If there’s one thing that often eludes dancers when it comes to terms used to describe their dance, it’s ‘lightness’. How do you make yourself lighter? Gravity seems to make this impossible! But there are ways to make yourself lighter and breezier when dancing that has nothing to do with defying gravity.
Using Contrast to Create the Illusion
One of the first things to understand is that you can’t make yourself lighter, but you can create the illusion of lightness by contrasting it with the appearance of heaviness. So, by making your moves heavier at times this creates a contrast which then makes other moves appear lighter. All the time, you are still the same weight but the appearance you create helps the audience to see what you want to demonstrate.
Staying Grounded to be Light
Another tip that sounds a little strange is the idea of being grounded in order to create the feeling of lightness. This means having a place to push from and not get stuck in a position. This can be achieved with oppositional energy. Learn to feel the pull of gravity and then use the strength in areas such as legs or core to push back at this and create that sense of lightness.
Strength Equals Lightness
In order to portray lightness, you need to have the strength to pull it off. A classic example of this is strength in your arms. As one teacher put it, the lower body is the rhythm while the upper body is the melody. And the way to achieve that melody is with upper body strength.
There’s always a worry that too much strength will make you look bulky, especially for female dancers. But when it is paired with the right positioning, the correct carriage of the arms, then this isn’t an issue. Instead, your arms and hands will seem lighter and move with greater freedom due to the strength in them.
Be Aware of Your ‘Grippy’ Areas
We all have areas where we tense and ‘grip’ with our body from the jaw to clenched hands and even holding in the quads. But by learning to control breathing and release those grippy areas, you can create a sense of lightness. Breathing control and also a strong core are the key things to focus on for this area. Some experts say things like a TheraBand around the lower ribs can be a great way to help improve breathing.
Learn to Float - or Appear To!
When you have strength and control over your body, you can create the appearance of lightness and almost learn to float. While this comes in part from being able to jump higher with added strength, it also means using breathing control to help accent the moves and make it clearer for anyone watching what is going on.
So, while learning to be lighter in your dancing isn’t easy, there are steps to take to get there and to improve your lightness without finding a way around gravity!