Just as in music, where silence makes the music more beautiful, stillness is an important and necessary part of dance and dance education.
This is one of the most important things that we teach our young dancers and one of the hardest skills. We teach this in a variety of ways:
- Waiting before the music begins to start the dance- students are generally given a direction like “stand like a popsicle” or “stand in first position, hands on your hips” as the teacher queues the music.
- Freezing in a pose or position during or at the end of the dance- sometimes choreography calls for one group to be still while another dances and vice versa, and sometimes we hit a pose at the end waiting for our audience to applaude and the lights to go down.
- Waiting our turn to go across the floor- This not only gives each dancer a moment of individual attention from the teacher or assistant, it builds patience and cameraderie in all other members of the class.
- Providing an audience for another dancer or class- Whether we are giving dancers a moment to show off their favorite movement or watching another class show off their dance, from time to time, dancers get to practice their audience skills- sitting still, staying quiet, paying attention and applauding our friends.