What I learned from off-duty dancers

Have you ever seen a trained dancer out and about in everyday life? Walking down the street, standing in line at a coffee shop, and so on? If you did, you’d probably suspect right away that they were a dancer, because of – you guessed it – their excellent posture.

The amazing Misty Copeland and her enviable posture.

Owing to their rigorous training in the studio, dancers maintain that trained upright posture even as they go about their daily routine. This is not the same as intentional, artistic gesture, but is a kind of backdrop, a baseline that they carry with them always, as a result of persistent effort in rehearsal.

What if we applied this to violin playing? That is, that every time I picked up the violin, I strove to have as a baseline the most beautiful tone, the clearest intonation? It might very well become a habit…a baseline to draw from, so that in moments of performance, this baseline would be second nature, and one’s attention would be free to focus on higher-order musical and expressive concerns.

So I’m striving to learn from a dancer to maintain my musical discipline, even when I’m not performing.

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