Improving your Vocabulary


My husband and I were discussing improvisational dance. I mentioned that, in many dancers, I saw problems with their "phrasing".
He likened dance to language. You have a vocabulary. You use those words as eloquently as you can. If you are not fluent in a language, you use the words that you know, but do not connect them well. For example, I speak "Tarzan Turkish". I know alot of nouns and verbs, but don't always have all I need to make good sentences. In dance, this would translate to having all the major concepts, but they do not flow gracefully into each other. Transistional moves are needed.

Fading...If I want to move from a shimmy to a spin, I will start turning slowly while I'm still shimmying, and then fade the shimmy out.

Arm position....the arms frame your moves. Let the arms and hands draw the gaze and the attention to the next move.

Flow...Have you watched a dancer and thought, "I can see her counting"? Often, a dancer is thinking, "ok shimmy,... shimmy, and... turn"! How do we make these transitions seamless? Oddly enough, the best trick I've got, I learned from hockey. The goaltender must not lock the knees. The slightest bend in the knees assures the ability to change direction in a split second. The dancer must maintain this soft flexibility all over. I see dancers locking the upper body to "push off" their shimmy, or lock the hips to work the shoulders.
It is the paradox of the dance that the dancer must have complete muscle control while staying absolutely fluid.
You can help make yourself mindfull of this by working on your drum solo. Pay attention to the areas of your body that are not the main focus of the movement. Identify the most tight and immobile joints in your body. Do not lock the feet to the floor, either!

Learn to focus more on the melody than the drum, at least for awhile. Work with some musics that are not so drum heavy like Balkan or Flamenco. Focusing too much on the drum's rhythm will limit your fluidity.