Dancing is Teamwork
We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
This saying of unknown origin is particularly meaningful and relevant for dancers. On the one hand dancers must focus on the development of individual movement vocabularies, but they must also learn to explore forms and structures within an ensemble. Dancers have the luxury of being able to view things from unique perspectives, yet interdependence is woven deeply into their work as artists. All artists who understand the collaborative aspects of ensemble know they can often accomplish much more together than the group’s individual talented members could ever achieve on their own.
More Than One Voice Opens Up Possibilities
While having more than one voice opens up possibilities, it can also be challenging. Life, like dance performance, is all about truthfully connecting with people around you whether you’re gathering as dancers, meeting in a group, or convening as a family. Just as dancers must engage with one another in an ensemble work, it is the connection with those around you that helps you shape and find the whole, regardless of the type of group. Artists learn to listen, they solve problems, and they recognize and use others’ strengths.
The only way to know the truth of a movement is to do it on your own body.
– Twyla Tharp
Working Together When You Don’t See Eye to Eye
Here are some ideas about how passionate people can use the tension-release-movement principle to work together even when they don’t see eye to eye.
• Dance ensemble performance requires that each person have individual control, but must at the same time be flexible enough to always move with the developing momentum of the group.
• Ensemble dancers submerge their individual egos with a deep awareness of the bigger picture—the larger collective group mind.
Nothing is more revealing than movement.
– Martha Graham
People often view art and artistic expression as a solitary effort, but it is ensemble that nurtures the individual artist while providing extraordinary group results. Ensemble is teamwork—a collective skill that is essential in the rapidly changing world of the 21st century. It is the work of groups who come together with understanding of how to create momentum with deep awareness of both the individual and the whole that will thrive in this new millennium.
Dancers develop individual movement vocabularies.
Dancers explore ensemble forms and structures.
Dancers “Have it All.”
About the author: Dr. Patricia Hoy graduated from the University of Redlands with Bachelor and Master’s degrees in woodwind performance and from the University of Arizona with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting. She taught high school for eight years before moving to higher education. She moved quickly through the system to tenured professor, accepting several administrative assignments along the way, and finally assuming a role as a full-time higher education administrator. She is now the Dean of Academics at The Boston Conservatory, where she oversees the Dance, Music and Theater Divisions. Her book Arts Awareness outlines the basic concepts of her worldview perspective of the arts. The reader learns Dr. Hoy’s seven creative concepts that help synthesize the richness of creating art with teaching, leading, succeeding, and living a more fulfilling life.
Source: Dance Advantage