Dancers Think:It is Not just as easy to be The Dance: Takes about a million thoughts!
By GEETHA BALLAL
Have you ever wondered how a dancer makes a movement look so beautiful? Has a question arisen in your mind – does it flow in her body or is she thinking about making it flow?
I definitely have thought about this a million times – every time I dance or watch someone else dance. Some of them are brilliant dancers who do not show the effort that goes behind inventing the movement but yet some others clearly define the adaption of movement into their body. (Heard this‘somehow she didn’t look comfortable doing those movements’ or ‘the movements weren’t sitting in her body’?)
Dance is not just about executing a movement in style but giving a bit of you into every movement. It is a consolidation of thoughts – the choreographers idea, the geometry of the movement itself, the aesthetics, the technique, the dancers own style and passion…
Martha Graham once said ‘dancers are not great because of their technique but their passion’ – the inherent strong desire to dance brings out a passion in the movement that makes it all the more beautiful. A movement without it becomes mere mechanics.
Having said this, a dancer doesn’t escape the mathematics of dance. Well, putting it in simple words, what we see as dance is a combination of mathematically proportionate and aesthetically appealing set of movements. Therefore, when executing even a simple movement, although we can cover and lace it with emotions, desires and passion, to make it complete, we still need to think of the arithmetical and geometrical aspect. Where the hand goes, what angle does it stay, how erect the body is, at what degree is the head tilted –if one calculation is overlooked, the movement may look awkward rather than beautiful.
My teacher was scoffing at class one day – ‘these days, children think that dance will come naturally and so they don’t have to put in effort or think about it’. I agree. How easy for society to typecast dancers to be unthinking movers who have taken an easy way out by choosing dance!!!
Wake up! Dancers do at least three times the thinking an average person at work will and puts in at least 5 times the physical effort. The term ‘research’ didn’t erupt one day just like that in a dancer’s dictionary. Every movement is well thought of, looked into, categorized, stylized, combined with similar sets and then made into a sequence.
Just to delve into a dancers mind, let’s see what goes on behind a simple transitory movement –say a plei.
Mathematically – the distance between the feet, the degree of turnout of the knees and toes, the shape formed through the sitting into the plie.
Aesthetically – whether the back is straight, tail-bone tucked in, sitting low enough.
Added to this, the direction which the plie is faced toward, the angle, the position with respect to other dancers and to the stage, the distance to be covered using this movement, what the hands are doing, what expression the face is communicating…
Well, if just a simple transitory movement or position has these many thoughts, one can imagine how many would go into an entire dance! What has one got to say about the memory of the dancer to remember not only the movements but the thoughts behind the movements too?
Cheers to all the dancers in the world to have chosen this most difficult profession and yet make it seem like it’s the easiest! Kudos to all the brave movers who have leapt beyond imagination reaching great depths and lengths of movement!