Lyrical/Standard Fusion

Posted May 9th, 2010 by layla

As I was writing the last post about Lyrical, I was also talking to a new friend, who also dances Standard, on Facebook. We were talking about practicing, and I was recounting one of the random ways I practice standard when I have the floor all to myself for an hour before lyrical on Fridays. After explaining it to her, it occurred to me that what I was doing, without consciously being aware of it, was really like a fusion between standard and lyrical! Sort of like lyrical using standard technique, instead of ballet/modern/jazz/tap technique.

Basically, I wear my ballet slippers, and I put on my Bluetooth earphones (connected to my cell phone, which has 16gb of dance music!! :D), then I pick a dance (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep), and I cycle through songs until I find one that I have an emotional connection to — one that, for me, characterizes the dance, and touches me – a song that makes me feel and want to move to the music.

Then, I bring my arms up into a solo dance frame (as if I had an invisible partner), and I just go. I dance to the music, whatever my body feels. I don’t have a routine in mind, and I’m only partially consciously aware of what I’m doing – mostly, my muscle memory is just working together with the emotions and feelings I’m getting from the music, and things just happen. Sometimes goofy things happen (good thing I’m alone on the floor!), and sometimes I run out of space up against a wall and have to restart, but other times, a little bit of magic happens, and various open steps that I’ve danced here and there flow out of me and into each other like physical poetry. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing until I’ve done it, and sometimes I’m not even sure I could repeat what I just did if I tried to, but when I’m in this zone – loaning my body to the music and my emotions, all my fears and doubts and self criticisms dissipate, and I just feel and dance!

I wonder if this isn’t the heart and soul of lyrical. We choreograph lyrical dances now, just like every other major dance form, so that we can perform them reliably; but, I wonder if this isn’t how lyrical originated – a dancer just using and intermixing bits and pieces of her repertoire of whatever dance forms she was trained in, as her emotions dictated, dancing to the music, without her mind getting too much involved, and without anybody looking on…

One Response to “Lyrical/Standard Fusion”

  1. Margot

    I think this is how all dances should be danced from time to time. I love just dancing to feel the movement and connection with a partner without worrying about technique, choreography, etc. from time to time. Granted, I am more of a people person and I like having that connection with someone else.

    But I definitely agree with you that lyrical probably originated with just relaxing and letting the music flow through you and letting whatever you feel come out.

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