Performing

After seeing the Midterm videos, what do you think of your performance thus far in this class? How do you feel when you see yourself on video? Why? What will you work on from now until the Final Exam?

Did you see Random with a Purpose? Or did you perform in it? What are your thoughts? What makes for a good performer/performance? What do you look for when seeing a live show? What do you try to accomplish when you are performing?

How can seeing or being a part of something  more formal performance such as ‘Random’ inform how you practice in class? What are the relationships there, if any?

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14 thoughts on “Performing

  1. After watching the midterm videos, I want to be more aware of my upper body and arms. By that I mean that I want to put more energy into them. I think that often I focus a lot on my legs, so when I see videos I notice that the rest of my body is less vital. It’s pretty tough to watch myself on video but on the rare occasion that I do I can learn from it. It seems unnatural to watch myself dancing because I can’t feel it and therefore I feel unattached from the movement. But I’m actually glad we watched them because I have a couple of new goals to work on. It also came at a perfect time because I can weave my class goals into my performance goals with Random. One thing that I notice onstage is whether a performer has visible energy, or not. I think that is something that sets engaging and interesting performers a part. That being said, there is a strong relationship between performing onstage and in a class. The two are not isolated experiences and it’s so important to use performance energy in class because I believe that is a great technique for improvement.

  2. I personally hate watching myself perform because I am my biggest critic. When I watch myself perform, I have a hard time focusing on the actions and rather focus on my body appearance. I focus on my stomach or if I have a double chin ect, so it can be very hard for me. When watching this video, I noticed that my balance is very off and I my flat back needs work. I also can tell when I am thinking too hard because I just do not look like I am enjoying the dance at all, when it reality I love this class and I look forward to it very week. Because I am spending so much energy thinking about the moves, some of my actions do not look as strong and almost look as though I am lacking energy and passion in my movement. So for the rest of the quarter I want to work on bring my focus to the movements and not so much how to do the movements and hopefully that can help me look like I am enjoying dancing. I also want to work on not being so judgmental of myself and try to focus on the progress that I am making as we continue to learn and move through this class.
    I saw Random last night and I loved it. My favorite piece had to be Fever and The Day after a Long Night of Sleep? (Something like that). I think a good performance has a lot of energy and the performer looks genially happy or locked into the emotion of the piece. There was one piece where a girl did get a bit behind and you saw the panic go across her face, thus dropping the emotion. I think it is better just to stay in it rather than let people notice if you mess up. IF you pretend not to notice, the chances are the audience will not know the difference.
    Seeing performances like Random just inspires me to keep working and learning as much as I can because I would like to be good enough to be in shows like that. As a performer there is never a time to stop learning, and seeing a show filled with amazing dancers just makes me want to be an amazing dancer too. So in this class I just plan to keep trying and working to get a little better as the rest of the weeks go on.

  3. Let me just say, what a great show!!! Random with a purpose pulled it off once again!!! I love attending there shows!! The performances were great, the show was run with such ease that it felt like you were part of the performance to an extent. Dancers definitely made the audience feel like they were incorporated into there performances. Lastly i want to say that the techies did an amazing job!! Many techies dont get enough props for what they do but honestly, they contribute as much as the performers. I enjoyed the different lighting, it defiantly contributed to a great show.

  4. After watching our midterm videos, I reflected back on my movement. At points when I felt i had the movement down. I would see how my posture would affect how the movement looked. For example, when i thought i had a straight back my back would in an arch position. I will focus on working on my posture for the next couple of weeks to improve my dance movements. Also, another thing that i tend to do throughout the class is my direction my head is busy looking at others doing the movement instead of focusing and learning it myself, so i also plan on improving on that.

  5. Whenever I see myself dance in videos I see all the performing imperfections that I have. It makes me feel odd to see myself dance because it doesn’t seem normal, and it’s as if I’m watching someone else dance instead of myself. Sometimes when I dance, I think that I am fully expanding my movements when in reality I am not. For example, in the midterm video I was shocked to see how off I was from having a flat back when it was required to for certain techniques. Other moments in the video where I noticed my lack of body expansion (and horrid facial expression when I forgot the routine) alarmed me because all along I though I would be doing good. I then realized that whenever I know that cameras are involved, I tend to not give dancing my all. I can get very shy and nervous, which I should really work on improving. When we did the trust activity with partners ( when one of the dancers took charge of their dancing partner, while one had their eyes close) allowed me to let myself go and be me within the realms of dance. Perhaps I should take that feeling, and apply it to whenever I know I’m being watched by the camera. Also, I should always take into consideration the posture of my back, as well as expanding my movements at all times.

