General Dance Discussion > How do you convey emotion in dancing? Facial expressions etc

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by classy1, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    What about just relaxing and enjoying? If only I had an idea what I am talking about, I'm just guessing...I haven't even completed one year of dancing but I couldn't help not coming back to you. My best wishes for your endeavours polishbloo!
  2. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Horrible as it sounds, you'll have to practice. It's acting nad projecting, so normal expressions don't carry far enough even when they're pleasant. I know where you're coming from; my default look is "pissed off." And I find my smiles fake looking when they show teeth, but I know from videos that's not how it carries.

    Worst comes to worst, have your partner say obnoxious things while you dance to try and get you to crack up. Works for one of my pros...
  3. dwink

    dwink New Member

    I gave a workshop on this to my collegiate team a few months ago. There are a lot of things that have to happen to dance with emotion and musicality. This should help you get started.

    1) All of your "technical" work has to be out of the way. You can't focus on the music and the feeling of the dance if you're worried about your heels and toes. Practice your routines until you can dance them in your sleep; commit the technique to muscle memory so you can relax and focus on musicality.
    2) Just sit and listen to dance music one day. Close your eyes and really listen. What do you feel?
    3) This one seems strange at first, but make sure you understand musical phrasing. Most music is split into sections (usually 8 measures each) and different parts of the phrases feel differently. Let's take Waltz for instance. Toward the end of a musical phrase, there's usually a great buildup leading into the first measure of the next phrase. One the first measure of that next phrase, I want to fly out of the gate, so I'll usually pick something that will move a lot (a fallaway reverse and slip pivot for instance). By dancing choreography that fits the music more, you should be able to feel the emotion of the dance better.
  4. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Someone said to me that if I want to have the smile when I compete I should make sure I smile when I practice. So it comes automatically when needed.
  5. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    by breathing
  6. twothreefourone

    twothreefourone Active Member

    Just for giggles - youtube . com / watch? v=ePHuZtLrEnQ

    Although, the expressions are worryingly accurate on novice/intermediate floors here in the UK :)

    When I first started competing, trying to maintain a smile whilst frantically trying to remember where to put my feet next usually ended up in a worrying Joker-smile/crazy-eyes combination. Now I'm a fan of starting with a neutral expression and letting the music in and going with what happens naturally, finding a balance/connection with my partner and just enjoying the dance. Worst case, I'd rather look bored with good technique :D I guess this is because often a lot of photos from comps capture the moment out of context and even normal expressions can look odd.

    When I'm watching, I always feel more involved by a couple who looks like they're dancing for/with each other, like no-one else matters. Then suddenly, you're looking them in the eyes, feeling like you've been caught staring until you realize they're dancing for you too. That knowing cheeky smile/wink is a killer weapon I'd like to learn :)
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have to say that for me, this is something I have to work more on controlling rather than doing...the reason I began to dance is because of what the music makes me feel....and I would be hard pressed to figure out how to help someone who struggled with's like, how do you teach someone to have sbstract vision and to see math in their head....I simply don't have that, doubt I could cultivate it, etc...I think it might be nearly as hard, not quite as hard, but nearly....
  8. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    This was so so well put!!!
  9. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    thanks for the video!!!!!
  10. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

  11. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I see two different steps here -- feeling an emotional connection to the music and conveying that feeling in a way visible at a distance. I can see those two being inextricable for some, but entirely separate for others, possibly related to the more general extrovert/introvert continuum. This means that some people really can fully enjoy music while sitting still, as incomprehensible as that can be to many dancers, so the lack of movement should not be taken as a lack of emotion. But when a person like that nevertheless takes up dancing, they have to learn how to externalize those emotions. Although the emotions themselves are genuine, it can be difficult to display them in a way that feels genuine. Although I don't have any particular solutions to suggest, I certainly don't think this is something that's impossible to learn. But I just wanted to challenge the implication (maybe not intended) that a person not showing emotion on the dance floor is necessarily lacking the feeling behind such expression.
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Sometimes just being genuine isn't attractive enough. Not everyone does, in fact, have a nice or convincing smile even if they really feel it. You just have to practice projecting, like your voice in acting, and adjusting your 'natural' expression if it doesn't look good.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think you make an excellent point...and I wouldn't, in any way, want to imply that people who do not show what music evokes in them don't feel equally inspired...just saying that, for me, it is near to impossible to conceal it and that I can't imagine having to figure out how to bring it out...not saying it is impossible... but very difficult....probably as difficult as it is for me to do things like...oh?...wait, calm down, slow down, not over do it........I have always felt that the hardest challenges in dance are the challenges that require from us that which is not our default way of being in the world
  14. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I have nothing to add to this. Just, yes.
  15. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    ditto what all of you said!! Very true indeed!
  16. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    I just saw the photos from my most recent comp...I thought I was looking flirtatious and cheeky in cha cha, but I ended up looking absolutely ridiculous.

    And my rumba...(shudders) There's one place I look like a chipmunk...and DP's face looks like he's laughing at the funny face I'm making. :oops:

    Clearly, we need to spend more time videoing ourselves at practice - and judging ourselves ruthlessly.
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    But honestly, that is the reason why I dance after all!

Share This Page