Monday, November 14, 2011

Own it! When Things Don't Go the Way You Planned

Once I was supposed to perform a group flamenco piece at the Orange County Fair. I had several other shows that summer and couldn't come up with the money for a flamenco costume, so I rented from another dancer who was the same size as me. Because I was renting the costume, we decided that the costume's owner would bring it to the show. Unfortunately, she thought I was bringing it. So, here we are at the show, I'm supposed to be on stage in an hour, and I have no costume to wear!
Luckily, we had ten other dancers who were performing a gypsy fusion bellydance piece just before our flamenco piece. With their help, I was able to borrow a skirt from one of the dancers and use a camisole and jacket from my practice gear and assemble a costume. In the end, no one even noticed I was wearing something different.

One of the reasons no one noticed was that I owned my costume. Even though I was wearing something vastly different than the other two girls I was dancing with, I didn't hide in the back or shrink away from the spotlight.

When you're on stage, it's important to own your stage, no matter what. When you own your stage, you can do no wrong. If you're in a group choreography and turn the wrong way or perform the wrong part, keep a smile on your face and a confident stance, and your audience will believe that everything happened the way it was supposed to.

Owning it helps in improvisational situations, too. If you're doing a group improv, sometimes things don't happen the way you planned. I've had my muscle memory kick in at the wrong time, resulting in my cuing a move I didn't mean to cue. Rather than derail the train I was leading, I followed through with the move and changed it at the first opportunity. The girls behind me didn't notice anything was wrong, nor did the audience.

Whatever you do on stage, do it with confidence. Strut your stuff with your head held high, and tell everyone you meant to do that.

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