Discordia Arts Journal #4: Self critique and analysis.

Watch a video of yourself dancing (if you don’t have a performance video, use your camera or phone to tape a quick improv and use that).

Critique yourself. Be honest, but be kind. Imagine that the person on the video is another dancer who has asked you for feedback but is not you.


I Learned My Lesson About “Winging It” with this one.



I actually like this routine, but I do not like this performance. And, as usual, I LOATHE the actual video recording. I cannot stand most of the recordings that happen of my performances. I never feel they show me in the best light, as they are usually shaky or blurry and sometimes I wonder why bother? But I chose this particular video because I like this routine, but not this performance.


This was the first time I’d performed this routine. I wanted to use this song for a very long time, and I somehow figured that I could theme it Star Wars to fit the theme of a performance that I was asked to do. So I did, and Slave Leia/Bill Whithers were combined for probably the first time.
I like the combination, but don’t feel compelled to ONLY perform this routine as Slave Leia. It is easily stripped of the character and could be performed with any costume. I intend to do that in the future for it.
I was asked to perform with short notice and therefore came up with something to perform kinda slapdash. I worked on the choreography in my head, but did not have enough time to seek out a rehearsal space to actually PERFORM the routine for rehearsal. I usually have this problem when I’m asked to perform outside of my troupe, as with the troupe we typically have several rehearsals in the performance space prior to the night of the show.


I’d never seen this set up of the stage before I walked in, a few hours before performance time. I was not able to walk the stage or perform the routine on the stage before I was expected to perform. I wanted to incorporate the set pieces into the routine, which I should not have done (being that I had no way to try it) so I took my already shaky choreography and tried to mold it to the set pieces AS I was performing. This makes me look timid and shaky, as opposed to the confidence I usually have (or fake) on stage while performing.


The costume, like the rest of the performance, was put together quickly and mostly untested in the routine.  I was working with the way I IMAGINED the costume would work and not with how it actually ended up working. I did not put enough time into trying out the different pieces and ensuring that I could work with them in my choreography.


I see the potential in this routine. I have since performed it again, still as Slave Leia, and I enjoyed the performance that time. I took this recording, watched the choreography and refined it further. I was able to rehearse in a good space before performance night and to walk the stage/mark my performance on stage for the night of the show. I like that I incorporate all of the pieces of the costume well, even in this shaky performance. I worked on that for the repeat. I will continue to work on it in the future.
I like the slight incorporation of Belly Dance into the choreography, and tried to play that up when I performed it again. I like the mixture of Belly Dance and Burlesque in general, since they are both sensual performance styles sometimes. If I were to have a third repeat of this performance I would work even more to combine the two.


As much as Burlesque is an audience participation performance, I don’t actually like my audience interaction in this Routine. I think it ruins the vulnerability of the “Use Me” aspect of the music, and though I view Princess Leia as a strong figure, I would like to have a little more mystery and less confrontation in the overall character coming from stage.

To sum all of this up:

-My MAJOR issue with this performance, is that it was mostly unplanned and not even well-improvised. I have NO intention of doing that again, ever.
-I like the costume, and the choreography, with LOTS of upgrading, refinement and rehearsal.
-I’m not a fan of my character projection from stage, but that is an Artistic choice I made and I stand by it at the time, but I would definitely change it for future performances of this routine.
-I AM a fan of the combination of the song and Slave Leia. I think it is an out of the box musical choice where there are PLENTY of dogged, tired choices to be made.
-I also DEFINTIELY love the idea of repeating the song choice/choreography without the character costuming, because that means I have created a diverse, and multi-use routine.

So I’m not thrilled with this particular recording and/or this particular instance of this performance, but I do applaud myself for my initial idea, and I see lots of potential for improvement and changes in the future.


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