How do you make a dance scene work better?
When you’re not dancing, you need to think ahead about the 3 basic purposes of a dance scene:
1) To evoke a visceral, emotional reaction from your audience
2) To provide a narrative element that is engaging for the rest of us
3) To provide a dramatic element through which your scene can be told
To achieve these three purposes, every scene should have an element that makes a person feel something, or does something, or makes the person feel a certain way. A good scene needs to be evocative, exciting, or dramatic.
So when someone tells you what they were doing, what they were feeling, where they were when they were doing that, what their goal was, or what they were about to be in the next scene … what do you hear when they tell you?
“My girlfriend and I were dancing.”
“My friend’s uncle was watching her while I was having a drink with his brother.”
“My mom was dancing at the bar.”
“My son was having a bad day and my sister was dancing by his side.”
These are all great stories. I love them. You love them. You get it. So why don’t we listen? Well, of course it is great that the person has a story. The problem is that you hear them as if they were telling a story, not just telling you about their experience. You hear them as if they were telling you about the next scene, the choreography, the stage directions, the music, the lighting techniques, the choreography…
Your mind, the part of your brain that’s always telling you to do anything, is also telling you something else: what you are doing. You’re telling yourself to be happy, to dance, to feel good, to be sexy, to be confident, to dance.
If you really want to learn how to listen, learn what it’s like to listen. It’s really quite easy to listen. And if you do, you’ll find that you’ll have a better shot at telling the story, as you will, as I did after my first month of practicing this technique. It takes practice to get it right, but if you can practice and get it right you can learn how to listen in general! Now, in the next several sessions, I will detail how to listen.
What if I can’t listen (and can’t do
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