Tips needed for 'eye problem'

Amulya

Moderator
There is this very annoying thing I do while performing and I want to get rid of it. I tend to look down a lot, I think that is due to my bad eyesight and being scared of tripping because of that. But it looks really bad! I do made eye contact with people in the audience, but just looking down too much and I think this makes me look shy. I have had this issue for years and don't seem to be able to get rid of it.

Any tips?
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I spend a fair amount of time saying, "Look up, not down" in class. Please feel free to insert my voice into your head so that you hear me say, "Look up, not down" as needed. :D

:D
 

Aniseteph

New member
I spend a fair amount of time saying, "Look up, not down" in class. Please feel free to insert my voice into your head so that you hear me say, "Look up, not down" as needed. :D

:D
Can I have a licensed copy of that too please?

I'm a terrible floor-looker. I think my last solo was better because I was playing let's pretend I'm a belly dance diva, which was actually a lot more fun than staring at the floor a few feet in front of me and thinking "must look up more". But no way can I do the full on channelling bit in class, so I'm trying to nag myself out of it. It's just another bad habit to work on.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
There is this very annoying thing I do while performing and I want to get rid of it. I tend to look down a lot, I think that is due to my bad eyesight and being scared of tripping because of that. But it looks really bad! I do made eye contact with people in the audience, but just looking down too much and I think this makes me look shy. I have had this issue for years and don't seem to be able to get rid of it.

Any tips?
Shall we make this one of the topics in the private lesson trade?
 

Amulya

Moderator
Good idea Darshiva! I am looking forward to dancing together :)

One thing in my performance 2 days ago went annoyingly wrong: normally I have this (very cliche) act where I shimmy endlessly and pretend to not be able to stop it etc. kind of act. People always love it, but this crowd didn't get it! I tried twice, but failed haha, it looks so stupid because I start with looking down at my hips and looking surpriced at the audience. Ah well, not all audiences are the same of course. This was a good crowd anyway and the fact that there were people I know everywhere in between was fun so I could concentrate a bit on them and doing a bit of dance for each of them. Fun!

But that eyesight of mine needs to be repaired asap!!! My specialist ordered special contact lenses for me so my vision can be FULLY repaired, yay, BUT I have been waiting for months because somehing went wrong with the supplyer *sigh*.
I hope they come in soon. If my eyes don't tollerate the lenses I need a cornea transplant (yes it is that bad), which will help a lot, but is a bit scary.

In the meantime there is always raks asaya for blind little ol' me :p

There are two more gigs coming up, so I have a deadline to fix the stupid looking down thing. Deadlines are good for me!
 

Starmouth

New member
First things first - sort out your eyesight! :D

I suppose the only tip I have is to always practice whilst looking forwards, even if you're just doing a little move whilst you wait for the kettle to boil!

Other than that, I try to think of my eyes as another 'limb' to be used for emphasis. For example, follow the line of your arms as you bring them above your head. Just dont do it too much or people will think you're having a seizure. :lol:
 

Daimona

Moderator
Have you been dancing a lot on raised stages or floor level stages as opposed to amfi theatres? If yes, you may not have had the opportunity to practice looking up as much as you could have done and this may affect your appearance on stage.

Even if you are an experienced dancer as you are, you need to practice where you want to look and how to make eye contact with your audience during your performances. Even more than you've done this far. :)

Raise your chin and eyes as if your audience (and you want to look and bond with your audience when you dance, right?) is sitting at the upper half of the amfi theatre. If this means staring up at the horizon above your audience for most of the performance, so be it..

Hope your (medical) eye problems will be solved very soon. :)
 

Amulya

Moderator
Daimona, I have mostly danced on stage with the audience below or at same level. Never gave that a thought, but that could be another reason.

I'm going to practise like crazy. It really bugs me! Got yet another gig booked, so there is more pressure to get this right asap :D
 

Lydia

New member
its important that you learn how to look up easy said then done i know...but for your feeling perhaps your eyeside make you do this,just try this ...if you look strait ahead chin up ,(like if you would look at your own face in the mirror far away), you can see the floor aswell you can realy see around you,but when your face and eyes are down you can realy only see the floor.....so your view is a still better if you look strait...i have some people in class that have this habbit and i must tell them always eyes up eyes up....difficult habbit are you doing it aswell at home? then try this hang many mirrors in the house only then you will al the time be aware when you catch yourself in the mirror ...and when dancing tie something bright color on your wrist or 1 finger you will catch that color all the time whit your eye and you will remember....its a habbit you have to teach your self to leave it...
 

Amulya

Moderator
Good tip! I'll try to imagine an audience as well, need to make sure I'll imagine a standing audience instead of a sitting one! Makes a difference too I noticed!
 

