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Feb 26, 2017

7 tips on becoming your character



Becoming your role is a difficult task to accomplish. Everyone interprets a character differently and no two dancers will perform a role the exact same way. You want to be believable and genuine to everyone in the audience whether they’re in the first row or fiftieth and in order to be genuine, you have to transform into your own version of the character. Naturally, this is much easier said than done.

Here are seven tips on how to understand the character you’re playing...


1: Notice all of the character’s physical attributes. 

Are they beautiful and long or awkward and crippled? Would their mannerisms be soft and gentle or rough and strong? Would their eyes flirt playfully or be shyly downcast? Ask yourself how that character would move.



2: Know the story of your ballet. 

It helps tremendously to read the tale of the ballet you are performing or research it. Understand who your character is and where they come from.

3: Analyze the situation your character is in.

For example, Odette. One of the most complex characters in any ballet. She is sad, depressed and distraught as she believes she is forever cursed to be a swan. When she meets Prince Siegfried, she has a sudden spark of hope within her. Go down into the deepest parts of your character and connect puzzle pieces that may not even exist yet.

4: It helps to also thoroughly understand the characters around you.

By understanding them you can see deeper into relationships and how your characters would truly behave around others.

5: See what goes on around you and be aware of how you are using your space.

Have a friend videotape a scene or performance so you can make self-corrections. Personally, I think this is the best way to improve your performance.

6: I know it sounds silly, but perform in your head and act out emotions in front of a mirror at home.

I’ve done it and will continue to do it as it is the simplest way to experiment with your facial expressions without feeling embarrassed. Try to be conscious of all your facial expressions during any time of the performance.

7: Think the thoughts of the character. 

For example, in La Bayadere when Nikiya sees Solor, her love, with Gamzatti at the betrothal celebration, she is heartbroken. You could be thinking: “How could this happen?” “How could he do this to me?” She just lost the love of her life, she is devastated. Use your imagination to envision what you would be thinking if you were actually in that situation. That is truly one of the best ways to make your acting come across as genuine.

Knowing your character's personality and mannerisms can make performing that much easier. It helps you mix up the performance from night to night because you have a better sense of how that character would behave. Many professional dancers use these techniques to feel as though when they are on stage, they truly are their character. It is our job to transform and become someone we are not in order to tell the audience a believable story.




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