Are you Harry Potter with a perfectly working magic wand? If your answer is YES, stop reading and congratulations. If you happen to have looked twice at the question and ended up answering NO, keep reading.
The knowledge that Oriental Dance is a LANGUAGE – human language – fails to enter most Oriental Dancers´heads. The moment the music starts to play, the majority forgets about three essencial things: their arms, hands and – which is stranger: – their face. Here comes Harry Potter Magic Wand turning our faces invisible while we dance (bad news: it doesn´t!).
Realize this: the first thing we look at when we watch a dancer is her/his face. Make no mistake: this is IT*. The face is the first point of connection and the instant proof of how connected (or disconnected) you are with the music. After “the face test” is over and done (we´re interested or not in watching the rest), we focus on other parts of her/his body. This is not an Oriental Dance issue: it´s a human communication issue: it´s how we´re wired to connect with each other and communicate. Forget your face and you forget the most powerful, evident, exposed creative tool.
Now: THE FACES! First came the magic wand – making you believe your face becomes invisible when you´re dancing; then comes the faces and we have them cathegorized for all occasions, moods, stories and tastes. I´ve seen teachers tell students how to twist their faces and strategically locate their hands in times of deep, agonizing, oh so dramatic pain. There is the “paying a promise to a saint” face (suffering, suffering, suffering) and the Classic “Don´t forget to SMILE all the time!” brigade plus all sorts of bad acting poses that aren´t organic, natural and true (everything Oriental Dance is).
How can I say this without sounding too condescending? Your face is part of your body – it´s its main mirror and first filter of every emotion that enters your personal space. You cannot escape it (exception made if you´re still thinking about sending an application to Hoghwarts School).
Listen – truly listening – to the music, let it go through The Filter (your heart) and allow your body to react as honestly as you can. That´ll do the trick. Don´t do faces; don´t try to act: there aren´t short cuts in this kind of dance: only TRUTH or nothing. And remember what they say: “the eyes are the door of the soul” – maybe there´s something to it.