Thursday, January 19, 2012
In the last month or so, I have been talking with a lot of people about performing - musicians, dancers, students, and other creative types. Why we perform, how it makes us feel, what qualifies as a good or satisfying performance, what leaves us wanting more personally, and how to get satisfied more consistently.And what I discovered is that those who felt the most consistent and satisfied about their performances had similar reasons for WHY they performed.
I think a lot of people get into performing for the wrong reasons. That doesn't mean they won't eventually come to the right reasons, but I have to wonder if a lot of stress and heartache could be saved if they started from the right spot. Or maybe it's all part of the learning process. What are the "wrong reasons" anyway? I would say anything that blocks the flow of energy between the performer and the audience, and doesn't foster truth growth.
Performing is about having a shared experience on multiple levels. It's about communication, opening up a dialogue between you and the audience - you give something, they give something back, and so it cycles from there. The amazing thing about performing is that it is a communal experience. For many of us, it's like church - there is something sacred, something energy-based about it, as close to you can get to a divine experience on the earthly plane. Time moves differently on stage, and there's a sense of transformation, of reaching an altered state of existence.
If you're only performing to boost your ego, it's only going to go so far, because self-esteem can't be fostered from an audience glow, it's has to start from inside of you, YOUR own confidence in YOU. Eventually, the audience will catch on, and leave you crashing hard. Attention-seeking is disrespectful to the audience and negates the communication experience for both parties.
We all have to start somewhere. Not every performance is going to be a mystical, magical experience - but you have to start with getting experience in the first place. It takes practice to learn how to communicate properly. As long as you have a willingness to acknowledge that, and the desire TO communicate and share, then you are on the right path. Consider when you're putting a piece together, what is it that you want to say with it? How does it make you feel? How do you want your audience to feel? If you take the time to consider these things, you're on the right path.