Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dr. BurlyQ, or "How Burlesque Renewed My Love for Being Onstage"

Today's post is going to be a little more serious.

I know, I know.  You guys come here for my hilarity and an abundance of pink.  But I've been feeling a little blue lately.  And of course my type-A instincts won't let me just accept emotions right away.  I have to reflect and journal and process and 7 Habits myself until I accept and understand.

In summary:  I'm very lucky to have a day job that pays me money and allows me a certain amount of control over how I spend my time in the office, but until I find myself in a position where my only work is creative work, where my art is my "day" job, there is lingering sadness and dissatisfaction in my life.

Not the best feeling in the world, but still a manageable and common one.

But then I had a not-too good show on Friday night.

I look happy, but that's because I'm surrounded by amazing performers.  And also I did a shot after I finished my solo.
I had my BF and BFFs in the audience, so I got real nervous and totally wigged myself out.  None of my costumes were functioning properly, I felt like my face was doing REALLY WEIRD things, I kept fucking up choreo...  The list goes on and on!

On top of this, there were just enough little things piling up to push me into complete CW bordering-on-hilarious sadness.


But then something magical happened!
You're a wizard, Nicole.

No, unfortunately, I'm not a wizard.

But I did realize that it is a magical thing to be so deeply affected by a performance that I did not like.

See, I've been acting for so long that I've amassed an arsenal of tricks to deal with (read: ignore) all the feels. Show goes well?  Cool.  Time to hit the bar.  Doesn't go well?  C'est la vie!  Time to hit the bar.

While it defends me from artistic heartache, it also keeps me locked away from risk.  I've built a fortress to withstand even the most diligent siege.  I didn't realize I was also building a prison.


But burlesque forced me out of my castle.

I can't rely on any of my old tricks.  Why?  Well....

  1. I can't hide behind words.  When you start performing young, you're coached on intonation.  And that sticks!  It's hard to break out of the "how the lines are supposed to sound" mold.  Which, frankly, can get you pretty far.  But burlesque is physical performance, and so any hiccups or fuckups are immediately apparent.  At least to me.
  2. I can't hide behind other performers.  It's all me, onstage, by myself, for 3-5 minutes.
  3. It's all of me.  I chose the song, I choreographed the music, I designed/chose/made the costume, I rehearsed it myself, I star in it.  So if anything is wrong or imperfect, it's my fault.
  4. It's literally all of me.  I get (almost) naked, the most viscerally vulnerable state of all.
It kinda sounds risky and horrible.  But here's the thing.  I fucking love it.  It's hard when it fails, but when it works it's such a rush.  And developing numbers is so much fun.  It's challenging, it's sweaty, it's stimulating.

It's everything the creative process should be.

Now that I've left my fortress/castle/metaphor, I don't want to go back.  I want every onstage experience to be that much risk--the payoff will be much greater.

Though that might mean there are more "serious" blog entries ;)

1 comment:

  1. this is awesome. I'm glad you found burlesque to help you with your feels on stage.I'm probably still going to feel like Creepy McCreeperson watching it, but I'm glad you're really enjoying the risk taking and art making when your performing it.