Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Sanna - Performances

It's funny, I was just discussing with a friend what I liked about dancing here, and a lot had to do with performance experience. I think I have grown a lot this year when it comes to performing, since there is so much.

First of all, I really know what I need to do to warm up and prepare myself for a show now. I do class as full out and close to normal as possible. I treat it like any other day, because for me it is more important to get warm and feel normal than to save my energy or something for the show. I always have enough energy. Then after class I know I need to stay warm with the right warm ups and the most important things I need to stretch or re-warm up before the show. For example, I always stretch my frog and splits as a priority.

I am also getting better and knowing when and how to do my hair and makeup so I am not stressed for time before the show. Usually with school shows there is plenty of time, but here we are constantly touring different places with different dressing rooms and not always a lot of time.

After this it's just important to relax and talk to others if you want, but also know how to block people out if you feel you need to focus. Depending on the piece, I usually like to at least think through all the choreography in my head, and often practice things on stage before the show. If we don't do spacing together, I like to see where I will dance, so there are no surprises on stage. Things like this make me feel more comfortable when I am performing.

When the curtain actually goes up, I either try to distract myself from nerves back stage with whatever, if it is a piece where I need a lot of character more than technique, or I really focus on what's going on and what I'm about to dance if it's something technically demanding. When I am dancing I try to think of something pleasant and simple in the back of my mind, so I can let my muscle memory perform the steps without my mind wandering too much. I try to practice this kind of thinking even in the studio rehearsals. I try to picture what the stage might be like and pretend each rehearsal is a show, so I can dance just like I do in the studio.

Most of these things really seem like common sense, but at least for me it took experience to really apply a lot of simple ideas. Just dancing like you do in the studio on stage sounds simple but takes a lot of mind power.


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