What I often find when teaching class is that I have to take a moment to invite dancers to bring their whole selves into the studio space. Not just the physical version of them that has a kick-butt tendu or a killer right leg extension. Whole self. All of you.
This even happens at open class level, which is where you often take class once you’ve graduated from your home studio [the one that part-raised you, helped grow you and gave you your foundation and so much more ;)] The temptation is to turn up in the best physical way. Which is awesome. Every ounce of body training, engagement, alignment and precision will be there. But there’s more. Your dance skill set has more to it than execution.
When you walk into a studio what I find most constructive is to leave your 'judgy' stories, labels, self-sabotage skills, expectations and insecurities at the door and take the rest of you right on in. Because when you dance I want to see YOU. Not your body making shapes because I’m telling it to.
Here’s the thing. When you show up and focus just on the physicality it looks just like that. The cross the floor work can seem wooden and the combination a series of arms, legs, rotation, contractions etc… lacking that extra something. Funnily enough, when I gently point this out to dancers, that they may be concentrating too hard on physically nailing even the simple walks across the floor, so concerned to 'get it right' and put their body to work - they usually smile. And exhale. All of a sudden they've really arrived now they've let go of the vice grip.
That extra something? It’s you. Your animation, your expression, your emotion, your story, your experience, your vulnerability, your unique take and interpretation, your magic. And we want to see it. Because dance is so much more than just what your body does.