Everyone in your audience knows what it is like to be human; to feel love, betrayal, hope, sadness, and excitement. Therefore, our believability as dancers comes from being as natural as possible. Here are some tips on how to naturally portray emotion when you are dancing:
1. Use The Mirror For Your Face. Not Just Your Body.
Your face is doing choreography just as much as your body is. Put as much effort into deciding what your face is expressing when you learn and memorize choreography. Connect facial expressions to parts of the choreography. Be specific. Be consistant.
2. You 'Bout to Catch These Hands!
A tell-tale sign that someone is not fully in character is their hands. Dancers have a tendancy to pull at their clothes or twitch their fingers during "acting scenes" in dance performances. They are uncomfortable with expressing without dancing. Make sure the audience see your hands aligning with the emotion you're portraying.
3. "Big" Is Not The Same As "Excessive".
You have to be larger than normal life when performing (unless you are filming a video), but excessive comes off as unrealistic. The best way to make sure you are being "big" AND realistic is to start off with the emotion. Once you've nailed down what you want, decide how you want to express it - not in a "dancy" way but in a way that is natural to you. Finally, scale up those actions to the size they needs to be. The key is that the emotion needs to start the movement, not the other way around.
Live In Motion,