Going Beyond Technique: How to Become a Great Storyteller Through Dance

October 23, 2013
Dancing is something you do because you love it and that really is the truth. It’s a passion that has to be followed somehow, somewhere and as often as possible. If you decide to become professional, the passion never leaves you but the obsession for perfection often can get in the way. You take class so your technique is sharp. You rehearse so the performance flows freely. You practice. You want to be strong but with a nice, long, lean and clean line, so, you eat lean and drive hard. You think about it none-stop and you sometimes teach to make the bank happy. Oh, and let’s not forget about auditioning.

So, with that much effort exerted by so many dancers, why is it that only a relative few stand out and excel? Here’s what I have observed and learned from some pretty amazing dancers and choreographers as well as some that weren’t so amazing. There are always two sides of the same coin and you learn from both.

Those dancers that take us to another place are the ones who connect at the heart level. How they do that is that they use their bodies, minds, and spirits to tell the story in the movement. No words are needed. In every single moment, they go beyond the mundane and seem to shoot energy out of every limb or foot or finger. The choreography is the story. The amazing dancer is the storyteller.

Our teachers here at Joy of Dance are those people regardless of genre. They are consummate storytellers. To see them perform is breath-taking. What’s also breathtaking is how they coax out the story of each of their students, particularly the teens. How? They make it ok to take whatever someone is feeling during their day and dance it out: full out. It gives every step, every motion, every point of stillness a whole different shade.

It really doesn’t matter whether you are a ballet, ballroom, Bollywood dancer or someone who is focused in Hip Hop. The same thing applies to every genre and every one who dances.

So how do you be the one that connects and inspires? You start by being inspired. I’m not talking the last twenty minutes of your last dance class inspired, but rather inspired to fly, to let the dance be your channel, to speak with a voice that moves and is in motion. We tell our story whether it is one of challenge, a question, a need or even a want. We also look to that moment of inspiration to help people connect with themselves.


The one thing that a great dance storyteller remembers so well is that storytelling is the main ingredient for inspiration.
Dancers are here to tell the story the choreographer envisions, and in the process, be inspired to move or express in certain ways. And while storytelling goes far beyond the dance, it is your most shared yet sacred resource.

How do we become great storytellers through dance?
  1. Train so that your technique supports you not controls you
  2. Embrace all the experiences you encounter as moments of inspiration
  3. Understand what the choreographer is trying to express through movement
  4. Understand who you are in this dance
  5. Go to that place of stillness so that the music and feeling is running through your veins
  6. Start to move
  7. Then open yourself up and trust everything you have been trained to do
  8. And let go

Insert yourself into each piece. Detail your experiences in each choreographed step by going beyond the movement and the technique. This is what the saying “laying it all out on the floor” means. When you do this, you are transformed and you transform.

Take it to the next level. Dance your story. We can’t wait to see you in motion.

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