Inhale, exhale. . . Inhale, exhale. . . Inhale, exhale. . .Inhale, exhale.
Naturally our body breathes. We do it without thinking about it. We do it subconsciously and automatically. Breathing is a necessity for function, life, and pure survival. Breathing is something that thankfully happens without having to think about it (thank you Autonomic Nervous System), but what about if we turn the ON switch to full blast and exaggerate our breath? Simply, what if dancers consciously were more aware of how each breathe relates to their movement (sharp – slow – full)? Specifically, coinciding each inhale and exhale with the movement that is demanded from our body. Would this exaggeration of thought benefit us? Could it potentially increase the life expectancy of our careers? Maybe so! Or simply, just make us enjoy it more?
Recently a coworker of mine came to me and told me a story.
She explained her setting to me. It was a smaller studio with just 2 students. No one was looking in. No one but the teacher and one other student to judge. She then explained to me that she told these students to breathe at the end of each balancé, in hopes that it would teach them the feeling that is needed for continuous balancés to look at all appealing. She told them to breathe loud enough so she could hear them and large enough so she could physically see their chests expand.
I asked her how the students responded?
She said that one student did, and the other was hesitant and embarrassed. And for the student that did. . . Wow, did she SMILE!
What are the benefits of breathing and why is it crucial to emphasize while dancing? Perhaps it provides for deeper movement, continuity of movement, meaningful value to each step, deeper range of motion, proper flow, fatigue fighters (increased intake of oxygen), and a form of injury prevention. But most importantly, it provides for “A WAY,” of dancing. An enjoyment of movement. A fulfilling quality that is enduring to oneself, which in the end will be enduring to the audience.
So continue the push of breathing. Whether it be for yourself, your students, or your coworkers, spread the joy. Let’s make it happen!