Tuesday 8 January 2013

Confidence and Dancing...

I'm over at the wonderfully named Hipwaders vs Heels, talking about drawing confidence from your characters and the joy of dancing. Have I mentioned before that I love dancing?! Come see!!

19th January, edited to add:

Drawing confidence from your characters…
I know – bizarre, right? How do you find confidence within your characters that you can use? Well, today I attended a 5 Rhythms Dance workshop. It entails dancing for two hours in a big hall with other people. A DJ assesses the mood of the crowd and plays the music according to the dancing. For example, there was quite a lot of stringed music; cellos, violins and the like, which resulted in lots of stretching, reaching to the stars and okay I’ll say it, making like trees J.
But there was (inevitably as it was two hours!) a stage where I started to lose interest and it was then that Pippa popped into my head. Pippa is my heroine in Romancing the Seas. She left London and a good job to become head chef aboard a cruise ship sailing around New Zealand. Sounds fun right? Until she discovers she’s sharing a cabin with her new, deeply attractive boss, Jonathon. Not so much fun, as fabulous (in my opinion of course, not hers J )
Anyway, she attends a Maori night ashore at Whangara (where they filmed Whalerider, just in case any of you know it) and, without knowing quite how or why, dances.
As she caught a wreath of smoke in her gaze, she followed it up into the indigo night sky, and her eyes widened yet again at the sight of so many stars. The Southern Cross emblazoned the night sky, sparkling like diamonds on a velvety indigo background, and the Milky Way showered the night sky in swathe after swathe of sprinkled stars. She leant back on her elbows to watch the stars dance, holding her face up, smelling the briny air as the sea breeze gently blew over her.
But the beat of the drum didn’t allow her to disappear into her thoughts, pulling her back instead to the here and now. Maori dancers encircled their group, whooping and calling to each other in their strange sounding dialect. How did Fiona describe them? Strong, capable, handsome. She sure had that one right. They came closer. One of them, strange and fierce looking with dark makeup streaking his face, threw out a hand and pulled her up to dance. Pippa wanted to yank herself out of his grasp, but he wouldn’t let her go without a struggle. Her heart in her mouth, she gave herself up to the music.
A celebratory dance, it was one performed throughout the centuries when the hunters returned victorious. In the midst of all the swirling, bowing, and whooping, Pippa’s hair freed itself from the constricting tie and she shook her head in sheer light-headiness. The beat of her heart matched the beat of the drums. She followed her partner and swooped down to the earth, swung back to the sky, flung her arms open toward the sea, and again. The repetition made it into one fluid motion down, back, open. Time stood still while Pippa’s veins flooded with dissolved stardust, bringing exhilaration coursing through her. The primal movement came naturally to her and she lost herself.
Her eyes opened of their own accord to fall onto a single standing shadow. The fire leapt higher, and a face was etched in light for a flickering second, showing tawny eyes watching her steadily with a dark look of desire. Pippa felt a lightning shaft of energy run through her body — Jonathon was watching — and she danced with revamped energy, her body moving for him, and him only. The beat of the drums found an answer in the throbbing in her pelvis, a liquid, warm pulsing. Her eyes closed, and her head filled with shadows and light and longing. The drums went faster, faster still, until the moon, stars, fire, light merged into a swirling spinning top, round and round. A final loud beat and the drums fell silent, allowing the dancers to fall, spent, onto the ground.
Okay so I didn’t fall spent to the ground. But I did perform the dance and yes my hair came loose from my hair tie, very annoying and no, I didn’t open my eyes to find tawny eyes watching me with a deep look of desire (thankfully!). And like Pippa, I had a lot of fun. It was a real eye opener to discover that not only do you give your characters confidence, you also gain confidence from them J.

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