There are those in our sparkle filled lives we don’t always publicly thank. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about all the wonderful burlesque partners that we have in this community, and to them I want to say an often overlooked thank you!
This past week I have traveled from San Diego to New York City to Toronto performing and competing. It was a rewarding and exhausting week. I have to admit that I was apprehensive about the act I competed with last night.
I have traveled, performed, and competed with Soul of a Man. What I have realized was that when it wasn’t accepted or judged how I would have hoped, then the love that I had while originally creating the act started to diminish. I would doubt myself before ever hitting the stage. I would harshly compare my slow sultry number against a high energy crowd pleaser that was more audibly enjoyed. Little by little, my confidence in whether or not I should even perform my act started to fade.
But call it the energy of the city, or a new attitude in performing and loving what I do, or even a little more time spent getting grounded for the show so I could be present with the audience, last night I stepped up on that stage and felt fabulous while performing that number. It was electric, and although not a loud crowd pleaser (slower acts that focus on glamour rarely are) I loved every second of it. I realized that I wasn’t watching the show backstage and judging my act against the others. I wasn’t trying to figure out if my technique would come off more polished or graceful. Instead, before I hit the stage, I set an intention directed for the audience. I wanted to transport them away from their troubles and everyday life, even if only for 4 minutes. I wanted to entertain them and show them a little extra love that they may have not gotten that day. And just like that, doing my act was no longer about me.
When I stepped off the stage, I was overflowing with love for an act that just days before I considered changing entirely to better suit what I thought would be more expected. I no longer cared about expectations or judging criteria. I realized, after walking through the crowd and being stopped several times by audience members who enjoyed my act, that the reason I perform isn’t for the titles or the competitions, but because I want to entertain a crowd and share my vision of beauty and glamour. I want to create a special moment that they can take away with them, and if that is my focus, then the other noise won’t matter when it comes to how you perceive your own art.
There are various factors that go into award winning acts and even acceptance letters from festivals. Don’t let others’ judgements diminish your love for your art form. Continue to polish your own work, and try not to judge yourself against other performers. There are performers who I adore that I will never be able to do what they do. Be true to yourself onstage and remember, we wouldn’t be anything without our audience. Show them some love.