Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Sanna - staying focused

I think all this performing experience is really good for me. I am finding out a lot about myself and how to best prepare for and perform a piece. I am noticing which foods sit best in my stomach and give me energy for the show, what I need to do in a warm-up class in order to prepare myself for a show, how to go over things in my mind so I feel prepared to perform, and how to focus my mind. Last week we performed a piece we had only finished the day before and barely rehearsed. It was obviously going to be a mess, and on top of our being under-rehearsed, the stage was tiny, which made spacing even more difficult. But we pulled together and composed ourselves as well as we could. I went over the steps in my head a few times and talked about the order of the show and when/where quick changes occurred to make sure we knew what we had to do before the show. There were actually two performances in one day. The first was quite messy, but I felt I had rehearsed the movements enough in my mind that I was prepared as I could have been, even if I was dodging scenery, wings, and other people when dancing full-out on the stage made it seem even smaller than before.

I also found it quite helpful to go through the steps in my head, applying any corrections I get during class or rehearsals. Not only is it important to take corrections and really work on things to be a better dancer, but when I know specific things like this to think about while I am dancing, my mind is less likely to wander at all, let alone to those negative thoughts that psych me out and result in mistakes.

If my mind does wander, I try to shake it off, too, like you mentioned. I do find it hard once the thought is in my head to stop it, so it is usually better not to let my mind go there at all.

I am having a great time with lots of performing and exploring and making new friends and all of this! It's hard and sometimes sad to think about my family getting ready for Thanksgiving back home, and all my friends who will be visiting during the holidays. It will also be the first time ever I will not see my friends and family on New Year's, which will be sad, but I know I will see them eventually and luckily modern technology allows us to keep in touch pretty well. I really am making great friends here, though, so being away during the holidays could be much, much, worse. We all knew going into this career there would be sacrifices...


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