Although technique is an important part of dance, it is not the only part a dancer must learn in order to become great. Developing artistry as a dancer is an important skill to master and also one of the hardest. There are many different areas of artistry. Some of them include musicality, acting ability, performance, movement quality, creativity, and yes technical ability. Now what does all this mean? Basically this means that a dancer must develop a connection to the music while displaying the emotions of the story and making each movement smoothly transition into the next while also making the choreography their own. With all said and done though how does one develop their artistry?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are developing your artistry.
Tell a Story
Whether a part has a given story like Romeo and Juliet or if there is no story given, it is important to think about how you can convey a story in an interesting way that is unique to you. Now this may seem like it is only suited for pieces that have a given story already, but it is even more important to alway give a story to every performance that you dance. No one has to know the exact story you are planning on telling, but if you think about a story before hand people will feel more connected to the piece when they see it which will make the performance more memorable and meaningful to them. Remember that as you dance you are trying to convey a message or meaning because you can not speak. This meaning has to come from your whole body as you dance, so thinking about what that message entails will help you on the dance floor.
Develop the character
This kinda goes along with telling the story. If you are playing the role of Juliet or the Sugar Plum Fairy you have to think about how that character will dance the choreography that was given and then think about how you as that character will dance. Not every person will perform a character exactly the same way and this is great. So you must think about how you can perform the character in a way that is unique to you.
Listen to what the music says
Really listen to the music and try to pick out little things that you can use to emphasize the dance moves. This goes along with making the choreography your own. Every dancer will pick the notes in the music that stand out to them and perform the moves to the music is a different way. So even if all the steps are the same everyone will hear something different in the music that will lead them to dance the number slightly different from one another.
It all starts in class
Like with most thing in dance all of this can be practiced in class. If you really want to develop your artistry try to take classes as different characters. Pick a character to take class as and go that whole dance class as that character. This is also something that you don’t have to tell people that you are doing. No one has to know that you are taking class as Juliet and well it’s just a fun exercise to do.
I hope you have found this useful in someway and if you want to learn more about developing artistry chick here to hear what Kathryn Morgan has to say.
Norelle Marquez is a wonderful photographer who runs Digital Dreams Photography. She currently makes her home in California and you can find her on Instagram @ddpdance where she shares photos from her recent shoots, but we wanted to get to know her a little better.
What are three things that you have to keep with you at all times?
Being a military spouse, my military ID is with me 24/7. I also have water and my cellphone with me at all times.
Which do you like more taking the pictures or editing them? Why?
This is a tough choice! I’d have to say I really enjoy creating what I call “photo magic” with my dancers and spending a fun-filled day trying crazy poses and helping them reach their full potential.
What is your favorite part about being a photographer? Why?
Photography fills me with happiness and unforgettable memories. Plenty of jobs could do that, but only a photographer can capture those moments forever!
How did you get interested in photography?
Growing up, I spent a great deal of time in front of the camera as a model. As the years went by, I grew more and more interested in what the photographer was doing over me actually modeling. At 15, I was gifted my first “real” camera (dslr) and I have spent the last five years working each day to improve myself and my business.
Of all the states that you have photoshoots in, which is your favorite? Why?
California offers so much diversity that I’m just not sure any other state could beat it! I can work at the beach, in the busy city, urban areas, open fields, and so much more. I love being able to offer my clients so many beautiful locations to choose from.
When you are not behind the camera or editing what are you doing?
Most of the time you’ll find me watching Netflix with my husband, pup, and cat while eating something with chocolate in it. I have a major sweet tooth! The rest of my time is usually spent driving back home to Arizona to visit with my mom and help her with home renovation and decoration projects.
The Nutcracker, a show that has become a staple in many a Christmas tradition, has come to an end this holiday season. So now what? You have a short break and then you go back to the classes, right? But what do you need to prepare yourself for pointe after The Nutcracker ends?
