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When I dance I always end up concentrating on technique so much that I look like a robot... not a good look. But when I try to use my epaulment and port de bras better it looks forced or just feels wrong :P . Can anyone help me with this?

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This is a common way of feeling for someone of your age group. Your obstacles may be focus and confidence. Also over working can create the forced, unnatural appearance in some dancers. Perhaps if you learn to see beyond where you look. In general, the eyes are the conductors of the fingers. There really are specific places to look that enhance the artistry of a movement. Try to work more clearly with your eyes, face and neck. There should be a natural flow to the upper back, fingers, head and eyes. It is not just a matter of turning your body toward croise or efface. Expressivity needs to be as carefully trained and studied as legs, feet and quantity of turns!

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Guest devion101

I know I'm not a teacher, but I thought I'd share my two bits, :P . Whenever I dance and I notice that I'm getting robotic, I pretend that I'm dancing with my favorite pas de deux partner (Angel Corella!!!) or that I'm dancing in front of a huge audience at McCaw Hall... It always makes me smile! Look into relaxing more and letting your body use its muscle memory for technique (but by no means forget about tech, just don't focus as much on it, if that makes any sense). I hope this helps a little!



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SFB2b, I have that same issue. It has been my main issue for years. When I get on stage I normally am much free in my movement, but in class I look stern, and in the words of my teacher like a robot. When I was young I observed the older students and their usual port de bras then I tried to mimick that, which led me to looking like a robot. I project much more once I get on stage, I need to bring that same performing aspect into the classroom. Another problem is I am a big jumper and so my biggest obstacle is being able to let the upper body flow while jumping. I am so concentrated on making sharp and presice, lines with my legs, and feet that I end up bringing that same force in my upper body. Latley what I have been trying to do is smile not forced but softly. It makes my arms float better and makes me actually open my eyes!! (that is what I do for myself not advice) It is a tiny supplement to help me during my maturing process! :)

Edited by MYBkid
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thank you for the help, Ms. Schnieder, and also devion.


MYBkid, you sound a lot like me! jumping is my strongest suit (when i'm not injured :) ). i seem to be fine on the stage also, in fact i've been complimented on my stage prescense a few times. its just so difficult to pretend that there is an audience in the studio setting! :rolleyes:

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Im always very tense, and one thing ive tried seems to help. when you get the tense robotic feeling, its like you are pulling into yourself, so sometimes i imagine that my body takes up more space, as if i were twice my size, and i have to fill that space.

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devion101 and MYBkid, very nice comments! :) However, please do not confuse concentration with focus!


...(but by no means forget about tech, just don't focus as much on it...


Focus is a very important aspect of artistry and expressivity. Without this being understood, a corps de ballet cannot have a uniform look and soloists would have a difficult time making a connection with the audience.

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Guest devion101

Thanks Ms. Schnieder! I was meaning to say something more along the lines of 'concentration' but 'focus' is what I typed instead... :) . Thanks for the corrrection!

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