How do the figures move? Are the figures the same or different? And what is the function of the pole? What is the function of the dancer? What is the function of the pole in a figure’s movement, and so on? In addition to learning these functions, we also need to learn how to interpret them, how to understand what’s happening at a given moment in time, and how to translate those symbols into meaning for our audiences.
This means that we’re making ourselves and the art work at a much higher level of abstraction and sophistication, one that involves a much deeper understanding of artistic intention, and that involves a profound commitment on the part of the artistic team and the spectator to pay attention to the whole picture.
In short, the dancers, both individual dancers, and the collective of dancers, can contribute to the artistic process. We know what’s going on. We know it in our bones, because we’ve been doing it for a very long time.
So it’s up to the dancers to decide what to do about it.
Spirits of Movement
Now we come to the questions of what sort of dancers are they? Where are they going? Is there a difference? And are we going to do it together, or what?
The dance experience is at once a combination of dance, movement, emotion, and performance. By combining these elements dance is able to convey both an experience that is meaningful to the performer, and a unique experience for the audience.
To dance it is necessary to be capable of making a lot of movements. And the dancers have the same task of making a lot of movements. They have to move between two states, in which they can feel both pleasure and pain, and in which they might be moved through their lives by the different states of this universe. So a dancer also has to move, and feel, and be moved through time, by the dance. It’s this combination of dance and movement that we call “spirituality” of which I often speak in the seminar.
The main dancers I teach in the class move in rhythmic and rhythmic movement, in a kind of musical performance that’s often referred to as improvisation. So while the others can be moved through time, they tend not to make music out of what they’re moving. The only time they do is on the stage. When the dance is over, what they do remains on the stage—not at the hands-free-at-any-
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