Birdie gave us an amazing piece of advice on Thursday. Like most good advice, it seems trivial: finish each movement. Don’t sneak out of a rond de jambe as soon as your foot is out of your sight – make sure to bring it all the way to the back. This, she said, goes for all kinds of dance, not just ballet.
This seemingly trivial observation struck a chord with me, because I’ve thought something similar before, I could just never put it into words properly. Whenever we work in groups during class, I make a point of observing my classmates and noticing what looks good and what doesn’t. I don’t do this to judge my classmates, but to try and improve myself. Dance is so complex that you might not be aware of everything your body is doing. Am I pointing my feet during floorwork? Am I lifting my leg high enough into this passé? And, most importantly, do I execute each movement wholeheartedly?
The latter makes an enormous difference to the quality of the dance. In jazz, there is this one girl who is technically very good, and yet, she often executes the movements without any real enthusiasm, immediately losing the viewers interest to the less technical but more engaged dancers.
There is another, similar correction that we often get from Y.: even if you’re just learning a step, do it with conviction. If you forget what you were supposed to be doing, cheat. If you cheat with conviction, most hypothetical audience members will not notice. They will notice if you stop in the middle of the dance and crane your neck at the other dancers to figure out what that move was.
This might work better in jazz and modern, because it’s very hard to cheat convincingly in beginner ballet. But even in ballet, you can execute every movement like you mean it. The proper finishing positions and port-de-bras both at the barre and in the centre are also a part of this. You may not be a professional – you might not even be very good – but you’re going to look so much better if you dance with conviction, finish your movements and smile proudly when you’re done.
View this post on Instagram
I bought an AT-AT poodle skirt to go see #TheLastJedi with amazing people. It's so cute, it makes me wanna do turns all the time! Naturally, once the camera was running, I found myself unable to do even a single jazz pirouette… So I cheated. 😂 May the force be with you! #ballet #adultballet #jazzdance #dance #dancing #adultbeginner #poodleskirt #atat #starwars #turns #pirouette #pirouettes #skirt #style #nerd #nerdyballerina #nerdsunite
Like when you can’t really turn for sh*t but you still go for a nice pose at the end. 😂
Have you received similar advice from your teachers?