Over the years I have learned that it is not enough to memorize steps, have perfect formations, and make sure all your angles are correct. Although it is of utmost importance to spend years honing your skills and making sure your technique is clean and strong, all the impeccable technique is still not enough if you do not deliver yourself in your performance. To me, delivering yourself means that you should reach down deep inside, pull out your most raw sorrow, anger, joy, love, gratitude, fear, elation, EMOTION, and channel it. You must embody that emotion and let the emotion guide you in your dance. You must engage with it, letting the feeling become a partner.
In Flamenco dance, this is especially important. Most of the time we are soloists, doing 10 to 15-minute long numbers that tell a story, complete with a trajectory, a climax, and a resolution. Imagine how lackluster a solo of this length would be, if the dancer danced the entire number only in their head, completely focused only on technical execution and not on any sense of connection. There should be a decision to connect--with the audience, with the musicians, with our fellow dancers, and with our deepest self. Once you're onstage, you have to give yourself over to that connection and answer a question: who are you? This is point of it all. This is what the audience wants to know.
When you let yourself go and "dive fully" into the dance, this question starts to get answered, both for the audience and for yourself. There is a complete catharsis that comes when you've abandoned your ego, the mind full of planning and "shoulds and you let your true self speak through the dance. You know when the catharsis has happened. You know when you're both exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. There is a deep joy, a sense of knowing. You often get that catharsis mirrored to you by audience members, through tears, through them relaying to you what they thought your story was. It may not be what you thought to express before you got started, but once you hear it, you think, "yes". There is a universal truth that was delivered.
This complete surrender when you dance, is what makes people fall in love with the art form. I believe this is true for any art form as well as in life. People are drawn to the universal truths they see reflected in each other. After the years of necessary study and rehearsal, when it's time to perform, please do the world and your art a favor and just let us see the real you. You should be center-stage, not on the perimeter, dancing around the ego's idea of what it "should" look like.
Below is one of my favorite videos of Juana Amaya, "diving in fully". Enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think.