Thoughts & Observations

Marking It and Vulnerability

In the world of dance, there are two types of practice that are often applied in rehearsal: “marking” a piece and doing it “full out.”

“Marking” refers to moving about the rehearsal space, often doing approximations of the steps and arm movements, so that you can get a sense of where you are supposed to be and keep your memory of the choreography fresh without becoming too exhausted.

Doing something “full out” refers to doing all of the steps as they should be done – and as you would likely do them in performance.

Marking is substantially easier than doing something full out – and it serves its purpose of conserving your energy if you have a long day of rehearsal ahead.

But lots of dancers end up marking as much as they can – believing that they are getting away with it until a teacher or rehearsal director yells at them for not dancing full out.

And the challenge with marking is that it can become a habit. It can become so comfortable that when you are eventually supposed to do something full out, you hang back, often subconsciously still marking it a bit.

Most of us don’t need a teacher to tell us when we’re not doing it full out. We know in our gut.

There is – maybe often subtle at times – a distinct difference between the twinge you feel in your stomach when you know you are giving less than what you are capable of offering, and the twinge you feel when you’re making making yourself vulnerable by putting everything you’ve got out there.

Mark it when you have to, but go for the twinge of full out vulnerability whenever you can.