La mirada - how to use your focus to change the way you dance
Something that doesn't get talked about very often is how you can use your eyes (gaze) when you dance.
The audience will most likely notice your expression (eyes) and whether your head is coordinated with your arms and the rest of your body before noticing anything else.
There are really two things to think about here.
Movement of the head
Let's assume that you are starting with your head already in a good position.
That means correct alignment of the head with it balancing “effortlessly” on top of the spine.
If you were to dance everything looking straight ahead in front of you your dancing would appear very flat. Almost as if you (the you that is inside dancing) were detached from your body.
Adding a movement of the head as you perform footwork or marcaje will give a feeling of wholeness to your movement. It is as if the head moves naturally in response to what you are doing with your body.
In many cases it is a natural movement but in the beginning the position of the head is something that needs to be trained carefully and thoughtfully.
Using your eyes
When you dance and move your head do you actually look at something?
If you are accustomed to dancing in front of a mirror, you might find that you always look at yourself or other dancers out of the corner of your eye.
This is necessary when you are trying to learn a new step but if you do this when you are performing you will be disconnected from the movement you are trying to do.
At some point you need to let go of that visual validation and feel the movement inside yourself.
'Cuando bailas miras'
This is the phrase that José uses in class.
'Cuando bailas miras' - when you dance you look.
It means that when you turn your head towards any particular direction you actually find something and actually look at it with intention.
This one thing, 'looking and actually seeing something' makes an enormous difference to the quality of your dance and allows the audience to see the connection and thought behind your movement.
Thinking about changing the position of your focus instead of thinking about the physical action of moving your head will also make it easier to move your head accurately.
It is easy to forget about your eyes, particularly because we can be all so entranced with the mirror in front of us, but if you can become more aware of how you use your focus as a part of your whole body movement you will start to find new connections and sensations when you dance.
Have you had the opportunity to think about how you use your focus when you dance?
Do you have any questions? Leave them for us below and we'll try to help!