February 21, 2015 by Nicole
So much of dance is focused on recreating lines – the shapes of the choreography with the lines our bodies make. There’s nothing inherently wrong or negative about this, but in my experience, it can also lead to some frustrating comparisons.
When I was a young dancer, I would get very caught up in looking like _____ (insert your own inspiration source/dancer/choreographer here). And that’s necessary, to the point of creating what your choreographer is asking or motivating yourself to achieve new/different/improved lines. But sometimes it’s also important to know where that motivation should end and where you have to take your own body into account.
I ran across this (absolutely awesome) article and have not been able to stop thinking about it. It was posted by someone in the fitness world but I think it illustrates my point here really well. Sometimes there are physical reasons why your body moves/makes shapes the way it does. And THAT’S OK.
Your job as a dancer isn’t to change your body to fit a mold…your real calling is to find the school/teacher/choreographer who wants to work on creating choreography and developing your artistry with you and to let go of trying to replicate someone else’s body within your own.
Working to understand your limitations (and what causes them) will make you a better dancer. It will keep you out of your head, wondering why you can’t just extend like so-and-so (because you’re different dancers with physically different bodies!). It will also help you hone in on areas you can work to improve (for example, strengthening your arches) without creating aggravation or injury in a body part you can’t “improve” (like your squat stance).