Be a Duck!

“Be a duck!” I remember calling out in class one day a few years ago. My kids were bewildered. When I’m in class teaching a step to my kids, goofy things often come out of my mouth! Maybe it’s just the way I think of movement after being a dancer and teacher for most of my life. My mind creates all kinds of stories, visual images and metaphors while explaining.

I happened to be teaching a step in which the torso and core needed to be strong and stable while the arms and legs were engaged in large movements. The image that popped into my mind at that moment was a duck gliding over the water gracefully, all the while paddling furiously underneath. Hence, the spontaneous outburst!

Be a duck has now become a phrase the kids often bring up themselves! They understand what it means for them. As dancers we need to work hard to make our movements look effortless. But our audiences don’t want to experience that struggle, they want to enjoy the resultant grace and flow.

Needless to say, that step has now known in class as the “Be a duck” step! Each of the kids does this step beautifully. As a teacher, I am happy that this visual image got results. And watching ducks glide across the water has never been the same!



Anuradha Naimpally