Being and doing, in dancing I see this as flow and technique. I like to see this as flow and technique rather than flow versus technique, emphasising the balance of both. Allowing yourself a balance of these leads to a real joy in dancing.
Technique, the doing, concentrating, extending part of dance has it’s place, especially in partner dance (as you work to find ways not to step on your partner’s toes or move in a way that requires less effort), but so does letting go of all that concentration – being in a state of flow. (A valuable lesson I’m learning from the practice of ecstatic dance such as 5Rhythms and other ecstatic dance practices).
As a dancer, it’s natural to want to find ways to express yourself in greater ways and ways that feel better and better – training your technique. For this, you will be practicing movements, ranges of motion, rhythmical timing or an increased physical connection with your partner, etc; this will require concentration and doing. When you are working on a move, when you are actively asking your body to do a certain movement, then you are doing. Quite possibly it’s something new that you’ve not done before, creating new muscle memories and this is the work of the dance.
Flow, on the other hand, is the place where you relax into observing and feeling how your body is moved by the music without trying to achieve something. It’s where you experience a connection and a flow with the music, your partner (if you have one), or the other dancers or atmosphere of the room.
Repetition of movement is a great way to get into flow. Find a movement which is repetitive, and repeat, and repeat. Repeat until you are no longer thinking about how to do the move. Bring your attention to the music and tuning in to how you feel to this music. This allows you to observe how your movements are instead of trying to change them.
So, having practiced your technique and trained your body until you are comfortable with your movements, at whatever level that is for you, you are then able to let go and find your flow in a way that feels good. This is an amazing place to be at, and this is primarily what I see as my work here – as an integration between technique and flow, how they interconnect and enhance each other.
*For ways to help you find your state of flow in dance, see the resource ‘Finding Flow’ available on the website when you enter your email address.