Throughout a dancer’s training, he or she will attend hundreds of classes and learn countless exercises and combinations. This is crucial to the development of technique and the ability to learn choreography. However, there are other skills that a dancer will miss out on if they aren’t also given the chance to improvise frequently in their training, as well.
Improvisation is the practice of creating movement spontaneously, following your impulses, and letting go of the need to be “perfect.”
Many dancers hear the word “improvisation” and have a sudden urge to run. Once a dancer gets over that fear and embraces the practice of improvisation, they’ll begin to see these 5 benefits to their dancing:
Developed Personal Style
As dancers become more comfortable with improvisation, they’ll be able to give themselves the freedom to truly explore their most natural movement vocabulary. This process will allow the dancer to determine what style of movement they enjoy, what dynamics come most naturally to them, and what movement habits they tend to fall into. Improvisation is a tool for a dancer’s self-discovery.
Improvisation gives the dancer the opportunity to move freely and challenges the dancer to follow the music in order to create complementary rhythms and melodies with their movement. This requires a sharp awareness in order to continue thinking, dancing, and listening to the music simultaneously. In this way, practicing improvisation is a key component to the development of strong musicality, which will shine in class and on stage, as well.
Heightened Problem Solving
In improvisation, there are no mistakes. The task is to continue dancing, regardless of what happens. This gives a dancer freedom to fall off balance, find themselves stuck, create awkward lines, and an infinite number of other challenges. Through the practice of improvisation, dancers must learn how to recover from these moments and transition seamlessly back into their dancing. These are critical problem solving skills that every dancer will need at some point in his or her performance career.
As dancers continue to practice improvisation, they’ll be able to improvise and for longer and longer periods of time without breaking their flow of energy. This requires a strong focus and commitment to the task at hand in order to think about movement vocabulary, phrasing, transitions, and more without distractions. That amount of focus will come in handy in the dance studio and in life.
The last, and probably most obvious, benefit of improvisation is that it makes creating choreography a breeze. Once a dancer is comfortable coming up with movement on the spot, he or she will be able to begin to remember that movement, make adjustments, and turn it into beautiful choreography that is specific to their unique style.
Now, turn on some music and let yourself dance!