|Posted by [email protected] on July 15, 2020 at 2:05 PM|
THE ELEMENTS OF DANCE/FUNDAMENTALS
AND MOVEMENT Part 1
Based on works by Robert Cohan "The Dance Workshop"
This is a multiple part article to help you while in the doldrums of COVID-19. Digest these four and next time, the 3rd week in July, we will give you the next four. Hope this gives you something to think about and digest. Here is to a better dance in the down days of 2020.
When you start dancing, it is important to recognize the tools a dancer needs. There are eight (8) elements in dance that are most vital. As you progress your understanding will change as you discover what they mean to your body. The total sum of these elements is what is meant by your body. The total sum of these elements is what is meant by technique.
This is fundamental to your ability to dance well. This is maintaining a sense of your own body center that holds you together as you move. It allows you to move gracefully and freely. This means you have to have the ability to move, to hold, to organize yourself around your own physical body. If you are centered you can eventually learn how to do anything. If you are not centered you may develop beautiful looking arms and legs but never be able to move well. Liken your center to home. If you don’t have a sense of home you will probably get lost every time you go out. Your body needs to be balanced like a see-saw. Position fluctuates between individuals. Center for Middle Eastern Dance is in the solar plexus. Every movement has to go through this center. This is what makes it Orientale or eastern! Your natural base is approximately just below the navel but the movements for this dance form come from the solar plexus or above the naval. Everything emanates from there. Start by feeling how your arms and legs work from the same central point in the back. Moving from your center will make movements easier to control.
This is the force that holds you to the earth. It is a force you have to work with because it constantly inhibits movement. Try to become aware of the pulls in your own body. What points are taking the most weight? When you push on these points can you feel a rise-up from them? You should be holding yourself better. When you dance you want to feel as if someone is pushing you under your buttocks and the base of your spine and directing the energy up hrough your breastbone. It is a two- way stretch.
To achieve this element you need to change your perception of your body, there is often a wide discrepancy between what feels right and what looks right. Dancers work all their dance lives on their posture, also called alignment. It is the key to balance and movement. Your posture not only reveals your feelings but can also reveal feelings in you. Learn how to stand properly. You will actually feel lighter, brighter, and more aware.
The gesture involves using the body as an expressive instrument to communicate feelings and ideas in patterns of movement. With subtle gestures and postural attitudes, we show cooperation, give confidence to friends, or display aggression to enemies. Arms crossed over the chest are a protective wall. Hands-on hips mean "show me", fists on hips is even more challenging. Anger patterns are depicted very differently form joy or sadness. Weight on one hip -waiting. Hands out in front you are ready to give or receive. Raising shoulders is a gesture of not knowing or caring. Shoulders forward express pain. Tapping foot boredom. Observe! Recognize what the body is saying.
A good beginning to dancing. Learn and enjoy it!
by Morwenna Assaf,