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How do dancers keep their spatial alignment?


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#16 Louise*

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 11:26 AM

Diane writes:

The whole concept of where one's body is in the space around takes time to inernalise.


That makes sense. But I would imagine that this was a kind of specialized skill. You can certainly observe this in operation in places like a major underground metro or subway system, or all sorts of complex urban crowd situations. Some do it brilliantly, weaving in and out, moving quickly and efficiently, never bumping, always going with the flow. I'm one of these, thank goodness. Others -- including several friends -- never seem to manage to adapt to it even after decades of having to try.

I can visualize (perhaps erroneously) student dancers who are technically tremendously gifted but who have great difficulty in placing themselves, while moving, in relation to others. Conversely, I can visualize student dancers who are great at this kind of placement -- and have a good sense of context and relation to others -- but are not as technically proficient in other aspects of dance.

Another way of looking at this might be to ask: Are there some people who are natural ensemble dancers -- and others who are not?

Edited to add: Innopac's initial post mentioned spear-carriers in Pharoah's Daughter. It's not only a matter of where they stand; it's the angle at which they carry their spears. The Russians on stage are particularly good at this kind of thing with armaments, etc. Americans and Brits seem to be particularly lackadaisical.


Hi All I dont know if this might help But i will post it anyway if it is useless please disregard:-)

An exercise i learnt in stage craft was to stand face to face with someone else and for both of you to start to move ( not dancing just moving at first) very slowly. The Idea is to get used to another body in close proximity to yours. Gradually more people join in. You pay attention to what others are doing and react accordingly.

It is like singing in a choir you join something bigger than yourself its like one hundred drops of water coming together to form an ocean or something:-)

Another exercise is for one person to start moving and you mirror them, taking their lead and again gradually more people join in.

The idea is for you to start thinking of the whole group as a dancer and not just yourself:-) It can be a lovely experience as there is a kind of sisterhood or something in it:-)

It is a lovely contrast to working alone (which i find easier too!!)

Not that i am any good or anything:-)!!

#17 bart

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 02:13 PM

Thanks for our post, Louise*. And welcome to Ballet Talk!

An exercise i learnt in stage craft was to stand face to face with someone else and for both of you to start to move ( not dancing just moving at first) very slowly. The Idea is to get used to another body in close proximity to yours. Gradually more people join in. You pay attention to what others are doing and react accordingly.

It is like singing in a choir you join something bigger than yourself its like one hundred drops of water coming together to form an ocean or something:-)


I put one of your sentences into Boldface, because it seems important to positioning in all sorts of social interactions (which dance on stage is, I think).

It's good to know that there are techniques, which can be practiced, to teach this essential skill. After all, it takes a long time living in a crowded city like New York to become really good at negotiated subways and busy streets without an accident. Why not on a ballet stage? Practice -- always based first on "pay attention" -- really does help us approach perfection. :wink:

#18 emilienne

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 03:26 PM

Speaking as someone who did marching band (Imagine Dante's Divine Comedy on a football field...) - while settings are different, there are certain commonalities among stages or fields: footlights, side partitions, tape marks or yard markers on a field, the scenery, each other. Other dancers/performers are in particular very important. You may be off but then the performers behind you can subtly adjust themselves to even out irregularities provided that they have some forewarning.

As for blind pass throughs, in my case it seemed to be mostly experience in using senses to judge spatial relations, after rigorous rehearsal in knowing your 'correct' place. During one particularly grueling practice, I was marching backward about 20 feet, passing through the sousaphones (who were also marching backward) when I must have stepped off mark. I used my peripheral vision to stay in formation, and used the noises emanating from the sousaphones to judge where my gap would most likely be. I missed colliding with the sousaphone, but unfortunately my hair didn't.

emi

#19 Louise*

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 03:29 PM

I put one of your sentences into Boldface, because it seems important to positioning in all sorts of social interactions (which dance on stage is, I think).

It\'s good to know that there are techniques, which can be practiced, to teach this essential skill. After all, it takes a long time living in a crowded city like New York to become really good at negotiated subways and busy streets without an accident. Why not on a ballet stage? Practice -- always based first on \"pay attention\" -- really does help us approach perfection. :wink:



A big thanks for the welcome :)!!

I think you are so right about dance being social interaction onstage :)

I will get there hopefully too :) i am always improving (I hope!!) :)


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