Last night was opening night and the much-deserved festive gala event for Take Dance’s season at Dance Theatre Workshop. L’Cheim! I’m a sucker for a toast whenever possible! To be entirely honest, I’m typing this now in the slight haziness of the celebratory vodka-sodas I thoroughly enjoyed last evening. I was entirely grateful to have friends and colleagues in the audience – some of whom have seen me dance countless times and others for the first time. Thank you all!
The existence of certain people in the audience, be it the New York Times or loved ones, plays a factor in the pre-show excitement. The sense of eyes watching brings forth an accountability, making this ephemeral art form much more defined. This accountability is part of what makes performances such a heightened experience distinctive from the studio. Following in similar vein to the mindset I had with pervious performances, maintaining a sense of calm and quietness of thought enables a more liberated stage experience. The thoughts of so-and-so watching me cannot enter my mind because that is the exact moment I will detract from the dance and perform less than desirably, or put more simply “flub up.” Focusing on the task at hand, nothing more, nothing less, has granted me a sense of ease. My over-zealous self relaxes with the momentous thought, “all I need to do right now is this.” I’m no longer concerned with the exhaustion or what is going to happen next in the dance. This present thought process enables smart decision-making, conscious choices in the midst of movement; to be so aware that in the middle of a jump I can choose to dynamically alter the timing of the landing or have enough gusto to crank out another pirouette because I’ve recognized my weight is to far back. Instead of taking note of these desires in hindsight, it’s thrilling to recognize it immediately and make a choice to better it instantaneously. The idea of having a constant choice while dancing also feels liberating because of the sense of control it grants me over the unpredictability of live-performance.
Don’t get me wrong, on rare occasions projective thoughts muddle my Zen presence. What I’m not the Budda? Crap… Nearing the end of a dance feels different than just starting it. In the beginning there is the desire for a well-executed, invested performance. Nearing the end of a dance there becomes a sense of abandon. The hardest parts are over. Steps prior went well. This freedom and comfort needs to be felt from the start. Instead of being uncertain of how future steps will go, embracing the uncertainty and finding excitement enables this abandonment. Complete abandon is what I value out of performances – most importantly abandon of self, which subsequently manifests physically allowing for languid, luscious, full-bodied expression. Ahhhh, sounds fantastic. Well off to the theatre again for round two, getting another crack at a super-conscious and more importantly fun performance!