How to be 'confident' when you dance
We're digging into the mail bag again today. A question that comes up often is how to find your confidence when you dance. Gaining confidence as a dancer takes time and patience.
For me confidence in flamenco dance comes from..
Mastery of technique.
When you learn any dance style you are in fact learning a language of movement. This language is learnt through the study of technique. Technique is the skill that will give you control over various movements, steps and positions. With this new language you have the tools to communicate your ideas and emotions to an audience.
Practice of good technique will also enable you to understand how your body moves and what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can work to strengthen and improve.
How long should you practice technique for? Until you have no choice but to do a movement or step the right way.
Understanding of and connection to the music and song.
Flamenco dance is more about music and rhythm than anything else. Your confidence will come from a connection to the music and the cante. When you feel this connectedness you can dance the simplest of movements and the impact on the audience will be profound because they will be able to see you (by that I mean the you that is feeling and connecting).
The only way is study flamenco music and listen to it everyday, make it a part of your daily practice.
Keeping it simple
If you have the opportunity to perform, keep your choreography simple. There is no need to do complicated steps if you can't actually dance them. No one watching you will be able to connect with you if all they can see is you thinking about the step you are trying to do and you will be freaking out (technical term) trying not to fall over. No chance for confidence to appear when you are trying not to fall over.
Choose movements or steps that you have mastered (see technique above) and gives you the space to feel and connect to the music.
Dancing without fear
This is the biggest way to build your confidence when you dance. You need to make a decision to dance without fear. This is the one piece of advice that I hear José give over and over again to all of his students.
When you dance with fear you stop yourself from finding your true potential as a dancer. You also make it impossible to connect to the music and any dance that you attempt will be full of the fear that you are feeling.
If you can decide to dance without fear your confidence will grow through being able to truly embody the movement and music as well as sharing your internal experience with your audience.
You might make a mistake, but you know what? It doesn't matter. What matters more is that you have the courage to go out and give it everything you've got.
Flamenco demands courageous dancers.
Giving yourself time
As I said at the beginning of this post confidence is developed over time. Take every opportunity to practice being confident when you dance and eventually you won't have to worry about it so much.
You can do it, you just need actually get out there and you know... do it.