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Get insight into what goes into the making of a dancer, the magic that highly successful dancers have and ten practical tips to help you up your dance skills
Are innate talent and some training enough to be a professional dancer? Dancers interpret and communicate stories and feelings through the physical form so needless to say; dancers have to develop characteristics like physical stamina and fitness, perseverance, memory retention to showcase a flawless and artistic performance onstage. But is there more than what meets the eye?
From lifelong dedication to their craft to the psychological stamina to stick with their career through adolescence and into adulthood, from the ability to take criticism in their stride to making peace with the fierce competition for the few coveted positions in dance companies, dancers don't have anything easy.
It is fair to assume that dancers of fine mettle only can survive in the dance industry.Here are some of those components that go into the making of a dancer
Training - While a college education is not mandated to be a professional dancer, formal education can make a huge difference. Also, dancers who start early have a distinct edge by enrolling in reputed dance schools.
Some schools, like the School of American Ballet, accept students as young as 6, while other schools, such as the American Ballet Theatre's Pre-Professional Division, only accept students aged 12 to 20.
Enrolling in schools like these make it easier to gain a foothold in the professional dance companies.
Physical Demands - Dance as art is all about the body and consequently about maintaining proper weight and fitness at all times. A dancer can never let her health and fitness levels go down and needs to be well informed about nutrition just as she is about dance techniques. The ability to endure long hours of rehearsal, maintain a high degree of physical flexibility are essential.
Also, dancers' bodies need to be evenly proportioned and coordinated and for dance forms like ballet, even have a particular body shape.
Personality - A certain kind of personality is required for professional dancing, one that has the strong emotional fortitude to withstand competition, long hours and criticism.
Passion for their art and persistence will need to go hand in hand to combat discouraging situations, and there are bound to be at least a few in the life of every dancer.
The ability to work in teams is of utmost importance; whether it is with a partner, fellow group dancers or a choreographer.
Emotional intelligence that helps a dancer to separate the self from the body and gives the wisdom to realize that changes, criticisms, and discussions are about the body and its facility or limitation and not about the person is a vital personality trait to cultivate and directly influences the drop rate of a dancer still finding herself.
Creativity - Dancers require creativity, which helps them to express the music and storylines they dance to using unique body movements. This artistic ability allows dancers to communicate ideas through physical expression, and come up with new ideas to add to dance routines.
A sense of musicality, such as in rhythm, is part of this creativity.
Teamwork - A dance performance can be described as teamwork in motion. With the need to work with choreographers, dance directors, and dance partners, dancers must exhibit the characteristic of stellar collaboration.
The ability to communicate and also respond to others' cues is imperative to flawlessly executing intricate dance moves.
Great artists are born with traits and abilities that allow them to do magnificent things. Whether you're a dancer, visual artist, musician, or in a completely different type of industry, certain skills and characteristics give a few a distinct edge, and they race ahead of the others, almost effortlessly it seems. If you're wondering whether you possess the traits that make a great dancer, here are some of the highlighted ones you can recognize and imbibe.
Always find a way to include the audience in your performance. Do not forget or ignore that they're there. Be conscious of the other dancers in your group and maintain the connection with them, either through eye contact or by projecting your energy to the others around you.
While having the appropriate expressions is essential, make sure the expressions are reaching the eyes. Make an effort to truly SEE, LOOK, and TAKE IN the world through your eyes as you dance and you will engage your audience.
Here is a technique that audiences respond well to; lift your eyebrows slightly, to nail an expression that is usually seen in people making eye contact or listening to a friend or when speaking excitedly.
Exciting and musical performers fill spaces in the music and movement by not letting the energy or intent drop between shapes or between counts.
Professional performers recognize the fall and rise in the music or score and use their movements to showcase the sudden or gradual changes.
A good performer also seeks to understand what part of the music (rhythm, melody, counterpoint, etc.) the choreographer is using to inspire their movement.
Think about what you feel and hear in the music score and apply these to your dance moves. This is the first step in bringing musicality to your performance, and this is how a performer can dance even without music!
Confidence is trust in yourself and the situation but, it is not centered on the self. And it is different from attitude because attitude is something which is put on or portrayed.
Confidence comes from preparation and experience; from the hours of rehearsals learning the steps and sequence, to the experience you gain from taking the stage.
Confident dancers perform with all of their heart and soul without getting anxious about what the audience is thinking of them.
As a dancer, understand or at least familiarize yourself with the period or origin of the dance. Grasp the nuances and emotions required to execute and try to relate to what the choreographer is trying to express.
Kinesphere is a word used in dance that describes the space surrounding the body. Being spatially aware means that you know exactly how to use the space around you, how to avoid bumping into other dancers, or how to simply not be in the way.