  6. I absolutely despise watching myself on film. 110% hate it. It never seems to reflect how I felt on stage during the performance or the energy of the movement. It also makes me hate my own body and movement, which is never good. However, despite these feels, it is helpful when rehearsing or practicing choreo because of these reasons as well: it shows you that maybe you don’t look so good doing that step the way you have been and maybe you aren’t getting the timing and maybe you should fix some things… I was unable to watch the midterm video because I absent, but I’m sure I would’ve noticed all of the above.
    I performed in Random and it was a wonderful show for me. It was a wonderful show in general! I felt as if it was one of the more diverse and put together of the ones I have been a part of here. What I look for in a live performance are those elements as well as feeling satisfied and inspired once the show has closed. I think that the purpose of all performances should be to captivate the audience and leave them with a “feeling”, and that feeling can be anything, from confusion to anger to happiness to awe. What I look for in a performer is the same, I love performers who incorporate their own “-ness” into what they do. It can be a flaw of course if you overuse it (like me and my back and face problem) but if executed well it can be very very beautiful. I think that being a part of a more formal production is awesome in that is gives you the experience of being surrounded by other like minded individuals who are placed in an organized and structured setting where there is space to create and discuss and inspire. Being in a formal show also gives you a feeling that your work is important (even though art does not need to be seen or respected at all for it to be important, dont get me wrong). It is also nice having conversations with audience members afterward about their thoughts and their moments of “feeling.” I love it and know that I will pursue performance art all my life!!! And think everyone should give it a shot as well.

  7. After seeing the midterm video I noticed moments in which my movement was really cut-up and unfluid. I critique these moments, because I was obviously relying on getting to the “picture” of the moment, rather than allowing my body to connect through each movement. My struggle with this class, from day one until I leave, is getting rid of the need to “arrive.” From this video until the end of the class, I want to work on dancing through the floor and movement, instead of dancing on the floor and wearing the movement (if that makes sense). I think I’ve been getting closer to letting my body navigate itself, whereas before I think I let my mind work as the manager for my body. What informed my dancing therefore has been a very heirarchical process from thinking, to feeling, to moving. I admire watching dancers whose energy and information comes from being. That is what I’m trying to work towards now, in class and performance. I didn’t even know that was a goal of mine, until this class.

    Just as structure isn’t the end all and be all of dance, I don’t think fluidity is the end all and be all of dance. I think formal rehearsal schedules and performances keep dancers disciplined and in shape. I think performance gives dancer a new source of energy. Once again I admire dancers who aren’t working to awestruck the crowd, or who aren’t resourcing the crowd only for adrenaline. I admire the dancers who seem to be present to the fact of the crowd, and include the crowd. I think that is truely breathtaking.

  8. I missed class on the day that we watched the midterm videos (sorry!), so I can’t really comment on that. I really enjoyed Random With A Purpose this year, both performing in it, and watching the pieces that I was not in. It was a really dynamic show in terms of the people in it, the different styles of dancing, and the stories that were told. Performances I consider good are usually provocative, have a very clear focus, and are performed by people who are connecting with one another and their performance. I want to feel or think something when I see art. My favorite dances are the ones that teach me something, remind of something, or forces me to consider something I hadn’t before. And many of the dances in Random did that. I try to do that in my dancing. I was in a piece about a circus as a clown, and I tried every night to bring something new to the character. It kept me engaged with the character even though it was probably the 100th time I had performed it, and it would have been so easy to go on auto-pilot.
    I think performances remind us that what we are doing in rehearsals is just practice for what goes on onstage. The classroom is not an end. It is just the beginning. This can be freeing, because then class becomes the time to mess up. It is where you can try new things, push too far, have a bad day, or do things completely wrong.

  9. Unfortunately, I didn’t come out in the video often enough to notice what I was doing wrong, but in the short scenes I did come out in I notice how tense my body can get, therefore, preventing my body to fully express the movement. But, agreeing with Angela in the previous comment, I dislike how the camera can bring out other imperfections that take away from how I actually felt during the performance. One example is my feet. Every time I see myself dancing on video, I get really distracted by my feet. It really bothers me that I don’t have any arches or a decent point. I also get really distracted by my thick thighs. And as much as I like learning from videos, I love thinking I did an amazing job in class–returning to the next class with great desire to improve. Whereas the video can sometimes be discouraging.

    Regarding the show, however, I saw so much professionalism from most of the performers–so much talent! Going back to Angela, I loved her dedication to every move and to her character. There was one girl that kept fixing her shirt and her air, looking around for people in the audience, and taking away from the performance. A choreography can be beautiful, but if the dancers are superficial about their dancing–by that I mean concentrating on anything else other than feeling and enjoying the movement to create a desired effect–it takes so much away from the choreography.

