Noted Kathak danseuse Sonia Sabri shares some tips on technique and preparing for performance. Read on…
1. Body conditioning is integral to dance practice, for life.
I believe one’s dance technique is the language through which the body and soul express itself and beyond. The body is the instrument so if one does not know how to use it or take care of it, it’s difficult to use it in a particular manner. It’s like writing with a pen/ pencil. One always learns how to hold the pen/pencil, keep it free from dust, sharpen the pencil, replace an ink cartridge etc etc.
2. Healthy Eating.
Diet is vital for the development and maintenance of a dancer. It’s absolute key that a diet is suitable to one’s age, body type, and level of activity to maximise the potential of one’s capacity, Consult a dietician for a tailored recommendation.
3. Injury Prevention.
It’s always tempting to start dancing without a proper warm up! But to extend the life of a dancer one must always warm up and according to the level of activity eg. high impact dancing requires a thorough warm up with particular attention to group muscles to be used. The other temptation is to continue dancing when there is pain. Don’t. Get it checked by a physiotherapist as soon as one can to reduce stress of a injury no matter how small.
4. Remind yourself why you love it.
Before a performance I always ask myself and/or my dancers why they dance. This helps with engaging the emotional and spiritual aspects of oneself.
As part of prep backstage, I make an effort to block the material world out and focus on visualizing the performance and feel any key moments of the performance without using the body. A great yoga exercise our vocalist shared with us : tightly place thumbs over the ears, last two fingers on each eye, and remaining fingers on the forehead. Then hum for as long as possible. Do for about 3-5 mins. It’s excellent de-stress and helps to focus the mind.
6. Dance beyond the body.
While training, rehearsing and performing always aim to extend a movement beyond your physical frame. Aim to emote beyond the walls of a space. This basic concept helps to support the theatricalization of a dancer and encourages one to discover creative possibilities outside of what an audience already can see.