Have you ever heard dancers complain that their movement or steps were ‘stolen’ by another dancer? Movement is universal and it is likely that there is someone at some time in some part of the world that has created movement pathways of the body, similar to what we create in our own studios. However when an entire choreography or a dancers unique style is mimicked, it can often indicate a lack of creativity and authenticity on the ‘mimickers’ behalf. The type of ‘stealing’ I am referring to, is an ethical theft, and is one of the best ways to improve in any skill.
Watch and observe the masters in dance and steal what you can from them!
I don’t mean try to be exactly like them and become a carbon copy of them, but rather try to focus on specifics of their movement and how they execute certain techniques.
These can include:
- The angle of their arms
- The position of their head
- The position of their body
- The movement of their hands
- The arch in their back
- The pause in between movement
- The tension and release in movement
- The use of ‘light and shade’ in combinations
- Take the time to watch them intensely and really observe every subtle nuance.
By focusing on specifics rather than trying to emulate their signature style, you can improve technical and creative skills and bring these into your own style.
- You can also ask yourself:
- How do these masters perform certain movement different to how I do?
- How can I incorporate some of these observations into my dance and make it my own?
- What is it that makes these masters a step above the rest?
- What is one thing that I can do to add this to my own practice while being true to who I am?
- Imagine your future self moving with a similar quality, how would it feel?
Extra tip* Just before your dance practice, watch some footage on YouTube of a dancer who you absolutely adore, or even watch it just before going to sleep when your mind is more open to impressions.