Wednesday, December 15, 2010

room for improvement and the midas touch

I love dance and I love the stage. That's why I always try my best to watch dance performances.

And yes, that includes dance performances and events from other dance schools and institutions. There are always things that can be noted to be applied or avoided. Second-hand experiences are sometimes just as good and even better than first-hand.

First, the factors that are not related to the dancers: building (location, facilities such as toilets, parking, climate control), stage (stage floor, curtains, lightings, sound and sound system). Surveying a place is one thing (going to the backstage to see if the backstage capacity is enough to accommodate the cast and crew), but looking at the place in action is another.

Then the dancers: costumes, music, stylization, blocking, mood, stage presence.

I've only been dancing for three years. I still consider myself a baby dancer. And I learn from anything and everything. Youtube. DVDs... But a stage show is something that I always crave and covet. It's an opportunity to learn from someone else. To take the positive things and leave the negative things.

I had a chat the other day with Monique. Some of the things that we talked about included taking lessons from other teachers and seeing the shows. Monique has tons of dancing experiences, that's why she "had the nerve" to open a dance school along with Misya and Mifta. They have been dancing for years and decided to give it a go and created Dancewave Center.

But Dancewave Center is not the only dance institution in Jakarta. And the Western dance scene (Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet) is also flourishing in big cities such as Palembang (West Sumatra), Bandung (West Java), and Surabaya (East Java). And so, it is really exciting to have dancers from other cities dancing with us, even as students.

These places offer dances and some are the same with Dancewave Center (Hip Hop, Burlesque, Bollywood, Oriental and Tribal Fusion bellydance). So why not also learn from those places as well? We encourage our students to always learn from anywhere.

And they do. They enthusiastically gobble up Youtube videos. They go to dance workshops. They attend dance recitals. They note down things that appeal to them and things that don't and they share them with their classmates and teachers.

When I was in school, our teachers also said the same thing: Do not just learn from books at school, but expand your horizons, learn from sources that are not given to you, seek your own sources of information.

Of course I didn't do that because I was not interested very much in learning things at school. I was always an average student.

But in dance, it suddenly makes sense.

Oh, and about seeing the shows from other dance schools, it doesn't matter if you're the owner or creative director or general manager or CEO or whatever from a dance institution or company, by attending a dance show, aside from the fact that you can learn a lot of things, it also shows your support to dance.

You see, it's not about competition. It's not about personal feelings or pride. It's about something bigger than that.

It's about dance.

If you want dance to be respected, you need to appreciate and support it. Do this by attending the show. Especially if you have nothing better to do.

If you're really creative and gifted, you can even take some of the negativity from the performance and turn it into something gold. Like Midas.

I know I still have a lot of things to improve. One of them being my posture. Balancing something on my head does great things to it, but years of slouching can only be fixed with making good posture a habit.

And I had a most unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. I have a love/hate relationship with safety pins. I know some great dancers do not endorse safety pins, but sometimes they greatly help.

And in dance, it's all about the posture, the stage presence, the PERSONA: Posture, Energy, Refinement, Stamina, Ornamentation, Nerve, and Attitude.


mia said...

You really hit it on the nail. I recently had a conversation with Pak Eko from GKJ and he enthusiastically told me that I should always go watch dance/visual art/any kind of artistic performances to expand my horizons and inspire me as a dancer. It's so absolutely true.Watching other performances, we can learn more about things we liked, things that perhaps didn't work so well and why-not in a demeaning way, of course, as this is subject to one's own personal taste and stylization preferences, but we can actually dissect it and logically think through why in our opinion it worked/didn't work. Also, I think it's great when dance communities support each other wholeheartedly. I believe that the success/failure of an individual dancer/school affects the community as a whole. In other words, if we do poorly, everyone else suffers, if we do well, it casts positive waves to all the other community members. Plus, there's a different sense of comradery and energy that you can only feel when performing amongst your peers. I think we want each other to do well and evolve, so as an entity, we raise the standards even higher and take it to the next level.

Stay inspired!xoxo

famousfeline said...

Mia, that's why I always have extra respect for you because you seem to always be there in dance performances.

And honestly, there aren't that many shows that may appeal to us, but like I wrote, if we don't have anything else to do and we have the time and money to spare, why not go see?

And the afterparty is always a good time to mingle with important people (a.k.a.: potential sponsors).

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