Help! I look flat during performances…not bad, just boring!

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    When I watch videos of myself, my dancing is kinda meh. The technique isn't terrible, flow is okay, I am paying attention, cues are alright, but it looks so much more flat than I FEEL. I feel like I am exerting and it's not translating into performance.  WTH? Is there a cure for flatness?



    Don't beat yourself up.If you're feeling it in the moment, that's all that matters.Video can be tricky and can never really translate the experience we have on stage, or the experience that audience members have.



    I think this happens to a lot of people – it's certainly happened to us.For this reason we often practise a couple of 'high energy' dances in our class.  This doesn't mean rushing through moves and looking manic, but simply putting much more energy and effort into each move yet at the same time still taking your time.  It's quite exhausting and we can't maintain this throughout the whole class, hence practising for a couple of tracks only.  It felt a little crazy to start with too, but with practice we found high energy became a little easier, and now do this when performing.Videoing your practise is always good.Smiling makes such a lot of difference too!  If you're having fun - then so will the audience 🙂



    I have been working on the skills that I will teach in my ATS® Homecoming workshop on Adding Emotion to Performance.  It has really helped me.  Just a couple of pointers if you haven't already integrated this type of thing in your dance.Create a back-story for yourself prior to the performance.  What do you want to communicate with your audience?  Are you joyful because you had a fabulous harvest and you are celebrating by dancing with your baskets?  Are you in love and demonstrating your affection for your beloved?  Thinking about sharing a story, or the emotional element of a story can help add depth to your performance.The second suggestion is to get in touch with how the music makes you feel.  You could even talk to your performance group in advance about picking an emotion to portray during your performance.  It can really help your energy to connect with the other dancers on the same wavelength!  If you start to feel a lull, rejuvenate in connection with the music, your troupe-mates or the audience.Terri



    Hi Amy – Having not seen your performance, it's hard to know specifically.  But here are a couple things you might focus on:

    • Is there enough explosive movement in your performance?  You might try practicing making all of your moves (slow and fast) more high-energy.  I've certainly seen some performances that remind me of a river with no rocks in it - pretty enough, but not very interesting.  It's important to punctuate.
    • Is your face expressive?  Does it change expression appropriately, or is it a plastered-on smile or worse yet, totally dead?
    • In each movement, are you doing it because that's the way you think it should be done, or are you considering what the audience sees?  Lots of our moves have little tricks to add depth and dimension, and this can help your dancing look less flat.  (Consider taking a private with your local teacher or via PowHow with one of us at the studio if you want to work on this.)
    • Are you choosing music that's interesting to the audience?  A lot of the music we use for drills is really hard to keep interesting in performance.
    • Are you breathing while you're dancing?  Breathing into your movement can help all of the above flow quite naturally.  🙂 

    Hope this helps a little bit!  Also, definitely heed what Jesse said - it's REALLY hard to get a good performance to translate to video. A lot of the energy is lost.  You may be criticizing yourself unnecessarily.

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