Don’t Think, Just Watch: Phil Chan on How to Watch Dance

As a choreographer, I’ve certainly considered what my audience will take away from my work. Watching dance can be a challenge, even for other dancers; sometimes, the more you know about dance and it’s history, the more you might be inclined to read into what you see. But watching dance can also be liberating and exhilarating, and the most captivating performances are often the ones we can’t explain.

So, to help audiences approach their dance concert experiences with confidence, Phil Chan (for the Huffington Post) asked many prominent figures from the dance world to give a one sentence piece of advice on how to watch dance. The results were quite varied: Wendy Perron suggested “I don’t think you should ‘look for’ anything, but you should notice whether it makes you feel awake,” while Melissa Sandvig responded with her own strategy, saying “When I watch dance I look for the athleticism of the dancer as well as what story or emotion they’re trying to portray or make the audience feel.” Read through the rest of the quotes here; hopefully they’ll shed some new light on your next viewing experience! 

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