Let's talk about Stage Fright
Spring is springing here in New Mexico and I am so grateful for the sunshine and new things blooming!
Unfortunately, with all the craziness out there right now, we had to postpone our March tour in the East. But no worries! It looks like most of the shows will be rescheduled in August!
After each show and each student performance, we get the opportunity to meet some amazing people that we will remember forever. One of the questions I get asked the most is if I get nervous before I go on stage or if I have stage fright.
Truth be told, the answer is yes. I think it's just natural for someone who is naturally an introvert to have nerves before going on stage. Over the years (20 to be exact) the nerves are less. Weirdly, I never thought I would EVER be on stage or in front of people as my job. It's not something I dreamt of doing of wanted to be as a little girl.
When I first started as a spotlight operator, then a stagehand I would have nerves so bad that I would cry if I had to step on stage to fix a cable or pass someone a microphone.
It didn't get any better as I graduated to becoming a backup singer and dancer. Even in the first few years of Artrageous, I would get so nervous before every show that my heart would be pounding out of my chest. I have developed into the lead artist and emcee for Artrageous as well as singing a lead line in a song (Not my forte but I want to push myself in ever direction).
There are key things that helped me transition from being a nervous wreck before every show to being the calm cool cucumber that you see on stage now (*insert laugh crying emoji)
1. A Costume! When I created my costume I thought of what image I wanted to portray on stage. I tried to imagine what a non nervous Lauri would look like. I choose something that was royal in colours and something that made me taller than I am with a top hat and heels. I wanted to feel powerful in myself. I think it worked because one little sweetie at a show said to me "You look like Wonder Woman!"
2. My Son. Right before a show he saw me wringing my hands and saying "I'm so nervous" and he literally said to me - "Get over it! You get nervous every show and it's getting old." It made me stop and think... Why am I getting nervous before every show? I wanted to change in that moment just to prove I could and to show him that anything is possible if you change your outlook.
3. Taking me out of the equation. Once I put on the costume and the make up and do all hair and things - that's it. I'm no longer Lauri. No longer the shy person that doesn't like to talk and would rather read a book or draw in her bedroom than be in front of people. I have to take on the persona of Stage Lauri!
4. Finding my why. I changed my mind set. I'm not doing this for me... I'm not doing this because I have stars in my eyes and hope to one day be a famous painter or singer. I am doing this because my experience and my experiences may assist someone I meet along the way to reconnect with their love of performing or to even gain the confidence to step on a stage, audition for that part or just say hi to their neighbor. I am hoping that somehow what I do is a service to someone that sees an Artrageous show or a Student performance.
5. Know my cues. More than anything it helps to have all your cues, transitions, choreography, paintings learned so well that they are completely in muscle memory. Which means if I'm not functioning on all cylinders, my body can take over and I can look spontaneous while actually being very scripted. It also means I practice - a lot. I do things over and over the exact same way so that I build confidence that my body will know what to do in case my mind doesn't.
6. Breathing and ritual. Before every show I do an energy cleansing movement that was taught to me by someone who studies in sacred dance. It helps me connect with the audience and get grounded in my body. It helps me put the day behind me and be in the present moment so that I have more to offer. I have also recently started standing in Wonder Woman pose (hands on hips and chin tilted towards the sky - studies have shown that standing in this "power" posture helps gain confidence.) Check out this article on Power Poses https://www.inc.com/business-insider/amy-cuddy-the-poses-that-will-boost-your-confidence.html
In addition to standing in Wonder Woman pose I added Wim Hof breathing to help clear the mind and change the body chemistry. Check out this video on Wim Hof breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzCaZQqAs9I
This is a bit long winded of a newsletter than I've done in the past but I hope that any budding performer or introvert that wants to just gain a little more confidence finds it useful in some way.