Any singers here?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Soulmate61, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Ann Gleave made the point, that when dance phrasing subsides to a quiet spot, that is the best time to exhale. The body will relax naturally thus reinforcing the intended point. Before a colorful energetic passage a dancer should inhale, said Ann.

    Sounds plausible to me though I have yet to try it. If anyone knows about inhaling and exhaling it is singers -- on the dance floor do you plan your breathing in advance, as you would for your singing?
  2. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    No. I've found very little crossover between singing (or woodwinds, which I did longer) and dance. Dance I'm following a tempo, playing or singing I'm following a phrase (and one where timing can change at the whim of the conductor.) Plus with dancing I don't know what song I'll get most of the time so I don't know what's coming next anyway. My showcase I'm worried more about acting than breathing.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    i am professionally trained in voice...unfortunately, a great deal of singing involves coming in promptly...which runs counter to a great deal of higher level dancing...though finding a time to breathe has been a challenge for me in both venues
  4. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    There seem to be a number of dancers into Yoga and Pilates which help to train the breathing. I feel that if you train your breathing on a regular basis, including outside of your dancing, this is enough. Of course, you need to train your endurance as well. There is also the problem of trying too hard in the wrong ways. There are many tricks to dancing more efficiently and that should not be under estimated.
  5. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Active Member

    You need to PM me this list ;) LOL
  6. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Me first. I bid ten dollars per trick, double if it works. :)
    Miss Silly likes this.
  7. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Active Member

    d'oh! Or we go halfers and not share with anyone else :cool: :p
    Soulmate61 likes this.
  8. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    I dont thiiinnnkkk so missy
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Just working on breathing STEADILY is good for me. It's natural to want to hold your breath doing something taxing but then you just lock up. Skating and dance I both have to remind myself to breathe!

    Then of course at comps I will try to hide my breathing even if I turn blue. I took the advice Diana Adams gave Suzanne Farrell (out of the latter's autobiography) and ran with it--never let them see you pant or your rib cage heaving. If I need to breathe hard it can wait until I'm off the floor.
  10. IfMusicBe

    IfMusicBe New Member

    Singing mostly consists of long controlled exhales combined with rapid, deep, relaxed inhales. I learned from several coaches that the issue with dancing is that we often don't fully exhale, so the inhales become shallow and insufficient to support the dancing. Their solution was to focus on achieving a complete exhale (sometimes aggressively exhaling, sometimes relaxed, but always complete) and let the inhale happen naturally. The timing of the exhale probably could vary with the musicality of the partnership. This has done wonders for my stamina in VW and Jive.
    SwayWithMe and Soulmate61 like this.
  11. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Wonderful new info. In a 100-second dance how many times would you fully exhale?

    Is it possible that exhaling is a "separation" issue? That when the mind is busy with many movements and changes during dance, that nature downgrades urgency and inhibits exhaling? If so, to exhale fully and purposefully at the right time would require practice (and pre-planning)?

    Athletes also pay much attention to exhaling/inhaling. Are there runners in here? :D

    I know jockeys are trained to pay careful attention to encouraging their horses to inhale before a pitched battle in the home straight.
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    ...you know some weird trainers than. How a horse breathes at a racing pace is pretty much limited to "how their anatomy requires them to breathe while running." It's actually pretty closely tied to their action and not something you can train them to change (or would want to--they way horse breathes flat out is about as efficient as you can ask for in a quadruped.) Also, if you've ever worked a horse even at exercise speed, the most complicated thing in your head is watching traffic and controlling direction and lead changes and clocking yourself, and deciding when to make a bid or if your horse even has enough left if you're racing. There is not the slightest thing you can do to affect how the horse breathes (well, other than give him Lasix before the race if he's a bleeder.)

