It is fascinating how formative dance is. How it transcends the five letters that constitute it to teach us about so many things. And here it is, as a way to discover otherness, to take one step towards a person, whether a partner, a coach or a spectator, but also towards that other “you” dying to come out of the shell.
A Step Towards Your Partner
Building a Partnership
I was once told that partnership in dancing is like marriage in real life. Although, slightly exaggerated, the image stresses on the value of commitment. Suddenly, you are not one, but two practicing, learning, and performing. It is quite destabilizing at first, knowing that the self melts into a pair, that your hand no longer is the limit to your body. With time, you explore the edges of this new alien body called “couple” and whose existence is bound to a clear communication on priorities and mutual confidence. Only then, you can really dance with your partner.
A connection is in the making as you look at your partner neither as a teacher, nor as a student nor as a rival, but as an intrinsic element of the dance – a necessary component for your practice, and a pillar of your learning process. You care about him/her as much as you care about yourself, because the dance requires your collaboration and it is only by complementing each other that you can produce a true dance sport partnership.
A Step With Your Coach
Establishing the Bond
Your relationship with your coach is that of a student to his/her mentor. What a lovely word! What a perfect word to describe the teacher, the guide, the judge, the counselor, and sometimes even the psychiatrist! It all starts with a commitment to one class, then to the other, and then to the teachings, to the comments, to the endless follow-ups. It grows with an influence on style and shapes the dancing body and the dancing mind in so many ways. But, commitment also happens the other way around, when the coach takes on the responsibility to transfer as much knowledge as possible and to contribute to the success of the dancer.
Nurturing the Bond
To succeed in their endeavors, both partners of the mentorship should communicate clearly on goals, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, expectations, problems, solutions, and so on and so forth. Once everything is set on the table, an integrating force allows all the bits to get together and form a path. That force is called: confidence. Without it, knowledge evaporates, teaching weakens, and hopes vanish. With it, dancing can rise up to a whole new level.
A Step For The Public
Creating a Connection
Having honed your craft, learned the tricks and gained necessary confidence in yourself and in your partner, you come to the public with an explosion of energy. You share it with them and thereby create a sacred connection between the movement and the eye. Everything is possible through that fiber of energy. Tell your stories and they will be heard. Share your feelings and they will be felt. Give your best and it will be seen.
Sharing the Experience
Be honest to yourself. As much as you would like to say that you only dance for yourself, truth is, you are not. In dancing, you reveal yourself; you bring it to a stage, show it to the world, and share it with your friends. Eventually, you care about what the judges would say and about the comments of your coach. You care about the smiles on your friends’ and family’s faces. And the encouragements of a crowd cannot leave you indifferent. Because it is through this valuable sharing experience that the movement and the eye complement each other, satisfaction for satisfaction, and excitement for excitement.
A Step Into The Self
Re-discovering the “I”
How is it that the Self is another? Well, look back at the moments of your life that knew no movement and look again at yourself, now, after all the dancing. Are you the same person? Chances are, once you commit to dancing, you also commit to a new lifestyle. Habits change, goals grow, characters blossom. You discover a new mean of communication and break the silence. You can now express yourself differently. And the more confidence you gain, the better you will share experiences, and the more liberated you will feel.
All this allows you to connect to yourself, to understand this new being in motion. You start taking better care of yourself, of your body, of your health. You even take care of your shoes and clothes like they were treasures – well, they are. But more importantly, you care about others, because you allow yourself to be real, to be vulnerable, and to be present. You embrace your femininity, ladylike yet sensual. You discover manhood in light of the unveiled gentleman. You free that part of you that is dying to reveal itself and complete the drawing that makes your identity.
You become who you are.
You are who you want yourself to be.
Author: Alexandra Kodjabachi
Photography: Maggiore Fotografico
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review