As a ballet teacher I get to see, at the beginning of class, the most heart warming group of dancers smiling and ready to work hard. Often that look of joy and those heart warming smiles wind up disappearing as we begin our ballet class and get to the difficult and most phyisical portion of class.
What is your face doing during class, rehearsal or performance? What normally going though a dancer’s head is correct technique, body placement, timing to the music and your interaction with the other dancers. That is a lot to think about. For performance, dancers concern themselves with their appearance on stage…. Are my shoes just right? Are my tights the correct color? Is my hair and makeup perfect?
One thing that dancers are not realizing is how their face looks, in class or on stage. Most often in class when I see dancers concentrate, that look of concentration is on their face. Which is a good thing for the teacher to see, but often times that same face gets carried to the stage, or replaced by a nervous plastered on smile. With a facial appearance like that, the audience will not even notice how wonderfully you dance, just the funny, uncomfortable look on your face!
Dance is not an easy art form, by no means, and there is a lot going on in your head while you are in class or in performance. Relax. Remember your steps need to flow from one to another. They won’t if you are tense, and the tenseness will show on your face. Your time in class or rehearsal time should be spent perfecting your technique and choreography, so it becomes as second nature.
If you are a character in a story ballet, you need to not only produce that character in your steps but on your face. Is the character happy, sad, angry, fierce? Let your face show it! This is where your Musical Theater class comes into play. Really concentrate on how that character would react to the story and put that expression on your face. This will give your audience the correct personality of that character
But most of all, enjoy what you do. Remember, you are a dancer, even as challenging as it may will get. While dancing, whether it be in class or on the stage, think about how lucky you are that you have this wonderful gift of dance.