is the standard. Now add feeling changes within each section. Play with it to see what would change if you went from the happy mood to haughty to content/peaceful to aggressive. Worst case result, this will work on your facial and emotional expression, and we can never emote enough. Best case, you will be surprised how much more interesting and alive your dance will be.

7.Last but not least, take combinations within a routine and change the FLOOR PATTERN. Move the entire combination in a square shape, circle, diagonal or figure

8.Or, if you are very used to doing this already, DON’T make patterns. Make each combination unpredictable. After all, that’s the best way to keep the eye of the audience glued upon you!

For an excellent article on improving your improv dancing visit this site.

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