At this point your pointe shoes are completely shot. After the practices, rehearsals, and performances your going to need another pair before class starts up again. So heading to your favorite dance store for a new pointe shoe fitting is the perfect way to start preparing for class again. Feet also do change over time and as you get stronger you may find that you need a pointe shoe with a different shank strength or box shape in order for you to get the best out of your classes. So regardless getting a new pointe shoe fitting before class starts up again is a good idea.
Now that you have your new pointe shoes. It is important to keep up your flexibility during your break. Therabands, flexibility bands and I-flexs are all tools that can help you in your flexibility training. These tools are all good for different reasons though. The therabands can be used for both strengthening and stretching the body and it all depends on how you use them. A quick search on YouTube will show you dozens of excise videos that show you how to use them for different purposes. Unlike the theraband, which is an unconnected latex band, the flexibility bands are circular and can loop around your body to help you achieve your perfect split. The I-flex, depending on the model, can attach to the wall or the door and creates a pulley system to stretch out the legs.
Tension Relieving Tools
Getting back to pointe after The Nutcracker or any break can bring with it some tension and pain. So getting tension relieving tools like muscle rollers, massage balls for your feet and epsom salt for soaking sore muscles can all help relieve the tension and pain that comes with starting up class again.
It is important to take care of your body and these are just a few of the things that you will need for starting pointe back up again. You can click here to shop online for these items.
New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Sara Mearns teams up with worldwide dancewear manufacturer So Danca to release a line of edgy yet beautiful dancewear that every dancer is sure to love.
Named as the “Great American ballerina of the era” by Alastair Macaulay of the The New York Times, Mearns has spent nearly all of her time in a leotard since she first walked into a dance class at the age of three in South Carolina. Now as a Principal Dancer for New York City Ballet she knows how a well fitting leotard can boast a dancer’s confidence. It is because of this that she has the ability to identify quality dancewear and put forth exceptional designs in her collection with So Danca.
Known to some as a rockstar Ballerina, she wanted her collection to reflect this, but she also wanted the line to remain classic and show off the dancers form. This is why she choose the materials that she did as well as the design. The collection is called SMxSD for short and will be available in stores come January 2018. The collection includes 13 pieces all together of leotards, tops, leggings, and a romper. Even though the collection releases in January you can still preorder the whole line through Dancewear Corner by clicking here.
In an article from Informa, Sara Mearns talks about her vision of the line, how it was working with the team at So Danca, her photoshoot and commercial experience, what inspired some of the pieces and which pieces from the line are her favorite.
Here are just a few excerpts from the Informa article, but you can read the whole article by clicking here.
“Mearns says, ‘I think it’s very hard to get the fit of a leotard just right, and Só Dança has done that. The leg lines, and then how
it fits snug in all places, is amazing! I feel I am able to wear many different styles and still feel confident when I don’t have anything else on to cover up.’
She continues, “An exceptional leotard or dancewear line makes the dancer look the best they can and allows the dancer to be confident and dance their best. When I feel pretty in my outfit, I always dance better.’”
“‘We wanted to create something that the maker hadn’t seen before,’ Mearns shares. ‘The Só Dança designers in Brazil had this beautiful scalloped lace they had come up with, and we wanted to find a way to incorporate it in a fashionable way. We didn’t want to overload this first collection with too many ideas. I wanted it to be sleek but edgy. People have described me as a rockstar ballerina, so I wanted to somehow translate that but not go overboard. There is much more to come with that, so this is just a taste.’”
“‘I was so nervous the first time I put it on. I was in the bathroom by myself, and you just never know until you see it in the mirror for the first time. I am very hard on myself and very judgmental about my looks, but when I saw the leotards on me, I started getting emotional. I felt beautiful in them. I knew this would be a dream collaboration, but seeing my looks on myself for the first time really cemented it. It’s like the leotards came to life and made me want to dance!’”
“More than anything, though, Mearns is delighted to see how her collection can help young girls and women feel their best and confident.”
Sara Mearn continues to break boundaries and through her line she courageous dancers to be confident and feel beautiful and we can’t wait for her line to hit the stores.