Sophia Minx here, taking you under my wing, and into my mind for this week’s article – Performing for YOU, with 11 lessons to help make that happen.
As a seasoned performer, who has participated in over a hundred on-stage events, I have learned many lessons on my journey; not only as a pole dancer and competitor, but as an actress, singer, public speaker, burlesque-r, stripper, and more. I’ve compiled what I’ve learned into 11 simple lessons for anyone who is getting ready for their performance as a first timer, or a seasoned vet. These lessons are catered to you, the pole dancing community, but will be helpful in any performance arena you enter!
LESSON 1: HAVE FUN
Undoubtedly the most important rule. Always remember this. Your performance will thrive when you are loving every moment of it, and the audience will recognize that love shining through every movement on stage. If you’re having fun, they’re having fun.
LESSON 2: TREAT YO’SELF
Whatever that may be, treat yourself with little things to make you feel your best on performance day. Do you like roses? Get yourself a bouquet. Don’t want to worry about stage makeup? Have a professional do it for you (and yes it will be wayyy more makeup than you normally wear, but it’s all about the drama.) Whatever the treat is, you’ve worked hard to get here, so treat yo’self!
LESSON 3: DON’T LET A MISTAKE RUFFLE YOUR FEATHERS
IT’S OKAY! As humans, we are prone to mistakes, and that is a part of life. Get back up, remain confident, and power through it like it was all a part of the show. Your ability to recover from a mistake shows more character and showmanship than the mistake itself. Also, refer to Lesson 1.
LESSON 4: TRUST YOURSELF
Originality and style are huge components of performing. People are entertained when they see something they’ve never seen before, and lucky for you, your unique style is that “something.” We all know what the standard moves look like, but we don’t know what personal flare you’re going to bring to it. Keep that in mind and trust yourself.
LESSON 5: GET THAT OUTFIT RIGHT
When you’re performing, you do not want to worry about discomfort or a wardrobe malfunction. We all saw how that outshined Janet and JT at the Super Bowl. Practice with the outfit (and shoes, if applicable) you choose, and make sure it fits your routine and you can comfortably wear it through the whole performance. Your only focus on stage should be your routine!
LESSON 6: GET THAT MUSIC RIGHT
We live in a wonderful era where song editing is more accessible than ever. If you find a song you like, and it’s just a little too long, or you wish this one part lasted a bit longer, guess what – you can edit it JUST for you. Having a song that is altered perfectly to your style and skill will make your performance stronger.
LESSON 7: YOUR PERFORMANCE IS A PRESENT
In the simplest terms, to perform is to present a form of entertainment to an audience. Your routine and style of entertainment is the present. Sharing your gifts with the world is the best present imaginable; it reflects the consideration, thoughtfulness, and talent used to create the “present” you are, well, presenting.
LESSON 8: BE YOUR BEST
Remember that it is not about being THE best, it’s about being YOUR best. You’ll never know what others are bringing to their performance, so use your time wisely and focus on yourself. Focus on being the best you can be, and let others inspire you with their unique style and skill.
LESSON 9: BE VULNERABLE
Performing is a direct expression of who you are – sometimes it represents you, or your fabulous alter ego. It can be scary to open up and share your personal creativity to the world because we worry about – dundundun – being judged. But here’s the thing, when the audience sees your heart and soul poured out on stage, they will appreciate your vulnerability, and relate to it. This makes a stronger performance. Also, refer to Lesson 1.
LESSON 10: BEFRIEND THE BUTTERFLIES
Sure, it gets easier, but the butterflies will always be with you to some extent. However, all that means is that you really care about what you’re doing. Let the butterflies fuel you – the adrenaline you’re experiencing will give you an extra boost. Make friends with the butterflies and they will help you!
LESSON 11: GIVE A JOB TO YOUR MONKEY MIND
Your monkey mind is the part of your mind that becomes overwhelmed with trivial questions and thoughts that simply muddle your mind. The best job for your monkey mind? Tell it to BREATHE. Breathe deep into your belly, filling it up, and release the breath by pulling the belly in, and pushing it out. Focusing on your breath will calm your body and mind, helping you maintain clarity in the moment, rather than feeling fuzzy and “in your head.”
Whether you are showcasing for a small crowd or competing in a nation-wide championship, keep these lessons with you.
Performing can be intimidating for first-timers, but worry not, because the feeling of accomplishment afterward is unparalleled. It’s fun and scary and exciting to do something out of your comfort zone. It reminds us that we’re human, and that life is full of experiences that challenge us. Accept the challenge and take that call to action in your hero/ine’s journey! You won’t be the same afterward, you’ll be better.