Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Thrill of Performing

Dance performances are very exciting times and they are usually the highlights of a dancers’ career. You get to show off all of the skills that you have practiced so hard and your hard work finally pays off. The thrill of it is something addicting that keeps dancers wanting more. When you are on stage, you are not thinking. You are just feeling and your body moves naturally. When your movement just happens without much added effort or thought, you have created a successful dance performance.

My most recent performance was May 7th and 8th 2010. This performance took place at Towson University where I go to school, and it was held in the building where I take class. I remember it was a lovely, sunny day because as I walked to the performance building I felt energized and inspired. The show was called the Dance Majors Performance Project (DMPP). As you can probably tell from the title, this performance showcased the dance majors’ own choreography, whether it be the choreographer actually dancing it, or a piece choreographed for other dancers. This was an excellent show because there was such a variety! There were contemporary and lyrical pieces, arial numbers performed on a trapeze, a tap dance with a live pianist, and a hip hop number where the dancers wore glow in the dark body paint. There was truly something for everyone in this show.

My piece was one that I choreographed and performed as a solo and it was in the contemporary style. It was about moving out of your comfort zone and unexpectedly growing into something new and improved. It represented my process of auditioning for DMPP and recreating my solo. I auditioned with a dance that had no particular meaning, and I did not dig deep to figure out why I was dancing. I partnered up with a faculty mentor who gave me plenty of helpful advice and forced me to expand as a choreographer. This process opened my eyes to new opportunities and interesting ways of moving. The lighting for the piece represented my theme because I traveled in a diagonal line from upstage to downstage and the lights highlighted this line, as if leading the way. I felt the beams warm on my bare skin and it is as if it guided me through the movement.

When I was out on that stage in front of a room full of people, I could feel all of the sets of eyes on me, waiting, and I felt nervous because I am not very experienced in performing my own choreography. At the same time, I felt so alive and exhilarated because I was doing something that I love and I got to share that with the audience. I did not practice my dance during the minutes before my performance because once I stepped out on that stage, nothing mattered. The movement came freely and I did not have to worry about messing up, because even if I did, I was so in the moment that I would have been able to continue on effortlessly.

As I danced across the stage, I could see both the audience and the people backstage, but it was difficult to pick people out because everything was dark. I was aware of the black curtains hanging from the side of the room and the lights that were held behind them. They were white lights shining brightly into my eyes and I could not look directly at them or else I would get disoriented. I took notice of the way the floor felt on my feet so I could properly gain my balance. The floor was smooth yet hard, and there was a lot of friction between the floor and my feet.

I began onstage facing the upstage corner. This corner represented my past and the way I used to dance. Therefore, I performed movements with straight legs and pointed toes like I was taught in ballet. As I reached to the corner and windmilled my arms, I quickly did a fan kick with my leg high in the air to face the opposite corner, which represented the future and growth. When I was facing this new corner, my movements were sharp and quick like I was scared. I went on to do a pas de bourre, which is a ballet step, but I let my upper body release. During this part, I held most of my tension in my legs since they were the part that was working. I quickly snapped around again to face the far corner while reaching with my arms as if I wanted to go there, but being very cautious in my legs as I scooted towards the center. The music goes silent for a couple seconds, then picks up speed as I continue on with the rest of my experience.

Here is my solo!


Brody Glenn said...

I saw this performance and you danced beautifully! Keep up all the hard certainly shows!

Peggy said...

Your description of your solo is fantastic! I can totally visualize the dance. I have no doubt it was beautiful!

Kelsey said...

thank you :)
I'm in the process of posting a video so everyone can actually see it!