When I Dance...
When I dance, I cannot see myself.
Think about any other artistic endeavor—a writer can read the words he has created; a visual artist stares at her work; a musician can hear the notes she plays.
But in dance, we are blind. There is a sense of accomplishing a phrase or using the music effectively as we chase a rhythm or settle into a cadence. But other than photography or video playback, we really are in the dark as to how we look and how we progress over time when we rehearse.
So I was delighted (and scared) when a still photographer told me his expertise was in catching the moment’s pause between movements in a dance or in sports. He showed me a shot he had taken of a rugby game and explained how offense is easy to shoot – a player kicking a ball shows his face and the emotion involved; but defense is hard because the heads are down and the attention is directed at the ball on the ground. His shot of 4 boys surrounding the ball was crystal clear, each head slightly tilted, the faces straining with effort.
He could shoot me dancing, he said.
I turned on my speaker and iPhone and showed him the choreography. I am seated in a chair and do 3 phrases over and over with slight variation each time. After he watched it once, he said, sure, go ahead, and I heard the whir of the camera repeatedly as I went through the song.
At the end he told me to stand behind him as he clicked through the shots – much like a a flip-book, there I was stretching a leg, throwing arms overhead, or passionately following the beat. It all was captured. And I could finally see myself dancing.
Not too bad!