Music is one of the many ways a performer gives a little glimpse of themselves to the audience. Each song is carefully selected by a dancer and communicates a lot about individuality and personality. A dancer pours their soul out on stage for all to see and every little detail is ripe with conscious effort and thought by performers to create an atmosphere of expression. Let’s take a moment to break down some general characteristics and how they relate to individual personality traits.
Type of music can give you an overall impression of personality. Think of an upbeat song has cheerful music; these performers are often extroverts, feeling at home in crowds and have little trouble expressing themselves. Performers open to new experiences will often choose difficult and intricate music; with a lot of changes and shifts to artfully showcase a variety of combinations. More reserved performers may choose music that gradually builds or has a steady tempo to create a comfortable atmosphere.
Music preference is often shaped by how we view ourselves or how what we want to communicate to others. A loud and chaotic opening defiantly proclaims, “hey, I’m over here, watch this!” An unusual or creative piece reflects someone who sees themselves as unique and unconventional. I find a lot of performers who like conventional and traditional pieces have a more conservation self-view and often feel more comfortable in structured situations. Traditional and conventional pieces are often great for new dancers; it offers stability and reassurance while they perfect stage presence. Recently, many dancers are choosing tough and edgy metal and rock pieces; giving the audience a no-holds-barred performance. Drum solos and vigorous music allow the shimmy queens to display their athletic personality and stamina. There is also a definite burlesque, sassy dance movement; that enjoys fiercely proclaiming their sexuality and sensuality.
Cultural Environment also plays a huge role in music selection. Dancers are influenced by their family, instructors, and friends; we often choose music that is relevant to our culture and experience. Hip-hop and flamenco fusions reflective their respective training and past; traditional dancers choose music according to their style, etc. We select and reflect what we know and what we have mastered.
How a piece stimulates the dancer’s mind and mood is also relevant. Some dancers find traditional music too tedious and enjoy pieces with more modern pieces. Choosing and performing a piece is similar to Goldilocks choosing a bed. An overwhelming piece may inhibit creative energy and technique, flat music doesn’t offer enough challenge and excitement for a performer to sink their teeth into.
These are just a few considerations and observations of dancers and performance. Not every dancer will fit into these categories and I often see dancers challenge themselves by performing to music outside of their comfort zone. Every performer is unique and we can by no means place everyone in a box; as audience members and dancers we can try to connect with each other and find common ground. After all, dance is meant to unite and expression should be celebrated.