How to encourage a young dancer to dance in the freedom of expression?

by Prissy

My granddaughter has taken ballet for 5 years and recently began what is called lyrical, so takes 2 classes now. In all this time she remains steadfast in her desire to continue, yet does not let go to just dance in the freedom of expression. I know there’s a dancer in there somewhere but how to encourage her?

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May 11, 2012
Answer from Maria
by: Maria

Dear Prissy,

If your granddaughter still wants to dance, there's really nothing to worry about.

The freedom to improvise dance or the own expressivity of each dancer are things that can be learnt or cultivated by taking whether improvisation or acting classes. Yet, this is something that she should desire to do herself. It can not be imposed, because that might be counteractive.

Improvisation is something very common for contemporary or postmodern dancers. Maybe you can take her to performances of this kind, so that she can see how it happens. There's also contact improvisation, which is something different she can attend as well.

Still improvising and self expression are skills that usually arrive with the psychological maturity of the dancer. There's no need to hurry, because if she continues dancing, life itself might take her to the ability or desire of free expression.

One exercise that you can propose her is to watch her self dancing in videos. This might make herself consider her own scenic presence and expressivity. I don't know your granddaughter's age but you can try it if she is more than twelve and you think she's mature enough to deal and have a conversation about the subject.

This is an important topic that concerns the dancer's technique but is not usually taught in amateur classes. If she is attending a formal or professional dance school, it is very probably that she might be guided by her teachers as well.

I hope this helps somehow. Tell her that she can write to me if she has questions or just needs someone to talk about it.

All the best,


May 12, 2012
How tonencourage a young dancer to dance in the freedom of expression?
by: Prissy

WOW--thank you so much, Maria. Your answer was everything I'd hoped for. Not being a dancer, I would not have instinctively known these things, but, it makes perfect sense. She is actually almost 11 so the viewing herself on video is a good idea for a little down the road. She absolutely insists she loves dancing and I know my son and daughter-in-law in no way compell her, they just want her to have something of her own. I would welcome any and all other comments on myu email.--what a great site, thank you again, Prissy

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