I think I figured something out this weekend. I need to own a theater. Not literally… talk about a money-losing proposition! No, what I mean is I need to feel like a theater is mine before I can feel comfortable performing in it.
We had dress rehearsal Friday followed by more rehearsal Saturday then shows Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. But I never set foot in the seating area until Sunday afternoon for warm-up (I wish I had a photo of all of us scattered throughout the theater doing barre holding onto the edge of the stage, seat backs, or handrails… it was a sweet moment). Once I was out there and working in the audience area the theater became mine. The audience members were now going to be coming in to my territory. Made me feel like less of a zoo attraction and the nerves were markedly less in that second show. Made me wish I’d made it to the theater in time for the pre-show warm-up on Saturday, probably would’ve made that show go better.
Purely psychological. But when I think back to past shows I’ve always spent a lot of time in the seating area during dress rehearsals and such and I find that makes me much more comfortable when it comes time to perform. Hard to explain. But it seems that if I feel disconnected from the space the audience occupies there is some fear of the unknown that kicks in. I wonder if performers who tour feel the same way. That it’s not enough just to get familiar with the stage, that they need to feel familiar with the entire theater. Or maybe that’s just my own neurosis.
Anyway… performances were fair overall. I don’t think any one of us felt that we nailed either show and we had some weird audio issues on Sunday. The stage was also teeny-tiny and it was unnerving being so close to my fellow dancers. There were a few close calls. Good thing we threw some smaller children into the last piece. One can do no wrong when the final impression is of kids prancing around dressed as lambs. Haha.
I also found the Saturday show extra challenging because I had students/friends from the company in the audience. Even though I’m not sure they could even pick me out in the beginning piece I felt like all eyes were on me and expecting perfection. Of course, if all eyes were on me then they wouldn’t have noticed if I screwed up because they wouldn’t have seen the other dancers to compare me to! Ha! Wish I’d thought of that then! But alas… too soon old, too late smart.
In general, though, good to do a different kind of performance from what I’ve been doing. Looking forward to doing more! 🙂