Steps are great, but what are steps without improvisation and your interpretation of them? Improvisation is your dance. As a partner dancer you don’t practice solo dance to become a solo dancer, but to feel your own dance first in order to share that with a partner. If you rely solely on the partnered aspect of the dance then it can become dry because the partner dance needs two separate dancers with their own ideas and interpretations to build the partnership upon. The partner dance doesn’t exist without this, it doesn’t have any substance or life of it’s own, it’s made up of two parts (you and your partner) and the two parts have to be self-sustainable to contribute to the 3rd entity which is the partner dance. The partnership is only an amplification, a multiplication, of the what the two partners are adding to it.
So finding your solo dance is about coming in to yourself, discovering you and your own dancing that little bit deeper. How do you interpret the music? How do you dance by yourself without the influence of your partner? How do you let out what you have inside? Every single one of us is different and that’s something that only you can discover, it can’t be learned from imitation.
If you’re used to partner dancing it can actually be confronting to dance solo. As a partner dancer it’s easy to get so caught up in always being in partnership that you forget who you are as a dancer yourself. It can also lead to relying on your partner to ‘make you happy’ because you feel you aren’t a whole dancer without them. This reliance can make you feel resentful when others don’t lead or follow the way you’d like them to, or they don’t ‘give you a good dance’.
When you can come back to your own self, you remember that you are capable of having an amazing, free, interpretive dance all of your own and you don’t need your partner to do this or that to give it to you. I’ve found this mindset particularly helpful in letting come and go whatever comes and goes in a dance, and not getting caught up in things having to be a particular way for me to enjoy it.
See what focusing on your solo dance can do for you. For part two of this article focusing on solo dance for partner dancers go here.
If you are interested in finding how to practice this I cover it in detail in Finding Flow the free e-guide download available when you sign up to the mailing list.