How to develop your body awareness

 

Now that you've read about dance musicality, we can dive into body awareness!

The more you familiarize yourself with your body, the more control will have over it.

That's why understanding and developing your body awareness is essential for building your dance foundation.

 

Body awareness in dance

 

Have you ever taken a yoga class?

 

If you have, then you'll know that a big objective of yoga is simply to be present – in the mind, and the body.

 

By doing so, you're bringing together your mental and physical parts.

 

Similarly, as a dancer, your mind and body must be working together – your mind is the part that understands the music and the intent behind the movement, and your body is the actual tool for moving.

 

For better body awareness, try this

 

Lay on the floor, and close your eyes. (Turn on some light music here, if you want.)

Go through this list of body parts, and focus your thoughts and feelings on each one.

Flex or move the part to draw more attention to it.

 

Once you feel fully comfortable with where it is and what it feels like, move on to the next one

.

  • Arms
  • Shoulder
  • Forearm
  • Wrist
  • Fingers
  • Fingertips
  • Legs
  • Thigh
  • Knees
  • Calves
  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Toes
  • Hips *Try rotating them in and out
  • Chest
  • Upper chest
  • Core (tummy area)
  • Lower abdomen
  • Neck

 

*Try turning your neck, and also rolling it clock- and counter-clockwise

It sounds almost too easy to be effective – but the key here is not the difficulty of the movement (which is obviously very minimal).

 

The key is how familiar you're becoming with these body parts, which requires a surprisingly great deal of focus.

 

Muscle memory starts with muscle awareness!

 

 

Body placements in dance

 

Cool, so we're getting to know what each part of body feels like in a resting position.

Let's create some pictures to explore how our bodies look and feel in certain placements.

 

We'll be using 3 main ideas for these exercises:

 

  • Focus
  • Posture
  • Angles
  • Focus

 

What "focus" refers to in dance is the direction your face is facing.

Timed right with a committed facial, your focus has the power to make or break a piece.

Whatever pose you're holding or pathway you're moving through, your focus is most commonly straight to the mirror (not the greatest habit, but it's good to watch yourself at first, when developing body awareness), to the right, to the left, up, down – and to varying degrees.

 

For example, "right 45" can refer to turning your face toward the right, but only halfway from directly ahead and your right side.

 

"Down left 45" signals looking slightly toward the left, with your chin pointed down, so that your eyes are aimed at the bottom corner of the wall.For a 2-D visual, think back to math class, and imagine the wall in front of your face being a giant x-y plane.

 

The corners of the room are the "diagonals" ("45s," and the ends of the x-axis is the left/right, the y-axis, the up-down.

 

For Better Body Awareness, Try this:

 

Stretch your neck to the rhythm of a song, by looking to the

right, left, right left, ↔ then switch to

up, down, up, down ↕

then hit the diagonals! ⤢⤡

 

then roll your neck around so your eyes are making a big circle ⤿ and switch directions ⤾

 

Focus changes will flow naturally as you learn choreography, but sometimes the choreographer will specify certain pictures and combos to have a certain focus