Weekly Challenge for October 1st!
OMG…it’s October!! Time to start hibernating, right? Wrong. Let’s do another challenge!
Have you ever watched a dancer with perfect technique, but absolutely no emotion in her/his face? If their technique is strong enough, that might be fine for awhile, but when we listen to music we are trying to connect to an emotion. Dance is all about emotion. No emotion, no dance. If there is no emotion in your dance, you might as well get up on stage and start a drills class. And plastering a I-gotta-get-this-over-with smile on your face doesn’t cut it either. I’m guilty of this sometimes as well, when I’m performing a choreography I don’t know well enough or if I’m super nervous (which doesn’t happen much anymore, but it can still happen). So this week we’re going to work on putting some emotion into our dance!
Emotion in Dance
Pick a song, any song. Something you enjoy, and not necessarily something you want to belly dance to. Close your eyes and listen to it. It’s fine if your mind wanders, but take a mental note of where it goes. Take note of how you feel when you hear the song. Chances are you will feel what the artist intended you to feel during that song. Either the lyrics will tell you (if there are any) or the actual sound of the music will (freebie nugget of music theory…a minor key makes you feel sad!).
Now write down what you felt at the top of a piece of paper. If it’s more than one emotion, great! Use a page for everything you felt. Under that heading, split the paper into two columns. On one, label it “Facial expressions” and the other label “Dance moves.” This is going to be a toughie, because there are not necessarily any right answers. In these two columns, brainstorm what facial expressions (including things like tears, laughter, or touching the face with the hands) and dance moves fit your emotion.
Arabic songs may be a bit more of a challenge for us Westerners. For starters, the lyrics are in a language most of us do not understand, and the musical scale that Arabic music uses is different from what we are used to. But humans still composed and performed that music, and that means they felt an emotion while writing it. You can still connect if you close your eyes and open yourself to it.
Use your list when improvising a dance or when planning out a choreography. Do this to one song every day this week, and start mixing in songs you want to actually dance to. This will help you connect to the music and actually dance, not run a drills class on stage!