As I am in my home studio sneaking peaks of the James Comey hearings, I am struck by the thoughtfulness of his testimony and the tenor of his responses. They are measured and he is careful not to ascribe fact in a way that would question his testimony. He is honest and hedging – “I could be wrong”, “as I remember it”.
As a seasoned attorney as well as a former FBI director, he is straddling the line between honestly answering questions from both sides of the political spectrum and stopping just short of fueling the flame of what must be some deeply felt emotions. He is behaving appropriately.
While dancing, we don’t have to withhold our emotions. It is completely appropriate to be outwardly and truthfully feeling and what makes us interesting to watch is all about the emotional content of our dances. Jive is fun and playful, rumba is the dance of love, cha cha is flirty, waltz is smooth and elegant….. and so on.
The dance styles dictate the mood of emotion that we are asked to access. But after that, we are left to interpret and project the style into our own presentation. Like actors, recruiting truthful emotions is very much a part of our job as ballroom dancers.
It has always been my experience that the difficulty in accomplishing this truth is juggling the style part and the deeply felt emotion indicated.
For example, cha cha is flirty and playful. It also has quick hip action, footwork and arm styling. The challenge for me is to integrate all that technique while maintaining not only the style of cha cha but the truthfulness (organically accessed) of the style.
Yet, if we want to excel in cha cha – or any other dance style – we’ve gotta do all 3! Especially the last one, truth.
Konstantin Stanislavski, a seminal Russian actor, director and teacher was known for his focus on mobilizing the actor’s conscious thought and will in order to activate other, less-controllable psychological processes—such as emotional experience and subconscious behaviour—sympathetically and indirectly.
It sounds like we as dancers, whether professional or amateur are seeking the same thing. Crafting our conscious experiences and our subconsious – so often more truthful – into a beautiful mosaic that resonates not only with our audience but ourselves .
So, James Comey, do hold back just a bit. It is appropriate (my take definitely). But not for us! We can appropriately and fully express our feelings on the dance floor without censure or criticism. In fact, we are apt to get more criticism from NOT doing it. I was told more than once that my dancing was cold!
Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art. (Stanislavsky)
Happy Dancing! How do you work with projecting dance styles. If you know other dancers who may benefit from reading my blog, please forward.
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