Playing violin and dancing

Posted by Miriam Gibb on July 24, 2018.
Filed under Learning

What, are you saying, is the relationship between playing violin and dancing? I am sure the first image of a violinist that comes to mind is a serious and focussed individual sitting amongst masses of violinists in an orchestra. True, however this is but one image.

Those of you that know me, know my two true passions. Of course, the violin but also, dancing. My parents were ribbon winning ballroom dancers. So, it was natural that I inherited the love for movement. I started with ballet and did that for many years. I then moved on to ballroom, the partner dance. From there I began an intense interest in Latin dances including salsa, bachata and meringue. I was so pleased to learn that my favourite dance, the cha cha, was also within the Latin repertoire. I was in heaven.

Back to the violin. You might be saying that a violinist is not a dancer. Well, I disagree. Think about fiddlers. They tend to stand up and move to the beat. What a lovely combination! They also seem to be having a wonderful time!

So, what does violin playing and dancing have in common? The most obvious is music! As I try to bring the violin out the classical genre and play many other genres including jazz and rock, I am moved to move! The music flows from my soul and my heart beats to the music. When I practice the violin, I stand up. Sometimes I find myself in the opposite side of the room from where I started. How did that happen? I was so lost in the music that my body carried me away. From time to time I try to catch myself moving around. How does it happen? When does it happen? It truly is a lovely partnership between my two passions.

My students always stand up when they come for a lesson unless we are training for orchestral pieces. I have asked them on several occasions to move while they play; to feel the beat in their heart, in their legs. It is a difficult thing to do at the beginning and especially if the student is new to the violin.

So, what is my point? Well, if a violinist can sway to the beat, not only will it help to feel the music but I believe that it will help to better understand the music. Most important of all, it will enhance the enjoyment of playing of the violin.

I encourage you, my fellow violinists, to play and dance. Move to the beat and savour the music. Have fun and let the music absorb your soul.

Check out Lindsey Stirling in this excellent video of violin playing and dancing.


  • tinkerer says:

    Practice, practice, and more practice. And still more practice, even the teacher practices. Those left hand fingers do a lot of “dancing” on the strings. Slow dancing like a rumba or fast dancing like a salsa or foxtrot! Yes, those two “left” feet must also practice, practice and still more practice. Did Mozart dance when playing the violin?

  • Tracey S says:

    My daughter has been taking violin lessons with Miriam for over two years now, and we could not be happier. Unfortunately, my daughter lost her motivation to continue playing when we were with another academy that lacked in encouragement and support. Miriam’s passion for the violin, and more importantly her ability to teach and instruct has now returned confidence and the love for the violin back to my daughter. A good teacher makes all the difference in the world. We cannot thank you enough!

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