I have definite opinions about technique and how it applies to dances. My friends know this as I can argue adamantly about how some dances and dancers refuse basic technique. I find it wondrous when I see people who have been dancing at a professional level for a long time in certain dances, that they are still not using basic dance techniques that benefit us all across all genres.
Believe me, my technique is not perfect. I have to work on it everyday and I guess that is why I am still in this industry. There is always something to work towards. There is never going to be a perfect performance. Nothing in my dance life will ever be good enough not to continue working on it. There will never be enough rehearsals before a show. There will never be enough time to get to the point where I actually think I am great. That is what keeps me hungry and motivated in the dance world to continue pushing myself to be better.
I still study under others weekly or more often because it gives me the opportunity for growth. My eyes are critical about what they see in the mirror. My brain has a lot of calculating to do while trying to watch – activation of the right muscle groups, the balance between relaxation and strength, remembering technique that I am supposed to apply. These, among many other, things are going through my brain which is an overload at times. That and trying to be self-critical can be a bit much. This is why coaches are so important.
I am lucky that I came from a competitive background as a kid. I was always being evaluated (almost to a flaw). Criticism was always welcomed in my world. Okay, almost always – I still have feelings and an ego that can be bruised. There was always someone trying to improve my technique in gymnastics, arts, and other sports. An outside eye was just what I was used to.
External criticism was so commonplace that it took self-discipline to be able to criticize myself as that had always been someone else’s job. This criticism was needed to slow myself down. To delve deeper into movements and try to explore their limits. Trying to keep my balance while also trying to move through balance challenging techniques takes gut and drive. This is part of where the self-criticism comes into place. To be able to improve during times where I don’t have an outside eye, I have to find my edge of ability. Once that is found, I have to try to push through it. It may not be beautiful to the eye, but it will be physically progressive which is helpful in growing on my own.
In having external eyes, I do take people from different genres to participate. I want people who think the same as me, sometimes. Other times, I want someone who is my polar opposite in thought. Why? Because I want someone who is going to broaden my understanding of movement. Someone who is going to break my current technique and infuse their own into those pieces. This is the way that I know how to grow.