Getting Creative with Your Training
Nicole Decsey on the importance of being a jack of many trades – in dance and outside of dance.
Westernized dancers typically train in ballet, jazz, contemporary, improv and any other styles that are commonly offered at schools and studios. Unfortunately, we are leaving a whole world of knowledge and experience untapped when we stick to what we know. A great performer should be more than just a dancer, more than just an actor or a singer. They should be an artist of multiple crafts, a creator that draws experience from multiple art forms.
Let’s look at some ways that dancers can train outside of their comfort zone.
Firstly, I’m going to look at ballroom training. Yes, this is still a type of dance, but it has its own world that doesn’t always seem to cross over with the concert dance world. And why not? Ballroom dance is a spectacular way to practice partnering. It teaches dancers how to lead, follow, and how to give resistance to your partner so they know where you are and can move you through space. Not only does this dance form present a perfect way to learn how to partner but it teaches artists the detailed nuanced movements of Latin dance. Every ballroom style has its own way of moving, its own counts and rhythms, and its own exceptions to the rules. The mental and physical training of ballroom is rigorous and a great addition to a dancer’s repertoire. Blue Heel Dance Studio (where I teach in Port Credit) is a great place to learn how to perform dance styles such as salsa, bachata, swing, cha cha, rumba, waltz, tango, and more.
Kick boxing, jujitsu, ikedo and other forms of martial arts are great disciplines for dancers to use as cross training. Working in the martial arts dancers can learn control over their bodies, how to safely perform contact work with other movers, and how to efficiently move in and out of the floor. More importantly, the martial arts requires its students to sharpen their reaction time to their partner’s and to attune their senses to their surroundings. They have to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Beyond simple reaction time, a person studying the martial arts must be creative in their reaction. They must not be predictable. Their job is to challenge their partner and come up with a response that cannot be anticipated. It is a creative art and trains the brain in a way that many other forms of movement do not. The martial arts are physical and creative and will advance a dancer’s awareness and skills. There are many locations throughout the GTA where these practices are taught.
HIIT workouts, stage combat, acting techniques, and filmmaking are all practices that dancers can train in to further their careers, train their bodies, and advance their skill sets. The arts world is constantly evolving and the more tools in your tool bag the more likely you are to succeed.
Start tapping into other creative outlets to fuel your own creative endeavors.
Are you a dancer with outside skills that fuel your craft? Let us know for a chance to be featured!