A Dancers Journey!

As you enter the nightclub, you begin to feel the music as it calls you to the dance floor. It captivates you. Your eyes move across the dance floor as the adrenaline in you begins to rise like mercury in a thermometer. Your body then begins to absorb all the sounds and rhythms coming from the music playing. Your shoulders begin to twitch. Your knees begin to shake. All around you there are couples dancing, executing turn patterns, and creating a whole different world — the Nightclub world. As you watch the performance of the mambo team, you marvel over how the dancers are able to make the dance seem so effortless. The little voice inside you says, “I can do that!” But somehow you know it takes more than just standing in front of people to perform. It takes a particular mind set.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to perform? If you do then you must first search for the performer within you.

For many dancers, both professional and amateurs, there comes a time when we decide to challenge ourselves further. We know that eventually we could put all the hours of dance classes and all that sweat to a test. There are those students who aspire to perform and there are those who do not. Either way, it’s always good to challenge yourself every now and then. To meet this new challenge requires hours of study. As with anything in life, we all have a sense of what works for us and what does not. If we remain realistic, then we can all relate to the following types of dance individuals:

those that never take dance classes, yet dance great

those that study hard, but just can’t cut it on the dance floor those that just dance socially for fun with no worries

those that take dance classes and master every step

Which are you?

As we look further at the above types, several elements will set one apart from the other. Stage fright is one element. (The fear of performing in front of an audience) Each will have their own individual approach to overcome stage fright. Even if you are just a student and are performing in workshops, you will experience a level of stage fright. It is not only the professional that knows this experience.

Allow me to suggest several ways to overcome this fear. Repetition and time are two standards already known to the dancer. The more you go over your steps and/or routine, the more you remember. This will hopefully translate to an increase in confidence and hence a better performance. As a result, the stage fright should begin to dissipate with time.

Another way to overcome stage fright is to convert those butterflies in your stomach to performance energy. By performance energy I mean make it a positive force and commit your focus and nervousness to a new level. Let the nervousness work in your favor. The result will be rewarding.

Yet another element that will set you apart, whether you are non-professional or professional, is your presentation. (This is the last part of a “dancer’s journey”) The ultimate Here is where you put everything together. You have one chance to give it your best shot. They say that practice makes perfect. Well, I don’t know if it’s going to make you perfect, but it will surely enhance your dance!! Your presentation illustrates who you are and what you feel for the music. If it’s mechanical, people will know it. If it’s done with feeling, the audience will respond to it. So remember to present yourself with enthusiasm and energy. Whether you are a professional, club dancer, or amateur, always exude confidence.

When you begin to search for that performer within you, the first place you should look is in the dance class! Here is where it all begins. Here is where you do your soul searching and where your confidence builds. The dance classes are there to inspire, educate, make you sweat and build self-confidence. All the elements of a performer are discovered in a dance class! Even if you’re are just a student looking to have fun on the dance floor, you too will gain much from it. The next time you find yourself in a class, take a moment and look at the people around you, watch them as they lose themselves in front of the mirror. See how they want to make the most of those open shines or turn patterns. You should too. You should always strive to make the most of your class. Take a few moments to experiment with everything you can. Transform yourself for that period of time. Begin to search for that performer within you. Look at others around and absorb what you can. It’s OK. to imitate and borrow. Dancing is an evolution and imitation is the highest form of flattery. The dance class can be a nurturing environment. Here, you grow as a dancer. It is a place you should always go back to when you want to reaffirm your basics. To the non-professional I say, lose yourself and experiment. To the more experienced I say, hone your skills and give it your best. The performer in you is there. It’s just a matter of dancing it out of you.

A dancer’s journey never ends.

The performer within you is never fulfilled. As dancers, we look for that next “shine” or that next “turn combination”. The hunger, the thirst, never seems to subside. Whether your an amateur or not, “the dance” is what we look forward to. It’s an immense feeling. A therapy like no other. The music, the rhythms, the body language, the silent conversations that are had on the dance floor, all bring you closer to that performer within you. For it’s not something that is taught out right. Yet is something that is natural, and grows within you. When you find yourself socially dancing, you are in fact performing. When you find yourself, conversing with a friend, you are in fact performing. This can be said about different situations. The point is that you don’t necessarily have to be engaged in a physical environment to experience a performance. It can be subtle or it can be concrete. The ‘performer” is already in you. It is the mind set that makes the difference.

So remember that dancing, in general, is about feeling, about describing, about illustrating and telling a story, and having fun!!! The performer within you is there. It’s all in the timing.


Article by Angel Ortiz

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