Theatre Secrets and Musicality

On theater, details, associations, mood and truth of the image.
The autumn came. The body trained with 10 years of school and five of the Institute says we need to learn something new. Or to revise what is already studied. A lot of things that we know if handled properly can serve well in tango.

I'm going to tell you about my experience. Perhaps it will be interesting for some of you to use this method.

We will focus on the performing arts, observation and identification of small details and associations, anchors, building a true image and creating a right feeling and mood.
What makes us believe the character that is on the stage?
Of course it is the fact that actor's internal feelings match the context.

Actor works hard to achieve easiness and authenticity of representation.
It's interesting area of acting though it's hidden. There are some components that are important to understand: story of character's evolution (who is he now and what happened in his life and made him like this) and circumstances around him at the moment.

After arguing with the Director, throes of creation and approval of the general line of a role a search for details begins, "saturating" the character, like gestures, reactions, gaze, posture, intonations, costume. From the perspective of body work it is necessary to choose the exact expression of feelings: raised eyebrow, barely notable twiddling a ring on a finger or trembling lips. Any gesture must carry the meaning. An empty gesture is always superfluous, they told us.

The most important thing to create an iconic gesture is observation. While growing up we see thousands of examples of people's reactions to different situations. Often we use this experience passively and just feel when a person hides the excitement, joy, or sadness, relating the situation and the behavior. The actor has not just to observe but to meticulously extract these micro-reactions of ourselves and the others. He has to remember that the quarrelsome but easily appeased person looks and behaves differently than the angry and vengeful, he has different wrinkles on his face, different gestures and poses. The actor notices, remembers and collects gestures and emotional states.
Any gesture must carry the meaning. An empty gesture is always superfluous, they told us.
In addition, there is an interesting exercise that develops skills of observation, imagery, figurativeness and imagination. Its importance is in converting one experience to another: sound to smell, a taste to bodily sensation and then in reaction.

All this helps to create a living and lively character which is easy to believe.

A play gives an actor a sense and support as a dancer finds starting point in his partner's initiative and the music. The ability to feel the music with its mood, energy, tempo and phraseology is incredibly important. Exactly this context affects the quality of movement. When you understand the message of music, when you realize what you want to express, what points to emphasize, you can pick up a truthful gesture.

A skill of making associations and describing came to my life from the theatre and reading and helped me in dancing, too. Musical associations add personal meaning to the notes, make this music your own.

Everybody has musical associations, we don't spend our lives in silence. We all have significant moments of life, spontaneous associations, we all find cross-musical similarity. Each music, like kitchen, has its own flavour.

And since our body is always striving to be in congruence with music (because matching a rhythm and coordinated movement make us hormonally happier), it is important to listen to different music in order to find something new.
Classical works and plays are often thematic, it means that the author has already converted an event or a natural phenomenon into music. Listen to them in order to develop imagery, figurativeness and linking melodic themes with images.

If you want to develop your comprehension of rhythm, listen to ethnic drums of different regions. You can find small beads of insane speeds in Scottish and Irish motives.
You can find rocking, bounce, internal mainspring, slowing down and rushing in blues, lindy hop and rock-n-roll.
Steady slow paced waves beating the shore, the heat and generosity of the South are found in music of Latin America.

And since I passed on associations, let me notice that sometimes association can be short and succinct and concise, sometimes it represents the whole picture like "the last days of Pompeii" or a fantastic made-up story.
And you can dance these stories fully or partially.

Let's analyze well known "Poem". What do you think are the first 15-20 seconds about? Entering the dance floor, embrace, the first movement together with the partner that defines the character of a relationship.

I will share with you my idea about these 20 seconds.
It's like a nectarine. Don't be surprised. I'll explain everything below.
Just imagine, you come from a harsh severe winter to warm summer and buy a nectarine in the sun-drenched street. Attentive seller washes and hands you the fruit. It is bright and glossy. It's feels heavy in hand, smells like South, it's firm and juicy at the same time. You bring it to your lips and it's peel is a little cold.

You bite off a slice and enjoy this first bite that feels like a firework, hits all the receptors in your mouth, besots you. Juicy, sweet, but slightly sour. There is so much juice that you instinctively move forward in order not to get dirty, and then eat it noisily with relish and without hesitation, and a jolt of fresh air makes the taste even better. Is a perfect bliss. Compared to that first bite everything fades. Remember such feeling?

Try to resurrect this feeling in your body. And how about using this association to dance those first 20 seconds of "Poema"? Don't be shy, dance the whole composition, so that even a partner feels the taste of the nectarine.
Get inspired by what you see and hear. Feel it and feel free to use it. Dance, be bright, sparkle, be different.
Or here's another example of "simple" songs, which has its own association that is like anchor for me. It is Chacarera del Violin by Nestor Garnica. What I hear in the music coincides with the story of Telesita. I do not insist on my interpretation, but I can hear it in the music. Sometimes I dance it. Melodic line of the voice and its meaning are not less interesting to me than the violin part. For me it is about ecstatic dancing and madness of the heroine who flared like a flame. This passion and this transition from a traditional dance to the ritual dance seems very interesting to me. Violin imitates the wind, the flashes of fire, the feeling of balancing on the edge. Bobmo, on the contrary, lands you down. But the violin rushes and strives skyward. The voice stabilizes. The entire melody is obtained at very strong emotional contrast.
Everyone has his own associations, so just use them.
Listen to the music. Try to formulate, what it is like for you, what color, fruit, picture, emotion. Try to move, make the music native to your body.

Get inspired by what you see and hear. Feel it and feel free to use it. Dance, be bright, sparkle, be different.
Author: Nataly Maystrenko. Translation: Dunya Valova.
Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
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