    In fact I'm not even sure how you could ever get a horse to inhale on cue in a non-forced, non-violent way in any situation. It would be a lot easier to dance (or run, or anything strenuous) if humans could breathe like horses, but we're not built that way!
  13. IfMusicBe

    IfMusicBe New Member

    I hadn't really thought about how often I would exhale. I think that depends on your own lung capacity. I do agree that it is a "separation" issue and that practice and planning are useful. The practice could be choreographed to a routine, or simply incorporated into certain common steps (like a strong downbeat in VW or a fan in rumba). Eventually I assume we need to add the habit of complete exhalations to the myriad of other habits we have to develop for dancing!
  14. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    this reminds me of my drown proofing lessons; while doing the dead man's float, i would wait to break the surface before exhaling, which meant i ended up sucking in water as i'd go submerged by the time i'd finished exhaling. the point is that while singing or playing a wind instrument, you're already exhaling as a natural consequence of the activity, and the inhale is similarly done as a natural consequence of preparing to start the next phrase, but the inhale has to be done in preparation to play/sing the pickup to the down beat. i guess the point is that when i'm dancing, my breathing patterns can be different to what they'd be if i was performing the same song; i tend to take prep breaths in anticipation of new movement which sometimes but not always reflects the exact moment the next musical phrase starts.
    Soulmate61 likes this.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have had professional voice training...I don't actually find it helpful...first of all because a singer is going to inhale in anticipation of beginning on beat and I dance to almost me lat...but also because in singing, the words/phrasing determines when I breathe.... which, while it might conceptually translate doesn't really happen automatically in the body for me in terms of expressing
  16. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Very good point. A musician sits down and plays with his hands and mouth, without counter-demands from moving feet and upper body. A dancer has to look after body movement, and if a dance phrase did onflict with musical phrase then dance phrase has to take precedence.

    What Ann Gleave said was that conscious exhale causes the body to involuntarily relax and subside, helping to portray the end of a dance phrase, usualy coinciding with musical phrase. Unlike a singer who when running out of breath has to inhale, a dancer can get by with small involuntary inhales and exhales. Taking no deep inhale before an energetic crescendo will not enhance portrayal of it, nor will absence of soft exhale enhance portrayal of a pianissimo step exit.

    For sure an operatic singer will need a deep inhale before a dramatic phrase -- out of physical necessity for sure, but also for fresh oxygen to orchestrate mind with body.
  17. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    I've had a couple of pro coaches who have taught breath control while dancing. Both emphasized the importance of breathing in through your nose and out through your moth throughout the dancing. My Standard coach talked about using inhalation to slow an action when you are trying to lengthen an action (a slow in Quickstep after a set of quick runs is a good example) and to counter that to use exhales to increase the speed of certain actions (the change to promenade in a Tango link is a good example). My Latin coach never talked about controlled exhalation but did talk about using a forceful exhale when creating a pose (like the crash in a Paso Doble) to make more of an emphasis that you have stopped the current action and are now creating an action of stillness.
  18. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    I am inclined to see it as:
    to inhale to emphasise the next action,
    to exhale to de-emphasise the current action and make the next action stand out.

    I must practise this to build it into auto-pilot -- BD4L do you do this unconsiously now?
    I find it hard enough to walk and chew gum as it is. :D
  19. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    I shall rephrase that:

    to consciously exhale and immediately de-emphasise the current action, like pronouncing a fullstop.
    to inhale and emphasise the next action, like getting ready to pronounce an exclamation mark.
  20. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    To me its more about speed. A forced exhale can be used to increase the speed of an action so the action is sharper and the natural relaxation leaves you grounded which creates the strong image. The inhale can be used to actually slow your momentum down. For example in Foxtrot if you do a series of pivots and exit the pivots going directly into a Feather Step. Taking a strong inhalation on the Slow of the Feather Step slows your momentum from your pivots so you are able to extend the action and not rush past it.

    I have problem breathing in through my nose because of sinus problems, but I do use the planned breathing quite often. Part of it is unconscious but a lot of it for me is tied to just how I emphasize my steps. When I'm doing my last cleaning prep for a competition and finalizing how I want to approach each step in a routine I carefully identify my points of emphasis and when reach those points of emphasis one of the things I do to make that emphasis is use of breathing. So its conscious in that I decide when I will do it before hand, but unconscious in that it is part of the way I emphasize steps that I have chosen to emphasize. I hope that helps.

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