Having acting skills and techniques adds an extra dimension of communication and expression to a dancer's art, writes Sally Clark.
While dancers have remarkable technical facility, if their performance is devoid of expression or emotion then the intention of the piece cannot be communicated to the audience and the performance is ineffective. If dancers want to genuinely captivate an audience it is essential they learn how to investigate the internal life of their performance as well as the external. The most effective way to do this is by teaching the dancer how to act.
Tyran Parke is the Head of Music Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts. “In theatre, the story is always first,” he says. “Whether a character is choosing to express that story through sung, spoken or danced text, it is always in pursuit of either furthering a narrative or developing character
Here are some tips from Tyran:
- Sometimes I say that dancers (and singers!) “add acting on top”. They pull the faces that seem to reflect the emotion of the piece rather than let the face take care of itself and trust the thing that is capable of most expression, the body.
- The best actors are those who make it about affecting the other person. I feel the same is true of dancers who use their bodies to shift another character (even if the dancer is doing a solo and the other character is not there).
- Often with dance, everything is shown. I encourage all dancers to have a secret that only they know about their character.
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Want to know more? Read the full article by Sally Clark in the current (April/May) issue of 'Dance Australia'. Buy 'Dance Australia' at your favourite retail outlet, or online here or take up our fantastic subscription offer here!