For most dancers honing their craft and body is an endeavour that stretches across a lifetime. It is a journey of the self through arduous hours of training, of bending and breaking the body into various positions, and drilling movement, sequences and steps within that same body. It is often about reaching a place within that is untapped, scared and unknown, and asking it to fuel your passion, creativity and output – even when you yourself as dancer and artist are unsure of the results.
Today for 45 Days of Dance Stories I’d like to acknowledge the unforeseen magic or disaster that happens when two dancers enter into a partnership. As I was looking at the dancers body and found myself looking at the Arms of a Dancer, the phrase that came to mind was “catch and release” , and the image and question was of trust. The trust between two dancers, in their individual capabilities and finally in their performance.
The unique blend of chemistry, skill, compatibility and trust that result in either a brilliant dance-partnership or when their lack leads to a disastrous one, is one of the most challenging experiences for a dancer. Where responsibility is shared, creative expression is shared and the dance is shared as well.
For me this aspect of taking all your training and passion for dance and now adorning it on another – your dance partner – can only work if both partners are giving and selfless in their shared performances. There is no room for selfishness in this. It’s presence will destroy the performance and the dancer. The equal trading of information, gesture and expression creates a unique world for the performers and their performance thereby transfixing the viewer in that moment and artistic experience. Otherwise there is a great chance of the viewer being distracted, being overly critical and bored.
The dance partnership is only magic when there is no hesitation from either performer and there is a confidence of support and skill in one another.
I think Frankie manning put it best
“When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes, you are in love with each other. You’re corresponding with each other by the moves that you make. It’s a love affair, between you and your partner and the music. You feel the music, you feel your partner, she feels you and she feels the music. So there the three of you are together. You’ve got a triangle, you know. Which one do you love best?”
– Frankie Manning