Go Organic

“My sole (soul) connection is to movement, and its bounty of styles and intricacies.”

I am a mover. Yes, I am a ballerina, an artist, a technician, and a perfectionist, but the bottom line is that I am simply a mover. My sole (soul) connection is to movement, and its bounty of styles and intricacies. But this can easily be forgotten. In pursuit of knowledge, we tend to overcomplicate our lives, stressing, overthinking, and beginning to feel so many conflicting ideas  that we can barely move at all. It is the basics that will save us – natural, organic movement and remembering who we are. Ballerina, Rockette, or breaker, you just need to keep it simple.

I think one of the most common flaws when moving is overworking yourself. A body that is working with conflicting ideas cannot display flow and ease of movement. It’s interesting that a common failure among dancers is not letting go and being natural. Not to hop on the Elsa train, but you really have to “let it go” sometimes! When I receive the correction to “just dance” or “don’t try so hard” at first I’m a little doubtful, but it’s nearly laughable in the end because it always works. The answer is so accessible. If you’re supposed to be turning, let yourself turn-naturally. If you’re jumping, don’t analyze the movement to the extent that you barely come off the ground. Jump. It’s so simple, but as professionals of our craft, our pursuit of greatness and exploration of new ideas can cause us to miss the big picture.

“…the difference between a dancer and a great dancer is exploration of movement and the awareness that they have…A dancer who can vary the way they move and have control of these sensational concepts, will convey beauty in everything they do.”

Here’s something else I bet you haven’t thought about lately in class – sensation. Yes, you’re moving through air, by yourself or maybe partnered, on a Marley floor, but what is your connection point? What is your relationship with all of those things? Although you shouldn’t complicate your life (as I mentioned above), the difference between a dancer and a great dancer is exploration of movement and the awareness that they have. When we dance we are of another world to the audience. They want to see ease and beauty. A dancer who can vary the way they move and have control of these sensational concepts, will convey that beauty in everything they do.

Ballet Theatre of Maryland's Nutcracker 2013 - I think our best photo moments are dancers are the moments we think no one will capture, when we are simply living...
Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Nutcracker 2013 – “I think our best photo moments as dancers are the moments we think no one will capture, when we are simply living…” Photo Courtesy of Donna Cole
All of this is fine and dandy as long as you’re breathing though. As dancers, not a class goes by that we don’t let out a shockingly long exhale at the end of a combination. An audible reminder that we were holding our breath the whole time. Not only will you tire yourself out this way, but you lose that natural side, your connection to the earth. You start to become a pent up dancer soon to fatigue, instead of a smooth, confident mover. Be “otherworldly” so you look flawless and confident, but do not lose that organic appeal. It’s okay to breathe. Give yourself moments in which you can embrace what you’re doing and fuel yourself.

This is not a lecture, but rather a reminder. I am reminded of something new in my practice of ballet every day (part of what I love about ballet, but we’ll get into that another day). Sometimes the tools you are given will help you and sometimes they won’t. But I guarantee that being natural and simple, will work every time. If you go back to that whenever you stray or overanalyze, you will be just fine. Move, experience, feel the space around you, and connect to it, breathe…Remember who you are. You are a mover.

Partnering work for Ballet Theatre of Maryland's Interlude 2013 - Photo Courtesy of Sarah Gilliam
Partnering work for Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Interlude 2013 – Photo Courtesy of Sarah Gilliam

Ballet Theatre of Maryland's Nutcracker 2013 - Photo Courtesy of Donna Cole
Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Nutcracker 2013 – Photo Courtesy of Donna Cole

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