Playing Characters

By Brian Henninger

Often times during our growth and training as dancers we get so focused on the mechanics of dance ( body alignment, placement, lines, coordination, musicality etc.) that we neglect to focus on and become good at playing different characters. Character and intention is what gives your performance substance. Without them our performance is only steps and we miss out on our opportunity to connect with our audience on a real human level. Casting directors, agents, choreographers, and producers are all HUMAN first, so if you can affect them emotionally in some way with your dancing you have a better chance at being remembered, and ultimately being HIRED.

A pitfall many dancers fall into is getting used to ONLY playing one or two different characters.  If you know you’re amazing at playing the character of the hood girl with your hat down low, maybe you need to work on playing the woman in heels at a beyonce audition?  If you know your incredible at being the strong male commercial dancer in the style of justin timberlake, maybe you need to work on being able to play the androgenous some what feminine style of lady gaga.

The more versatile you are, the more you can be hired. so don’t limit yourself! Get in an acting class, study actors, but most importantly get connected to your life experiences both good and bad, because they can have an incredible effect on your performance.

Check out this video for info on ways you can be better at playing characters!

For more info check out

Cover photo via Tattoo Canyon

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