I Got Skills: Speed

Fast dancer

‘The dancer was constantly moving fast around the scene and made the turn in less than half a second.’ Photo by gnuckx

Had I been a dancer, the one skill or characteristic I would have yearned for would be speed.

I am fairly tall. I have fairly long arms and legs and a relatively short torso. If you subscribed to somatyping, I would be closest to an ectomorph. Which means I have fine bones and less muscle than other body types. I am also supposed to have a certain flexibility and speed.

And I do have speed, but only in one direction. I was a bit of a sprinter and long jumper in primary school before becoming a bit too cool for school sport. When I dance, I can accelerate and cover distances quickly. I love the locomotor section of the dance class where I can zoom from corner to corner, feeling like I can fly! Velocity and momentum all good!

But get me in a jazz class and I go to water. I can only coordinate movements at 1/2 speed, if I’m lucky. Changing direction swiftly and adroitly, or achieving quick multi-body-part coordinations are just ideas that I can’t put into action. An elephant in the room in more ways than one.

If my life or well-being depended on developing this skill, could I do it? I’m sure with practice I would improve. But I could also work on developing those skills and techniques that suit the way my body is constructed, thus achieving the technical and aesthetic realisation of my own blueprint.

Discovering personal style

Choreographing a solo can be a daunting prospect. Identifying and developing aspects of your personal style in dance and choreography is essential to making a good work.

There are plenty of contemporary solos on the web that you can look at for inspiration. We will post links to solos on this blog, and when we have a good range, we’ll write up an analysis on Dancing Capital.

Here are two videos from Jasmine Melrose. Her personal style is clearly evident, and this influences the way she uses movement, space, time and dynamics in her work.