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GETTING COMFY WITH THE STAGE - Part 4 & 5 (Take 2)

Posted on June 22, 2013 at 12:50 AM

As I suspected, Take 2 was different than Take 1! Good thing I took notes on both days, huh?


 

Parts 4 & 5 (Take 2) - Body language creates a sense of comfort

and

Performing is to share a piece of the soul


Today, I again asked the question, "What're some body language things that make someone look comfortable?"

  • Shoulders back and broad
  • Standing still
  • Confident walk with purpose
  • Posture
  • Talking to the audience, not at the stand
  • Smile!
  • Open face
I then asked, "What're some body language things that make someone look uncomfortable?"
  • Hunched over and scared
  • Tension
  • Robotic
  • Knees locked
  • Hiding behind the stand
  • Jittery hands
  • Shaky breath
  • Messing with hair
  • Looking scared
Do these kids get it or what?? True, just because you know it, doesn't mean you can implement it, but knowing is half the battle, right? Well, I'll get to why I think my stage class kids are totally the best in a second.


Like yesterday, I took each student out of the room and gave them a specific scenario, emotion or character to portray. I purposely gave each person either a huge challenge based on what I perceive in their personality or something that they could directly connect to a piece I know they're working on. For example, one student competed on the Faure Fantasie this week (and she did a lovely job, by the way...). To me, the beginning of this piece is pure heartbreak and painful loss. So, to help her find that zone, I told her the scenario: the love of your life has just died suddenly and horrifically and you will never fall in love again (I know... such a happy thought...). I knew this would be a challenge for her since I perceived her as being pretty shy. However, as soon as she entered the room, her face was bright red and she seemed on the verge of tears. 


Moreover, the entire room was riveted in silence as we watched her.


Another student had barely said a word all week during the class, so I gave her "frustration". She came stomping in speaking louder than I thought she could - she even yelled! Another student was instructed to fall in love with another student (she about jumped in someone's lap!), one showed the height of anger (pointed angrily at someone and began yelling at them), one the epitome of giddyness (jumping up and down with glee that filled her entire body) and one scared the entire room with his sense of evil and power ("I am the monster under your bed. I am everywhere. I will never go away." All while standing uncomfortably over someone else).


Reading that last paragraph, I really need to come up with happier things for my students to attempt. SORRY, KIDS!! Hilary got a little dark today!!


Anyway, needless to say.... I was simply floored by what they did. They went for it! They were clear! They were 100%! And I couldn't have been prouder.


Aaaaand then we went to my second activity of the day - sharing a piece of the soul.


As I said yesterday, you should really not ask teenagers to do something so difficult. Today, three of them started off refusing to do it. Two of those three did a variation on my request by explaining why they couldn't bring themselves to do it and that was more than fine for me. In fact, the student who didn't do it all - well, that was just fine, too! I mean, I get it. There's only so much I can ask of them and I had already got them close to tears, jumping up and down, and sometimes screaming. Asking them to share something that was real, was just too much. 


That being said, the students who did go for it, completely floored me with their vulnerability and honesty. For that matter, the student who didn't do it had the same reaction on me and she didn't have to say a darn word. I could see it in her eyes, and if there was a piece of music that required that level of vulnerability of her at that moment, she would've had the audience in the palm of her hand. 


What I saw today, proved to me that all of these students have it in them to be incredible performers. They have the ability to go 100%. They can allow themselves to be vulnerable and let the audience in. 


They can do this.


After everyone spoke, I asked for a big group hug (holy crap did I need it... not to mention some of them!) and I told them how proud I am of them. I can't say it enough. I want to tell them that I'm proud of them for the rest of the month/summer/year! 


If some of you Floot Fire stage presence participants are reading this, I hope you will always hear my annoying voice in the back of your head saying five things to you before you perform:

1. Stage Voice
2. Stay in the Moment
3. Go to Extremes
4. Share Your Soul 

And lastly:
5. I am just so proud of you


Thank you for making this a week I won't forget. I hope you will all take what I've said and apply it to all you do in front of an audience.

Categories: Stage Presence, Aware, Genuine

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