Have you ever heard the expression ….“The eyes are the window to the soul”? People can practically read your complete thoughts just by the expression on your face. While in ballet class, your teacher can read you more than you know, by just a glimpse of your facial expression. Your teacher can tell whether you are interested in what you are learning, you are tired and just don’t feel like doing what ever you are being taught or whether you are interested at all. Your facial expression can show respect or just plain rudeness.
Your teacher can read your body language and will wonder if you are really in class because you love to dance or just going through the motions because this is where your friends are at the time. Your body language will prompt a teacher to either ignore you or push you to great lengths, depending upon what your body is tell them. Which is your preference?
Beginning with the eyes. The eyes can tell so much of what is on your mind. Be careful the way you look at your teacher or other dancers. The look in your eye can be either encouraging or it can be deadly to someone else’s attitude. Another dancer or your teacher can catch your feelings through your eyes and it will change their whole day. Many times we send signals to other dancers with our eyes and facial expressions that we don’t even realize we are sending. Plan on being in control of your own feelings of the day and not let them show in class. Take class time out as an “oasis” for yourself. Try to put your feelings on a “shelf” for the hour or so you are in class and absorb what you are there for.
Sometimes your body language in class is a reflection of your physical being and not your emotional being. Did you have a hectic day before class? Did you not get enough sleep the night before? Has it been an extremely busy week, physically, with extra rehearsals? Each of us have personal lives outside the studio. Even if you are tired from the day keep your yawns in hiding! I have been in a position where I was demonstrating barre work to dancers and have a dancer yawn while they were in execution of the barre choreography I just taught! Is it me as a teacher? Am I boring? I hope not! These are the things that will go through a teacher’s head when a dancer yawns. A simple yawn can make your teacher or even the dancers around you think that you are bored or not interested in a combination or even a correction.
Being tired is normal. The body can only take so much physical activity without rest. But….keep up your image while you are in class. Remember you are a dancer! Look the part! Don’t sit during class, keep your body moving. Sitting on the floor can be portrayed as a form of laziness. It can also be disrespectful while your teacher is working to give you what she has planned for you.
Sometimes dancers come into ballet class exhausted from the day. They go directly to the barres and hang or slump over them. This is not a great way to begin class. You are carrying your physical feelings into class with you, which will prompt you later on during class to sit. Instead, come into class proudly and ready to work, even if you are tired. Stand erectly and pulled up!
Body language will often display envy or jealousy. Do you look up to someone in your class? Do you display a look of envy or honor? As a dancer, you should look upon a classmate’s achievements as one of honor. Their practice, focus and ability should be help to motivate you to work even harder. Look at those dancers and admire their work and perseverance to get where they are. Strive for that excellence and do not slump your body over thinking that you will not achieve such lengths. Do not ignore their achievements, show encouragement.
All dancers will show body language when they are feeling frustration in an area that they need improvement with. Possibly you are feeling you are not learning as quickly as you anticipated. Your stance, or how you hold yourself….tha is, your body language will show your negativity or your state of mind. Make improvements in small steps and expect progress. Look proud of your improvements. Take in encouragement to embrace your passion to dance. In other words, work hard and dance it out! Your body is your tool, the language it displays is you, use your body wisely and not for displaying emotions…….