Saturday, July 10, 2010

Simple advice... - Originally posted on 12 August 2009

So, during the Mira Betz intensive, at one point, Mira casually mentioned that we should enjoy the process at least as much if not more than the outcome... the 'outcome' being the actual performance itself and the 'process' being everything that you need to get there (technique, costuming, workshops, etc.).

It's simple, right? It's obvious, right?

Well, for me, it thoroughly highlighted how much anxiety that I had about performances and how early it actually starts. For instance, I'm preparing for an upcoming performance in September. Normally, I would have been real nervous and anxious over finding 'the' perfect music for the performance and it would have blocked me for a while. Well, instead, I enjoyed listening to music. Through a simple series of a certain song made me think of another song, which made me think of another one, etc., I found the one that I chose to do. It was so much easier this time around!

And then I felt like drilling on Sunday as I was waiting for the chinese food to arrive. Normally, if I have a piece that's upcoming, I'm stressed out if I do anything belly dance that's not specifically related to choreographing the piece. But I realized that, actually, drilling is very much part of the 'process' so it's fine. And I just drilled and was using Ariellah's recommendations from her workshops and it kicked my booty and I need to do it more regularly.

Also, I've had the recommendation from Mira and from a few other instructors in the past (like Asharah, Ariellah, and Tempest (not 100% sure of Tempest but most likely she did)) to listen to my music ALL.. THE... TIME... I progressively increased the number of times that I would listen to a piece of music that I was going to perform but Mira had told me to listen to my piece between the first performance and the rework about 80 times. I had refrained from listening to the music that much b/c I was afraid that I would get fed up with it. Hell no, I didn't. I actually heard additional tidbits and, mostly, fell in love with it even more!!!!

So now I've been listening to my piece of music back to back for about 1 hour almost each day. The benefit of that is that I did hear new things in the music but I also know it now inside out... it also pops in my head at random moments. Like, last Saturday, I was making coffee and heard the music in my head and my body started to move in reaction to what I was hearing in my head. So ideas are pouring forth without me actively thinking about it but rather through my body... and it feels like, indeed, it's the other side of the brain that's in control. The music popped in my head again this morning, at a different spot in the piece and, this time, I have visuals of what I wanted to do. I let my body respond to those images and, of course, it fits. I actually have yet to do improv to the piece but, when I start thinking about it, I feel my body moving... Saweet!

Anyway, bottom line: remember that this is fun... that all the process is actually as much fun if not more than the performance itself. ENJOY!

Comments I had received:
From Laura Smith: Nicely said, Isabelle. I do listen to my performance music a LOT but probably not as much as this.

From Robert: I try to research the music I perform - why was it written? What was going on in the culture its from when it was written? Well... Actually I often don't have to do that research as Jon usually spoon feeds it to me. I like to tell stories about my songs when the performance venue is suitable. I know the feeling about being wound up - I was when we debuted all that Persian music on 8/8. Research tends to help me settle - there is such a thing as being over-rehearsed.

From Sara Beaman: Yay! I love hearing about process! Keep up the good work Celeste!

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