Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pet Peeve: The Dancer Must Match the Emotional Demand!

Remember when I made a post called Pet Peeve: The Dance Has to Match the Music back in August? Since then, I've come across another piece that plays with my mind a bit...(believe me, there are more out there, this is only one example):

DC Dance Factory - Someone Like You 
This is only a clip of the full piece, but even from this 46 second glimpse, you can tell that the style is off. "Someone Like You" is an incredibly emotional and stirring piece of music, but this dance is When she's not being seductive, the movements look haphazardly thrown together.

But it's not just the fact that the choreography didn't match the music that bothered me. It stroked another pet peeve of mine very harshly: emotional content. I love emotionally charged music. I love it when the singer/vocalist's words feel like daggers thrust into my chest (yes, I'm apparently a masochist). I am a firm believer that showing/communicating emotion is the single most important element in a dancer's skill set. So it must come to no surprise, when I see a dancer not connect with a piece emotionally, that I'm dying inside.

Some dancers are just not emotional, and that's okay. There's styles of dancing that require little to no emotional output and/or investment from the dancer (The Radio City Rockettes are a great example of a group where dancers do not show emotion). However, if you're going to choose an emotionally charged song like "Someone Like You", please show emotional investment! As a note to teachers and choreographers: if you feel that the dancer is not up to the emotional demands of a particular song, please do not choose an emotional piece for him or her! I feel this is really common sense: play up your strengths, don't show your weaknesses if you can. Exposing emotion is not something everyone can do, in fact, most people probably do not "put themselves out there" very well or feel uncomfortable doing so.

Here's another one: CA Dance Company - Hallelujah. The dancing is fine, maybe a little disconnected and fragmented, but it's alright, it has potential. The face? The emotional investment? Blank. Zero. Okay, she's young, but maybe she should have gone with a different, more age-appropriate song. "Hallelujah" is one of the most classic dance songs out there, it's been done over and over, and many times in exactly this manner. If you're going to do it again, give a little of yourself.

On the other hand, the dancer in Piece of Sky (same competition I think) took on a great character! She's of a similar age to the two girls in the videos above, but she's emotionally invested! Can you tell the difference?

Why do you dance if you won't put a little of yourself out there and make yourself seen? Show the world something it's never seen before, take a chance. Give them a reason to watch you. Be unique, be you.

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