Dance Tips – How to make your movement dynamic with texture

If you were to hear a balloon pop, how would you mimic that sound with your movement? Maybe you might make a sharp chest isolation like it’s bouncing off a wall to come back. Or you may dime stop a movement. Now what if instead of a balloon popping, you stuck a small needle into the soft part allowing for it to make a hiss sound as the air slowly leaks out… Now what would that movement look like? Probably something slow, controlled, and steady in a downward or collapsing motion. In both scenarios, air was leaving the balloon. Both scenarios take us from point A (balloon full of air) to point B (balloon with no air). But the way you go from point A to point B in both scenarios is very different. And the same should go for how we dance! As a dancer, you would visually portray each of those balloon popping scenarios very differently. This is what we call texture in dance. In short, it’s how a move feels.

But how do you know what textures to create?

It’s all going to be driven by the music! 

Here are 3 steps to start creating more textures within your dancing:

1. First you have to know – What are you dancing to on that given move? Is it the lyrics, the base, hi hat, ad libs, etc.?

2. Now what does that part of the music sound like? Is it sharp and staccato? Is it deep and drawn out? Is it light and airy? Smooth? Gravely?

3. Once you can define what a specific part of the music sounds like, then you can create a feeling with your movement. How can your body mirror that sound? This is where your technical training comes into play; This is where you use your core and muscle control

Let’s go back to our balloons – The balloon pops. You can make a quick movement such as a rotation on the ball of the foot or an isolation within your torso to mirror that sound, and that might look ok. But let’s step it up a notch! How can you truly mirror that popping noise? How would you describe it? I would say it’s sharp! And it has a quick stop. So how do you create sharp movement with a quick stop? If you guessed with your core, ding ding ding! You’re correct! Press down into the ground and brace through your core so you can control that movement as it is quick and sharp and comes to a complete stop – just the same way that when a balloon pops, it happens quick and suddenly.

As an artist, there’s so many ways to interpret and shape sound. And the beauty of this is that you have the ability to make a viewer hear something and expereince music in a way that they’ve never heard it before through the visuals you’re creating. Adding texture will transform your dancing from just movement to a story that others can connect to.

So next time you’re in a dance class, level up your dance execution by figuring out how to create texture through your movement. Connect to the music and what you’re specifically dancing to and ask yourself, what does this sound look and feel like? And if you can recognize that some texture is needed, but you’re not sure How to create it, ask! Your instructor should be able to guide you to that feeling and give you the technical components needed to create it.

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