When you are dancing, you are usually busy concentrating on your technique, body placement, timing, and other dancers who are performing with you. But have you ever stopped to think about what your face is doing? Facial expression adds to a performance, but how should you look? Here are a few tips:
Dance in Character
You play a role when you dance. Whether you're portraying Gisselle or just dancing to music, you need to act a certain way. This is where acting ability comes in handy. During rehearsals, ask yourself how your character would feel during a particular dance number. Would he or she be happy, sad, joyous, jealous, angry, etc.? How does your character react to other characters? Let the music be your guide. Is it upbeat, romantic, inspirational? Create a mood and let your face show it.
Really think about the character you are playing before you dance. Then, be that character when you are dancing, facial expressions and all.
Try to Relax
Dance is not easy, and there is a lot to think about. Spend your rehearsal time perfecting your movements and know the choreography backwards and forwards. you’ll probably be less nervous when it’s time to perform and have a more natural look on your face. Practice using facial expressions in the mirror to become more comfortable with how your face appears.
Use a Partner
Sit on a chair in front of a partner. Take turns performing facial expressions without sound. Do not tell your partner what your expressions mean. Have your partner guess what your dance is about.
See Yourself Through Photos
Have someone take a close up picture of you demonstrating different facial expressions. Put the printed photos in a book or journal entitled" I dance with my face".
Use Your Eyes
The most important part of your face is your eyes, especially from the stage. It may seem obvious, but make sure that they’re open and active when you’re on stage. Don’t just let them wander here and there, unfocused because your mind is on the choreography. Start using them in rehearsal, focusing your gaze with deliberation rather than apathy. When your gaze has direction, your entire face has direction. This will give your dancing a sense of intent and conviction. Look out over an audience and make brief contact. You don't want to have constant eye contact because it detracts from your performance.
If you don’t have a lot of time to learn new dance movements prior to a performance, try to remember to look pleasant when the curtain goes up. That way, if you make a mistake, the audience will be looking at your smile and not your botched dance moves.
When it’s time to perform, think of how lucky you are to be a dancer and have this experience. You may be nervous, but you get to dance… and others would love to be in your shoes at this very moment. If you love to dance, let that shine through.