**Choose 3 words that describe you as a dancer.
Explain your choices.
***Imagine that there are 2 more words that could describe you as a dancer, but you just haven’t reached them yet. What are they? Explain your choices.
(If you want to take it further, explore what you may need to do to get your dancing to those next 2 words.)
** ** ** **
This might seem obvious for a dancer if you just take it to mean “animated= moving.” But I am going to take it to mean “animated= having the qualities of a cartoon character.”
I have tried all my life to have a demeanor that commands more authority, but my body, face and general vibe that I give off, do not lend themselves to Gravitas. I can be graceful, I can be angry, I can be Head Bitch in Charge… but pretty much in the same way that a Disney Princess can be. And I’ve fought it, most of my life anyway.
Until I finally adopted Princess Augusta as my own. My personality is not that of a Princess, but when people look at me, when people see me perform, they just see the Ingenue. So I figured, why fight it? If the type fits (even if it is not a type I see myself) why not work it?
So I do.
I choose performances that allow me to be cheeky, or sassy, or over-serious to the point of parody. Any picture captured of me looks like a still out of a Cartoon. Rarely like something someone would paint, or build shrines to. More like something that someone would turn into a plastic action figure.
So many times I hear “You try so hard to be sexy, but you’re just too adorable.” And that’s not true, I play at sexy, so it comes out adorable. Because the ONLY serious thing I can do with my dance performances IS sexy, and that’s not always necessary.
So I work with what I have. I adopted a whole Stage Persona around it. And it has worked for five years. So far.
This could be seen as a bad thing, but I don’t perceive it that way. Shameless, literally means “without shame,” and so many dancers get on stage with shame in their performance. They have no confidence, they have not even started performing and they’re already doubting themselves, apologizing to the audience with their facial expression or body language. They show their shame in their aura.
Not me. I’ve pretty much learned that if I’m prepared (or even if I’m not) and I get up on a stage and ACT like I’m prepared, then there’s no reason to be ashamed of what I leave on that stage. And I try to leave everything I have, every single time.
I’ve had performances where literally nothing went right. Props fell apart or weren’t where they were supposed to, my wardrobe malfunctioned in every possible way, the sound was terrible and the stage wasn’t properly set- all at once, and I’ve made the most of it.
I’ve been completely unprepared, gotten up on stage, and owned that as well. And learned from it, and learned mostly not to repeat that.
I have no shame. I’ve done nothing to warrant the shame. I’ve transcended feeling like I’m distressed over a performance, even if I might actually be carrying a little distress as I walk out on stage. I’ve given up being humiliated by other people’s opinions of me, so I can get on the stage, perform, and own it in every aspect. And that’s actually one of my favourite achievements as a Performer.
Some people refuse to perform in a group. Or refuse to perform solo. Or refuse to perform indoors/outdoors whatever. I’ve gotten over that as a Performer. I’ve gotten over the “Oh, I’m too good for…” Or even “Oh, I’m not good enough for…” whatever. Last minute and two people need to drop out of the group performance? I’m the one standing back in the back trying to figure out how everyone can easily close the gaps so the audience never knows. Want me to do a solo, for anything? Fine, that’s what I do. Is it raining outside on the day I’m supposed to be dancing on grass? Well, as long as it isn’t actually physically unsafe… let’s get wet and grassy!
Did my music stop mid-song? Well, let’s talk the audience through the rest of my dance, they get to hear my thought process, and everything that happens in my head while they watch the rest of the dance play out. I’m good for it.
I’ve never let a stiff view of myself as a performer, or a rigid sense of what a performance is supposed to look like get in my way.
*** *** *** ***
I’m not the BEST technical dancer. I HAVE technique, but I want people to use that technique to describe me sometimes. I actually want to have someone tell me my leg lines are gorgeous or my leaps were high and powerful. I want someone to be inspired by my belly flutters or actually ask me to teach them to do something in particular because of the way I execute it.
I’m not there yet.
I need more class, I need to learn more, I need to practice more. I need to get things into my head, into my subconscious, into my muscle memory EVEN BETTER than they already are.
I’m insistent on working on it.
I WILL keep working on it until I get there.
Professional (as in, more often paid than not)
This is nearly solely in my own hands. I have to insist on it, I have to stop doing things for free. I have to seek out auditions and jobs doing this thing I’ve decided to do with myself.
I’m completely responsible for when and how I reach this. I need to work on it.