Dance Imagery

Sunset dancerSinging, from both the singer’s and the listener’s point of view, is the union of two senses: hearing and touch. Like anything in life that strikes a delicate balance, it is common for singers to rely more on one, to the other’s detriment. Those who rely on hearing may envision the voice as a kind of disembodied spirit, not realizing how much physicality and body energy is required. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who rely so much on the physicality (how it “feels” to sing) that they are too caught up in the position of the soft palate, the health of the vocal cords, the tongue, etc., and actually forget to simply stop and listen. It seems the former is more common among beginners, while the latter is often a fault of those who love to read books about singing and may physicalize it to a fault (yes, you can guess which one I’m guilty of!).

Letting the body respond spontaneously to music with movement is a great way to restore this balance, to encourage both hearing and touch. In many cultures, the word for music includes not only instruments and voices, but also the arts of poetry and dance. The very word “music” is derived from the Greek word meaning “of the muses”, who were nine sisters, each representing a different art (everything from poetry to sacred music to comedy to astronomy!). So whether you are a poet, astronomer, or chartered accountant, I want to share with you a few of my favorite dance imagery exercises. Continue reading

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Sense #3, Touch: Imagination and the Inner Dancer

Hands touchingLast Sunday our humble little church choir was singing the anthem for the offering, and as I was looking out over our congregation, all listening politely in their Sunday best, I noticed a little two-year old girl in the front row dancing along in a flurry of movement. She rocked from side to side, swinging her arms in big wide arcs, then as the music crescendoed, began hopping up and down, then spinning in place, regaining her balance just long enough to strike a pose for the final chord.  The funny thing was, even at such a young age, and without any music training, she was moving along perfectly with the beat and the mood of the music, two things our choir, despite its best efforts and intentions, was failing to fully grasp.

The image made me smile. Few people know this about me, but if there is anything I love more than singing, it is dancing. Continue reading