If you’ve ever been on a long car trip as a kid, maybe you played the same game my siblings and I used to play. First, we’d watch the cars go by and check out their license plates to see where they came from. Then we’d make up a story about them. It was fun because we had to use the clues around us to tell the story. Also, it was a great way to develop our creativity…and it made the time pass more quickly.
Telling a story is one way to express the music as you’re dancing.
How do you do it?
- Awareness Pay attention to music when you’re dancing. Not just the beat; listen to the melody and the words, too. A good way to begin is to let the words tell the story and all you have to do is express it.
- Feelings How does the music make you feel? Is it lovely, lilting, soft, and swirly? Does it make you feel so light you could be dancing on a cloud? On the other hand, perhaps it has a super-strong beat and a fast pace. If that’s the case, no doubt you feel more grounded. It’s as if your spirit has been taken over by the power of this song. You can’t be still.
- Confidence Above all, you need to have confidence in yourself, your company, and your surroundings to let it all hang out.
Take a look at this Dance Safari post, “Types of Waltz in Ballroom Dancing” to get a feel for the softness you’d express while doing the Waltz.
Why bother telling a story?
It’s all about expressing yourself.
- An actor reciting his lines without putting some feeling into it won’t be an actor for long.
- A child who wants you to buy him a particular new toy will put his heart and soul into explaining how much it would mean to him.
- When you receive a gift that’s perfect, you search for the right words to express your gratitude.
It’s the same when we perform a ballroom dance.
Obviously, if you’re performing you’re going to do your best. You learned your steps and memorized the choreography. But, there’s more to demonstrating a ballroom dance than that. You do yourself and your audience a disservice if you don’t let them in on the story behind the dance.
In a ballroom performance or demonstration, the first thing to do is to know the story you want to tell. It really has to do with the music. For example, a sexy love story won’t fit very well with a piece of honky-tonk, feel-good music. On the other hand, it would work perfectly with a beautiful Rumba or Bolero.
What about expression in social dancing?
Why wouldn’t you? Most people consider it the icing on the cake. Really feeling the music and using your body to express it is guaranteed to make you feel good. When you’re in touch with the music, it’s in charge.
Watch a little kid start dancing when he hears an upbeat song. He can’t control it; it moves him and he goes with it. I know, ’cause I just watched my 2-year-old grandson do that. He couldn’t quit if he wanted to. Now, that’s one with the music.
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