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Friday, February 10, 2012

MAKE EVERY NOTE PERSONAL

Have you ever been in a dance class and the teacher takes time throughout the class to point our personal corrections. He usually waltzes over to a dancer and gives something specific for that dancer to consider. Every good teacher takes the time to correct their students.

During these few moments in class we have 3 options:
1) check-out and wait for the personal time with another dancer to be over
2) Acknowledge the imperfection of my dance mate and silently put ourselves in the position of “teacher” (i.e. she really should fix that)
3) MAKE THE NOTE PERSONAL TO ME

Today’s daily dance note is MAKE EVERY NOTE PERSONAL. I learned a few years back that one of the chief ways to improve as a dancer was to take every note given in a class as my own. When a note goes from general to personal, I pretend the teacher is standing by me and sharing this nugget with me. I even physicalize the note on the spot as the other dancer works to demonstrate the more correct version of the exercise. If we make all notes personal we stay engaged in the class, learn more, and build a healthy rapport with our other dance mates.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!

Dancers are usually the first in a long list of art genres to “lose themselves”. So often we are taught to mimic a choreographer or immolate the feelings of a given piece. We tend to forget who we are and that we have a voice.

Today’s dance note is REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! Dance is a language and the message inside of you is unique only to you. We are given the gift of dance to express the deeper things in life that words cannot express. And, yes, many of you are busy doling out steps for a buck here and there and it’s all you can do to survive.

Take a few minutes after your warm-up today and speak with your body. Express through movement what words cannot do justice. Free your body to move and speak and create! You are a dancer! DANCE IT OUT!

Friday, November 4, 2011

FINISH THE JOB!

It seems that the moment a contract begins another “better” job is calling our name. Work is sporadic and we dancers tend to jump at any and every gig that comes our way. We ponder how to get out of one contract and into the other.

Today’s note is FINISH THE JOB! I remember signing a contract for The Christmas Show at Radio City and a week later being offered an 8 week stint in the Broadway show FOSSE. There were two dilemmas: 1) My contract with Radio City was signed and 2) I’d always wanted to dance on the Great White Way. I made the very grueling decision to stay committed to Radio City and more than that “my word”. I had promised to fulfill my contract on paper and decided that my dream of dancing on Broadway would come back around if that was God’s plan. I knew that I was the only one who could honor my work ethic. To this day I wonder if it was the right decision but I also know that I went on to enjoy a very rich 15 year career at Radio City.

As professional dancers we need to “FINISH THE JOB”. Directors and choreographers tire of dancers who leave their project for other projects. Eventually, those same directors and choreographers are the ones offering those “better” jobs and you want to be on their “like” list. Our work ethic will serve as a foundation for a long and healthy career full of wonderful working relationships.

FINISH THE JOB!

Monday, October 17, 2011

CONQUER THE MIRROR

Conquer the Mirror!

A typical day for a dancer goes something like this. ALARM-COFFEE-TIGHTS-MIRROR-MIRROR-LUNCH-MIRROR-MIRROR-MIRROR-DINNER-SHOWER-BED. We spend the majority of our existence facing a mirror. We are vividly aware of good days, bad days, skinny days, fat days.

Today’s note is CONQUER THE MIRROR! Let’s face it dancers-we need to see what we are producing. At the same time we need to realize that mirrors are deceiving. Their voices are often untrue and their constant desire for more/better/best is just smoke and, well, mirrors. You are beautifully and wonderfully made! Your true reflection is far deeper than a sheet of glass. Once you find that honest reflection of who you are-YOU’VE CONQUERED THE MIRROR.

Now you can enter the studio with confidence. You’ll find more time to laugh with those around you in class and you can leave each day with a true inward smile. And, more importantly, you become the very best YOU that is meant to be.

Conquer the Mirror!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Honor Wardrobe!

In the wee hours after the curtain comes down there are cute little fairies that enter the theatre and clean your costumes, prep your wigs, fold your tights and sew on loose buttons. Hello! Wardrobe department-

Today's note is HONOR WARDROBE. Just as you have put in years of training to work as a dancer you must realize that employees in other departments in the theater have worked equally as hard to hone their job. Always say thank you during that quick change that could have only been successful with 3 people helping you. Do your best to hang costumes up after they are used and keep your shoes and accessories as neat and compact as possible.

If you honor wardrobe you will find that you will be respected and honored in return. Those little fairies are people who, like you, want to have an enjoyable experience at work.

Honor Wardrobe!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learn To Read Music!

For those of you who are already working professionally you know that reading music comes into play. Even when you are hired as a “dancer” and that is the majority of what you are doing within a given production, there are times when a piece of sheet music comes across your dance bag.

Today’s note is LEARN TO READ MUSIC! Reading music is a skill that every artist needs. For those of you who choreograph dance, the ability to read music is of great importance. Most composers do not know how to count the way dancers count. Their music is written in 4/4 for example and you are counting in 8’s. It will be your job to communicate in musical terms rather than in dance terms. Or, maybe you are appearing in a holiday show and need to learn a chorus and verse of a song for the finally. It’s a bit embarrassing to be a pro at dancing and have no clue about music. This tool will serve you well.

If you learn to read music you will gain confidence in the rehearsal studio, broaden your skill set and have the ability to grow as a well rounded performer.

Learn to Read Music!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Think Long Term!

Most dancers enter the world of dance with a looming reality that some day it’ll all be over: no more standing at the barre perfecting plie, no more gracing a stage somewhere in the world with a new performance, no more sitting in the dressing room gluing those eye lashes. We believe that we only have a short little window to DANCE. As a result we carry around this deep fear and anxiety. Though it is rarely exposed it is definitely present.

Today’s note is THINK LONG TERM. After I got married I thought my dancing was over. Once the herniated disc was found I really thought I was done. Two knee surgeries should surely do the trick. Then after my first child I thought it would be over. My second child came along and while I was pregnant was asked to do the most exciting project of my dance career. After 22 years of professional dancing I realize, finally, that I’ll always be an artist.

If you think long term now you will enjoy the project you are currently working on and look forward to the many other projects that have “your name” on it later in life.

Think Long Term!