Acting · Dance

The Crying Ballerina

soulEmoting on stage can become cheesy or obnoxious. 

In order to avoid those things, you can follow these simple guidelines.

1) Simplify the movement to match the emotion.  Angst and Anger should be muscled, Sadness and Despair should be marked, Joy and Cheer should be exaggerated.  We do this naturally in every day life.  Our body is effected by how we are feeling.  Dance should be the same.  Think about how you respond when walking through a crowd and you see someone moving slowly without effort.  Just in their body language you know how they feel: in the sad spectrum.  Help the audience out by speaking in the language they already know: emotion-influenced-body-language.

2) Chill your eyebrows.  Pinching your eyebrows together is weird.  Dance with your WHOLE face.  Eye focus, eye brows, cheeks, mouth (and opening it is an option).  Frowning only does so much.

3) When and how often you breathe effects the audience.  The more regulated you breathe, the more the audience will be comfortable.  If you want them to have any kind of discomfort, your breathing should be sporadic, and in some cases, too often.  This needs to be rehearsed so you don’t faint onstage. 

4) Where the ‘impulse’ of the movement comes from should match emotionally.  Your arms, for example, do they come from your shoulder, your back, the elbow, or wrist?  Well, yes, technically there is a correct answer, but performing is NOT about technique.  If it comes from your back and you are supposed to be performing sadness, then (buzzer) your arms are coming from the wrong place.  They should move from the rib and shoulder.  A pretentious character would dance from the wrist, but a joyful one will dance with their heart open, arms from the back.  Weakness?  Elbow. 

5) Find something to relate to the piece.  It doesn’t need to be exact.  Just provoke a similar emotion to the piece.  THEN (and most importantly) fight it.  Audiences enjoy dimension.  It is a cheesy piece if  you are just feeling sadness without trying to find the hope within.  Comedy should find seriousness (just a moment here or there).   

Your performance shouldn’t be able to be reproduced by an algorithm or computer program.  If your piece is one dimensional in intention, energy, and athleticism, then it will not give the audience the impression of an emotional journey. 

OK.  Go out there and make ‘em cry, babies!

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