The dance is enough.

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re trying to hard?  Whether it’s trying to make a movement bigger or express more on your face or try more complicated or faster movement, you might be.  I know I feel that way sometimes.

There’s strange line between actively trying to perform a movement or a choreography and just letting it happen.

Here’s the difference: When a dancer actively tries to perform something, she goes in with a sense of “I have something to show you,” or “I have something to prove”.  Or it could be that the active, conscious, thinking brain just won’t be quiet.  “Am I doing this move too much?”  Or, “Ugh, I was so off the beat there!”   I think we’ve all gone through this at one point or another in our development as dancers.

But when we go up on stage and just dance because we love a the song to which we’ve chosen to perform, or we’re caught up in the moment and the feeling takes us on a journey, or when we have one of those shows when we can’t remember what we did because we were carried away… those performances are often the most successful, ironically, because we weren’t trying to perform.  We were just dancing. We let the feelings, the movements, and the dance spring forth from the well of our being, and we weren’t trying to do or be anything other than ourselves.

And of course we must train and refine our technique.  Of course we must build our stamina and polish our musicality.  But another skill we must learn is to stop back and let the dance happen. When we start actively performing instead of just letting the dance flow from within, something shifts.  The audience can see it, and we can feel it.  Our performances aren’t as satisfying, and they certainly aren’t as authentic or true to our own selves.  The Spanish call it “Duende” in the case of Flamenco, Arab musicians call it “Tarab”.  It feels like magic, and it is available to and attainable by all of us.

…as my instructor Andrea said in class one night:  “The dance is enough”.




Comments: 6

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Gosh, this is such good advice. I ALWAYS find myself in this predicament!
If you ever have time, I’d love it if you could share a tip or two on my bellydance guide at my blog.




I like how you refer to letting the dance happen as a skill to be learnt and practised. It feels like magic, but it is a product of proper mental and physical preparation.
Keep up the good work!




I love that your posts are so often perfectly-timed for me. This is something I’ve been “working on” for about a year now. It happened accidentally the first time, and ever since, I have been trying to recapture it, managing to finally accomplish it pretty recently. Interesting, isn’t it? The conscious effort one can put into creating the head-space conducive to allowing the expression of the unconscious.




yep. I like to think of all the work on making things bigger and faster and more emotive in my practice session….makes its so I don’t have to think about it on stage

it’s like doing the work in advance, before u even get onstage. once u do the work, just have confidence in your abilities and let go a little bit.

however, I am still working on this, It’s a daily struggle…




I’m totally still struggling with just letting it happen… but that’s why we train so hard in the studio, right? 😀



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