Today in our series of Performance Preparedness we will take a look at the importance of rehearsals…..
Repetition is important to learning a dance piece. In order to remember the steps naturally, practicing the movements is essential so that it becomes automatic and appears natural. The repetitive practice of the same steps allows you to develop a motor memory of the dance combinations. (Motor memory is the process of improving motor skills, the function, which involves the precise movement of muscles with the intent to perform a specific task through practice.) This ability is applied to remembering motor patterns, (a sequence of muscle movements directed to accomplishing an external purpose), is very important to learning a choreographic piece. When motor memory takes over your steps are performed without having to stop to consciously think of each step that makes up a combination of steps, or quite simply put…. your dance for the show.
Now that you have an idea of what rehearsals will accomplish, let’s take a look of what is involved and their importance.
Once your teacher or choreographer has clear idea of what message they want to portray, your rehearsals will begin. Normally a portion of class time is devoted to rehearse your piece for the revue/recital/concert. I can not express how important attendance at this crucial time of the year is for you the dancer and for your choreographer. It is a very important idea to practice at home before class or rehearsal time to have your parts in your head, this will allow the rehearsal time of your class to move more quickly and time will not be spent on steps previously taught.
Your teacher/choreographer will build movement material with the dancers together as a whole or with an added solo. Some choreographers can be very specific about setting the particular movements that they want and while other choreographers will rely on the talent and ability of the dancers involved to develop the dance piece. Choreographers don’t alway create a dance piece in order, from start to finish. Often steps and phrases of steps develope more randomly and are later linked together and shaped into a whole along with the music
For you the dancer, the creative process is a very different experience from just a technique class, stopping and starting, experimenting with the steps and combinations of steps, repeating things over and over, and reworking various sections can be so exhausting. But, when it comes down to the initial run though, putting everything together for the first time can be very exciting! Dancers should also use their rehearsal time to develop their perfection of the steps, practicing their technical execution and improving on their own creativity. Don’t let precious rehearsal time just slip by, make your time worth it.
Rehearsals are important for teaching dancers to combine their material with other dancers, helping the dancers become accustomed to working with each other. Rehearsal schedules, sometimes in two hour increments or more for each section of a performance is not uncommon. The rehearsal process is tedious and very time consuming, but so essential. If you care about yourself as a dancer, and the other dancers in your ensemble, never….never…miss a rehearsal and keep class attendance up to excellence at this crucial time of the season. You, as a dancer have spent many hours in class learning technique, don’t let distractions come between you and your audience…..remember the best rehearsal quote for this season of the dance year….”I can’t…… I have dance” ….
If you consider yourself a dancer, you owe rehearsal and class time to your teacher/choreographer, to the other dancers in your dance piece and mainly to yourself!