Lines are important in dance. We create shapes with our bodies and a broken line can make or break the intention and purpose of a movement.
Many dancers struggle to refine this technique on the pole especially in the leg and foot area and it’s no wonder given the enormous feat we are requiring our bodies to do while at the same time protecting ourselves from a fall or injury – pointing our toes can sometimes be the last thing we’re thinking about.
For me, creating consistent, aesthetically pleasing leg and toe lines begin from the thigh.
Lie down on your back, legs open into a “V” like position and imagine a spiral extending from the inside of your thigh, up around your knee, spiraling out around your calf, in around your ankle and extending out your big toe. Stick with that thought and just streeeaaatch into it – curl those pinky toes in toward your shoulders with super strong thighs and legs while pressing the arches of you feet in and out. Become familiar with that feeling that runs from your thighs to your pinky toes.
Now take it to the pole…
The more you relax the easier it is to manage your lines. When you’re over gripping due to lack of strength, skill or confidence your lines reflect that strain. Practice, record yourself and watch your footage – before you sleep! (If you are not recording yourself each time you train and immediately watching your movements please take a minute to read the following article so that I may gently try to persuade you to change that practice: LINK). Become aware of the ‘feeling’ of your body in alignment with your actual visual movement.
Another exercise you can try is to dance a freestyle ‘leading’ with your toes – every thought in mind being your toes and let them lead the dance. Doing this will make you more aware of your feet and lines within your usual movements and allows a new strength and purpose to your movement as well.
With consistency and diligence you can train your body to reflect your desired movements.
Lastly, teach yourself to be aware of lines outside of your dance from architecture and nature to shadows and the movement of water. Be mindful of them in your dance and present them in your movements
It’s all in the details – the energy, the intent of a line and where you direct the gaze of your audience.