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Odissi and the smile

In this post, I want to share some fundamental information about the dance and the smile. Something that has become almost addictive, and I certainly love working on in a very conscious way. I also want to tell you about its whys and hows, so welcome to “Odissi and the smile”     

We have already dealt with the general idea of the Odissi dance. I have also described the concept of Abhinaya. It’s time to introduce the connection between Odissi and the smile. 

 Firstly, I must say that many of the things you are about to read are my own conclusions, based on years of studying and integrating this beautiful and elaborate dance form.

On the basis of the fact that Odissi dance almost always involves an interpretation of a character different from ourselves, I am going to tackle an issue I named: “I am focused as if I loved dancing, not as if I was trying to understand a math problem”  😉 

The thing is, when we are focused, which we are big time when practicing dance, our face gesture generally includes frowning, clenching the jaw and hardly any breathing. However (when you think about it from a distance), the way we practice dance will be translated directly in the way we perform it. 

That is why, when dancing Odissi, we put special attention on consciously relaxing our face and even smiling, despite all the focus, physical effort and mental exhaustion. We want this to be an automatic reflex when we perform on stage.    

In fact, when we smile, even if it doesn’t come from an external stimulus, our brain interprets this as happiness and releases endorphines, which minimize levels of stress and pain, resulting in a GENUINE feeling of wellness. 

Odissi and the smile

I absolutely love working on my smile on the same level as my dance. 

Actually, more often than not, when training, I realize that I am smiling. And that smile is dedicated to me. 

I absolutely enjoy it, because I love to dance.

Smiling is part of the Odissi dance training. Relaxing my face while I practice has given me the chance to dedicate a big smile to the Dance naturally. 

Self-created Tips for you to practice, should you feel so, related to the “Odissi Dance and The Smile” post.  

  • breathe during the practice. Make sure you are breathing consciously, taking deep inhales and long exhales. I bet it makes you feel great and helps you smile.
  • Change the smile! Smiles come in different shapes: showing your teeth, half smile, smiling with your eyes, among others. Try to integrate as many different smiles as possible into your dancing.   
  • Try to link movements (in a choreography for instance) with face expressions. Instead of interpreting only with body movements, add interpreting with your face to your performance.
  • But above all: smile because you enjoy dancing.  

Enjoy with this free dance tutorial, and share with me the process!!!


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