Ballroom dancing is a sport, an art and a beautiful physical activity. In our industry, the dancer itself is the essential instrument of the art. When we are looking at a dancer from the outside we see the physical body creating movements in space. But how much is there that we don’t see? How deep is the emotional connection between the dancer and the dance itself? How focused or relaxed is the brain of the dancer?
All the answers to these questions can help us dancers find ourselves and learn how easier it is to express ourselves through dance. Our brain is the central unit of the body and it plays a key role in translating the content of our minds which include our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, memories and imagination. The relationship between the brain and the mind is so complex and so important. And, for us as dancers, it is so crucial when our mind is connected to our body. The mind-body connection means you can use your thoughts to freely express them through your physical movements.
We are all different. We think differently, we feel differently, and we express ourselves differently. As a dancer, one can more readily associate oneself with one or more aspects of the brain-mind-body relationship. If a dancer is more likely to think and analyze his or her movements it means that he has a stronger connection with his or her brain. This type of dancer is great at the small detailed actions. They usually execute the perfect alignments of figures, accurate sway actions, and impeccable timings. If you see a dancer that presents a perfect demonstration of mechanical and technically correct actions you know that this person has a very strong connection and usage of the brain. A perfectly timed Feather Step danced with a beautiful usage of the feet in conjunction with a measured action of the sway would be a perfect example of this type of dancer.
On the other hand, if you are connected more with your emotional side it means you associate yourself more with your mind. Dancers of this type are very musical and are able to express their emotions. They have the talent to touch the audience emotionally and make them live with them through the dance and experience the same emotions. When you see a dancer that performs a passionate Tango and there is so much sensual energy, power, musicality, and raw love for the dance that makes you feel like you want to get up and dance with his or her partner then you know that this dancer is strongly connected to his or her mind and are able to express their emotional side through the dance.
Furthermore, the Body is a very powerful instrument. If a dancer has a strong connection to his or her body then he or she is able to have some of the most impressive moves. Associating oneself with the body allows a dancer to have higher speeds of action, a bigger amplitude of actions, longer extensions, and very impressive flexibility. If you are looking at the couple that has a beautiful yet super fast series of pivots in Quickstep that continues with leaps across the floor ending in a deep contra check in the corner you know that this couple is very much in tune and connected with their bodies.
If you recognize yourself being connected or associated with one or another part of yourself you need to be aware of the other parts and pay more attention to those other parts you are not so connected to. This will give more value to the other aspects and thereby make yourself a much more well-rounded dancer. To make a great performance, it is very important to use all aspects and possibilities that our brain, mind, and body have to offer.
Our body responds to the way we think, feel and act which ultimately also reveals itself in our dancing. When one is stressed, anxious, or upset it will affect your body and come out in the energy and in your movements. It will also affect the audience because a dancer will pass the energy that he or she is feeling to a spectator and it will then replicate a sense of those feelings in them. You can call it a Mirror Effect. That’s why sometimes by watching a beautiful performance you may suddenly swell with tears in your eyes as you are reliving those emotions together with the dancer. And, sometimes you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable and stressed watching some moves as the dancer is feeling tense and stressed as he or she executes the moves. Different thoughts will create a different appearance as well and it will surely put a different focus and, therefore, a different aura in one’s performance. Only focusing on the body will make the dancing super athletic but will seem like its missing some soul and emotional meaning. A combination of the brain, mind, and body will give you a magical appearance that won’t leave any audience feeling cold. You will be able to impress, express, and enjoy yourself all at the same time.