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Geeky Ballerina

artistry + technique

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Elements of Artistry

Ooh, this is a fun topic! "Artistry" is such a broad term and traditional ballet resources mostly say "you must be artistic" but don't give any useful advice.

But I do. 

I have a pretty big project about artistry in the works, but in the meantime I'm sharing lots of content:  

​There are nine elements that dancers mix and match to create their unique artistic voice.

a teenage dancer en pointe
a young dancer on stage
  • Breath

    • The way a dancer breathes can make their dancing easier or harder. There aren't perfect rules for how to best use your breath--in fact, the opposite is true. There are only ideas to experiment with. Once dancers know how to use their breath to support their movement, the movement becomes easier to refine.

  • Somatic Awareness

    • There is no such thing as "perfect"​ dancing; we are all searching for the perfect way for our body to perform the movement. Being aware of what our body is actually doing is the critical first step.

  • Eye-line​

    • When dancer's use their eye-line well, it can give the illusion that the body is extending farther into space than it actually is, it can create an emotional connection between people, and it can direct the audience's attention without the dancer moving a single step.​

  • Line

    • A dancer's line is the combination of their placed position and the anticipation of their next position. It sounds simple but it takes years of practice to develop.

  • Body Carriage

    • So much more than posture, body carriage includes details like weight placement, micro-posture, and more, that a dancer can play with to help communicate on a deeper level.​

  • Dynamics

    • Sometimes called "quality of movement," dynamics is all the different ways you can perform a step--you can tendu softly, heavily, snootily . . . but it's still a tendu.  ​

  • Musicality

    • When the dance and the music are related (emotionally, mathematically, etc.) each art form highlights and supports the other. Musicality includes many concepts including rhythm, meter, timbre, and syncopation.​

  • Carving Through Three-Dimensional Space

    • When a dancer is aware of their whole body, instead of just their front, and how they are playing in all the space around them they become more compelling performers.

  • Acting

    • Sometimes dancers act out a plot, other times they use acting skills to convey a more general tone or emotion. But they are always acting as part of performance. When the acting skills are polished, they melt seamlessly into the choreography.​

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