Daimona

Moderator
Good tip! I'll try to imagine an audience as well, need to make sure I'll imagine a standing audience instead of a sitting one! Makes a difference too I noticed!
For different stages I'd say this:

Amfi theatre stages:
Lift chin and eyes to see the faces on all the ones sitting in the amfi theatre, not only the front rows.

Audience at same level:
When you have a (standing) audience at the same level as you are dancing, you shall be able to communicate with the tallest guy in the back row (and thus you need to lift your eyes to look over the crowd).

Audience below/raised stage:
Unless you are communicating with someone just in front of the stage, don't look further down than the back of the crowd. If there is a gallery, imagine you'll be dance for the ones on the galleries as well.

It is a good thing imagining and practicing where your audience will be, and practicing a lot for amfi theatre stages really helped me getting my chin and eyes up.
IIRC, looking straight above people's heads may make them believe you are looking at them (or perhaps into their eyes).
 

Amulya

Moderator
IIRC, looking straight above people's heads may make them believe you are looking at them (or perhaps into their eyes).

I heard of that :)

When I used to dance with my theatre company the eye contact was so much easier: they were sitting down at tables and it was a regular crowd. That helps a lot because if they are people you know you tend to look more at them :) I just got to get used again to strangers :)
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I have this mostly because the people I'm performing for are below me in eye level. When I see photos, it looks like my eyes are cast down a lot or even closed. Also, I didn't want to have the deer caught in the headlights look all the time by looking at one level either, but to find a balance is really hard because of all these factors. If you are performing on a stage in front of a huge audience, then you have to look down at the first row while also looking past the back of the auditorium.
 

indrayu

New member
It might not apply, but is it possible that you are also using vision to help with a slight problem/underuse of another sense? Balance and proprioception (the muscles etc knowing where they are in relation to each other, how far they need to move and how much force is needed).

If you looked down less with a seated crowd, was that partly because they were easier to get a "fix" on your position?

Ear problems can affect balance: just a slight blockage might be enough to make you instinctively go for the most secure option.
 
Good idea Darshiva! I am looking forward to dancing together :)

One thing in my performance 2 days ago went annoyingly wrong: normally I have this (very cliche) act where I shimmy endlessly and pretend to not be able to stop it etc. kind of act. People always love it, but this crowd didn't get it! I tried twice, but failed haha, it looks so stupid because I start with looking down at my hips and looking surpriced at the audience. Ah well, not all audiences are the same of course. This was a good crowd anyway and the fact that there were people I know everywhere in between was fun so I could concentrate a bit on them and doing a bit of dance for each of them. Fun!

But that eyesight of mine needs to be repaired asap!!! My specialist ordered special contact lenses for me so my vision can be FULLY repaired, yay, BUT I have been waiting for months because somehing went wrong with the supplyer *sigh*.
I hope they come in soon. If my eyes don't tollerate the lenses I need a cornea transplant (yes it is that bad), which will help a lot, but is a bit scary.

In the meantime there is always raks asaya for blind little ol' me :p

There are two more gigs coming up, so I have a deadline to fix the stupid looking down thing. Deadlines are good for me!
Good luck with your vision.
 

Amulya

Moderator
It might not apply, but is it possible that you are also using vision to help with a slight problem/underuse of another sense? Balance and proprioception (the muscles etc knowing where they are in relation to each other, how far they need to move and how much force is needed).

If you looked down less with a seated crowd, was that partly because they were easier to get a "fix" on your position?

Ear problems can affect balance: just a slight blockage might be enough to make you instinctively go for the most secure option.

Definitely true, if an ear blocks up for me I am a mess. I used to have that a lot when I first started teaching, man was it hard to concentrate when that happened :shok:

My eye specialist said something about the brain getting confused when two eyes have a big difference in eyesight. It certainly feels that way LOL!
 

Avariel

New member
My eye specialist said something about the brain getting confused when two eyes have a big difference in eyesight. It certainly feels that way LOL!
Yeah I've lost a contact before on stage and thus had one focused eye and one completely blurry eye. Talk about disorientation ;) I can only imagine how disconcerting it must be for you!

Looking at the tops of people's heads or the middle of their foreheads helps me a lot; it keeps me from staring off into space while looking like I'm still meeting the eyes of audience members.

Can I ask something? What do you look at when you practice by yourself with no stage or audience? Are you looking down then, too, or do you look at yourself in the mirror?
 

Amulya

Moderator
I have no mirrors, except in the studio downstairs that's shared with all the residents here. I should go there more often, but I feel quite uncomfortable being watched when practising. At home I tend to pretend there is an audience, since I know the space it is so much easier to keep my eyes up.
 
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