    I say what I previously said with respect to all the dancers. I simply think that when I go watch a performance I want to have my emotions stirred. But I also know that as a performer I would most likely not be a great one.

    Most of the dancers were amazing though. The dances showed how hard they worked.

  10. Performing is perhaps the most amazing part of being a dancer. It culminates hard work: days of sweat, blood, and tears, longs hours of choreographing, planning, and sometimes even frustration. It involves so many good and not so many great things, but in the end, it is an amazing experience.

    When performing out of my comfort zone, like it is in this class, it involves more “not so great things” than the good ones since I am more conscious and less control of things than in my comfort zone. Seeing myself in video is never a good thing since I look awful especially because I don’t know what I am looking for or what things should necessarily look like. I struggle to see the good things, yet I can see that there is some type of improvement, but I continue to see what is wrong. I don’t think I am horrible, but I know that I have much more to improve on. I see that I have to not just do steps, but feel the music and “let go” of my existing knowledge and body patterns and create new ones in order to shape my body better and be able to favor many styles of dancing. I am hopeful that this will be helpful in order ot perform well in the final exam. Please let us know what you are looking for that is the same/different from the midterm that will be applied to the final.

    To end this entry, I will talk about what I think makes for a good performance. On my opinion is long hours of rehearsal, mental preparation, and all the elements of a performance such as lighting, sound, costuming, and of course dancing. At least these are the things I look for when I see a live performance. As a performer I try to achieve maximum connection from myself to the audience. This I find to be very effective in order to make the audience feel what I feel when I dance so they can enjoy it as much as I do. I’ve learned that perfect isn’t the driving factor of a performance, but rather joy from them because outshines any ability.

  11. After seeing myself on the video of the midterm I was really able to notice the stiffness in my movements. I have always had that struggle while performing and it has been something that I have been trying to work on. When I recite a dance, I seem to be dead and stiff and you can always tell that I am thinking too much about what I am going to do next. I mentioned that I feel the need to impress others which makes me nervous. This also makes me feel the need to do the exact dance moves which can make me seem robotic rather than letting it flow within me. As I progressed I can notice a slight difference however I know that this is something that I have to keep working on little by little in order for me to be able to fully dance without having to think about which step I will make next.
    I also noticed that I tend to try to keep up with the other dancers which end up messing me up. I realized that each dancer is unique and each person has their own dance “soul” that they carry with them through their work and I tried to imitate their soul when I should have been finding my own. This goes back to my problem with dancing like a robot. I think that the class has slowly made me find my dance soul; I still have not completely found it but I feel that I am closer than I used to be.

  12. It was extremely tough watching the midterm videos of ourselves. What I got form the video was the expressions on my face. I could tell that I was thinking too much about whether or not I was doing a sequence correctly, and that in result made me disconnected from my body. I also saw some small bad habits, from body posture, and looking at the ground. Even though it was nerve wrecking watching myself, it was a helpful insight.

    I absolutely loved Random! For me, I tried my best to consume all that I can from my perspective. I wanted to know how the dancers were feeling at the exact moment. I wanted to understand what was the choreographer’s purpose for a specific movement. I think what makes a good performer, is forgetting what is happening at the moment. Forgetting that they are performing for an audience, and just live the moment of dance. Although it is meant for the audience to view, I feel like a performance is the time for the dancer to connect with their mind and body. What I love most is knowing that each performer worked so hard to get to where they were. All their hard work truly paid off. It was simply amazing.

  13. Watching myself was not satisfying, I felt embarrassed being my own biggest critic. After seeing the videos of my performance, I feel that I could have done much better. I noticed I made a few errors and that I allowed myself to get distracted by my peer’s dance abilities. I am upset with my performance due to how much time I input to practice the dance routine and to not be satisfied with my work. In the video, I noticed how stiff and how distracted I was, and realized how often I would mess up. I have learned that I need to ask for help and to pay attention to myself and not focus on others. I have came to the conclusion that dancing is something I love to do and feel I have a lot to learn and improve. I need to learn how to not get easily distracted and focus more on myself.

  14. Performance is a part of dance I shy away from. It’s not why or why I want to dance. But I do think it can be very powerful to be witnessed, especially in emotional expression. Performance is an aspect of dance I hope I grow more to enjoy and may even attempt at some later stage. Fortunately, my love loves to perform and I love to embody. I believe we are both learning from each other in that way.

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