Thursday, 18 December 2014

Telling your story. Why artistry and technique will always be dance partners.

Dance is a language, it is a way of communicating through movement and gesture, the most basic and primal of our communication pathways.

Learning dance techniques, gives us *our* language, it allows us to expand our vocabulary, weave together ideas, emotions, to tell our own stories.

This is why I believe teaching good technique, along with the ability to string together movements, improvise and create your own choreographies is so important. This is why I teach it from the very beginning, and why I refuse to take shortcuts.

When you tell your story, you don't want to mumble, you want to be clear and articulate.

When you tell your story, you don't want to have to rely on other people's phrases, or perspective.

When you tell your story, you should be free, not caged by unnecessary technical limitations.

Public speakers, actors and singers do voice exercises, dancers drill.

I know that it can be a slog, working hard at the techniques until they are right, it can take years to get out of the beginner phase. Part of the reason why I teach in the Concepts and Context format, is to break out of the potential teaching rut, where every class is a similar pattern of learning and drilling 2-3 new moves, and sometimes combinations. I try to bring in musicality, improvisation, different moods and styles, to actually dance, every lesson; but it is all held on a foundation of strong technique. 

It's possible to get by with a phrasebook, but it is only by sticking at it, by learning the vocab, the grammar, the subtle nuances and wordplays, that you can write poetry.

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