I was recently asked by Student how to improve facial expression for dance and thought I would share a few word on this topic.
When performing, your facial expression play a huge role in how you are received by an audience. Ideally it is best to be authentic in the emotion/expression that your face is showing. The music is what often generates the emotions, so by tuning into the music and the underlying feelings you are wanting to express through your performance, will help with your face. The degree to which you feel comfortable expressing emotionally, often mirrors how you do in your usual everyday life. So by practicing to allow authentic expression in either your Dance or everyday life will both feed into each other.
There are bound to be times when we are just not feeling it, which is why it is vital to practice being aware of your face during your personal training off stage.
Your face is made of many muscles, so it’s helpful to think of face training as just another “layer” to add on top of your other bellydance movements.
Here are some tips to remember when working on facial expression during your personal practice:
- Facial exercises! We can all hold tension in the muscles of our face. Try having a go at contorting your face in as many different ways as you can to stretch and release tension (Perhaps privately )
- Play different types of music that generate different feelings, and allow your face to represent the music. You may express a subtle smile, a fierce look, a broad smile filled with joy, a gentle soft expression or a thoughtful introspected expression. Play around with emoting through your face!
- Now try some basic movements and layer your authentic facial expression over the top. Notice how you feel and perhaps what thoughts go through your head. Maybe expressing emotion wasn’t something that happened much around you as you as a child? Just notice and keep practicing.
- Visualise yourself practicing and being the perfect expression of the music. Feel how it feels. Visualising is thought to be just as effective as actual physical practice
Some of us have crazy/intense/strained concentration faces and others not so much! Being mindful of what our face is saying takes practice, just like every other element of our dance.
I once heard that an Audience notices our hands and face the most, so make sure these express what you desire them to express.
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