About dance technique

Between "techniques" and "styles"

What is dance technique ?

 

 

If dance technique usually refers to the style, Vaganova in ballet for instance, Graham in modern or Cunningham in contemporary, it also represents the basic tools of dance as a practical technique.

Dance technique is one of the key elements of the dancer in training: it embodies the fundamentals and the skills to develop in order to do the correct movement. Therefore in ballet, alignment will be one of the main rules to respect in order to perform the steps correctly.

Technique really is the base of the dancer’s training: each movement in choreography or a variation must be executed through basic steps or transitions defined by general rules and theories, which are specific to the type of dance learnt.

Mastering technique is one of the fundamental aspects which will allow the dancer to go beyond, and to develop even more identity and artistry as an individual, while using his or her full range of motion and physical abilities. Thus the body is the main instrument of the dancer and it needs to be malleable and adaptable to the requirements of the discipline studied. It is an unceasingly type of work, because even though perfection is the ultimate goal as an artist, it is never reached. Indeed, in order to acquire technique, the dance has to be in total control of every movement. This inevitably requires repetition (and hard work) by enhancing muscle memory, which is compulsory to perform on stage.

Furthermore, awareness is also really important as a repeated incorrect movement could lead the dancer to several injuries or even end up his career, depending on how intense the training is. Thus, in terms of technique, not a single step is performed in a total random way even if it may seem like it.

Therefore practicing dance involves a true understanding of the rules defined by the discipline, but also an understanding of the dancer’s own body, in order to be able to apply it and then coordinate movement. Both corrections given by the teacher and the student’s dedication make the dancer benefit from the class.

Technical work last a whole career and the dancer’s body is « built » during this « way towards freedom ». Because it is only when the dancer masters his or her body entirely that it gets easier to focus entirely on artistry and musicality. These three aspects are intertwined and are all equally important. This is what makes the difference between: an amateur and a professional dancer.

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« Because the pursuit towards success never ends and even though dance technique is as important as artistry, it is a key component that will determine the dancer’s future. » Tramayne JP