The eyes convey emotion, help the audience understand your dance and guide your audience’s gaze to what you want them to see. By engaging your eyes, your dance piece becomes instantly richer and more special.
This does not mean that you should choreograph your eyes like you choreograph movement. This means that you must gain awareness of your eyes and learn to use them creatively. And this, of course, needs practice.
Broadly speaking, you can use your eyes in 6 different ways:
- to look directly to your audience: it projects confidence and energy.
- to look directly to the body part that you are moving: it guides the audience's gaze to a specific movement.
- to look down: it conveys introspection and intimacy.
- to look up, to the sky: it projects your kinesphere; your dance becomes larger-than-life.
- to look away from the movement that you are making: it adds a theatrical dimension.
- to close your eyes: it shows surrender; you become one with the dance
How to practice:
Choose a melodic song and sit on the floor. Start improvising with your arms. Once you feel confident with your improvisation engage your eyes. Make sure that you spend some time with one way of using your eyes before you move to the next one.
Observe how each way of using your eyes 1) changes your relationship with the dance piece; 2) awakens your emotions and 3) influences your level of concentration.
Once you have practiced sitting, do the same exercise while standing. Then, apply it to a choreography or to improvised dance.
Extra tip: practice with one more dancer. Ask him/her to perform the exercise above while you watch. Observe how you are influenced by the eyes of the dancer.