I’ve come a long way this semester. And yet, it seems I’ve come no closer to my goals.
I set out this semester knowing I was going to be investing myself more and more into dance. Bboying, tricking, and choreography. I was supposed to become battle ready in breaking and tricking, and learn how to learn choreographies thoroughly and accurately.
I failed at all of these.
Tricking: I learned how to injure myself and what fear is useful for. I learned that, even if you’re in the air only for fractions of a second, you still have to learn to be patient and wait. I probably picked up or solidified a few tricks that I hadn’t otherwise been able to do, but nothing meaningful.
Bboying: I learned that windmills hurt your ass. I can say though, on good days, that I have solid windmills. I learned the kickstep, the hip twist, the samba variation, and various toprock, but no downrock.
Choreographies: I learned a lot of choreographies very badly this semester. I learned that people think that I learn choreography very quickly, which is strange to me, because I feel as though I don’t. I learned that choreography is a skill as much as windmills are a skill, and my skill with choreography is pretty bad.
On the upside, I learned that there are two ways to approach dance. There’s the visual method, which is common, as it is easily accessible through visual spectacle, and then there’s the choreographic method, which focuses more on the dancer and how he or she feels. I might be wrong with that label, though, so I’ll call it the kinetic method.
The visual method is what I’m used to learning by rote in choreographies – to look a certain way at the right times in the music. When I’m watching a dance or practicing with a mirror, it’s about what the dance looks like.
The kinetic method is what comes naturally to me when I’m dancing for the sake of dance. I close my eyes and just do what I feel like at the moment. What comes next is determined by a combination of my mind, body, and music at the time.
As a tricker, I need both. When I watch a video of a trick, I need to see what’s happening – what goes where at what stage in the move. But on the other hand, if I can’t feel how the trick should be executed, the momentum won’t pull me through at the right times, or I won’t spin as fast as I need to, or jump as high.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned this semester I only learned recently, after speaking with my friends, who are the much-admired dancers in my life. Being a good dancer is subjective. So when the bboys in Planet Bboy say that they are bringing their sense of beauty to the world, that is exactly what they are doing.
I should do the same, but in order to do so I have to truly know what dance looks and feels like in my body. I have to develop my own unique sense of what dance is.
That’s my mission now.