In my last blog post, we began exploring the idea of performance energy. We discussed energy as vibration and the exchange of energetic vibrations that happens during a performance. And we also started talking about another energetic force at work when we perform.
That’s where we’ll pick up here.
If you have haven’t read the previous post yet, you can do that here. Then join us as we continue to explore performance energy.
That little flash of energy that transforms us from our everyday selves into performers. When do we feel it? In the moment of stepping from offstage to onstage? In the seconds when our hands first grasp our instruments? In that breath that brings the microphone to our lips?
What happens in that moment? Where does that burst of energy come from?
That my friends, is the power of the performance itself.
Let me explain.
In the previous post, we talked about how we give off energetic vibrations in everything we do. This includes our thoughts and ideas. Our thoughts create energetic vibrations. When we write a script, the characters we create exist as thought energy, even before the show is performed. When a piece of music is composed, its energy exists even if it has never been played. The same goes for songs, pieces of choreography, or anything else we create that’s meant to be performed. Once we’ve imagined our art, we’ve brought its energy into the world. And that energy is waiting for us, the performer, to bring it fully to life.
What? Wait…what? Yes, what I’m saying is that I believe art that is meant to be performed exists as vibrational energy, waiting for a performer to embody it and fully bring it to life.
Feeling a little too existential for you? Let me see if I can make it a bit more concrete with the help of J.K. Rowling.
*SPOILER ALERT: If you are one of the very few millennials who has not yet read Harry Potter, you may want stop reading here. Perhaps you are like a friend of mine and you are waiting to read them with your future children (really?…sigh, they’re even better the second time). Regardless, while I don’t think this analogy will reveal anything you haven’t already learned from pop culture, I wouldn’t want to spoil Harry Potter for you. That is totally not cool. Also, don’t buy this t-shirt. 🙂
At the beginning of the Harry Potter series, we are introduced to the character of Voldemort. At this point in the books, Voldemort isn’t fully alive. He exists only in spirit form, or maybe as a form of dark energy. We know about him because of what he’s done in the past and the stories that have been passed down about him from one character to the next.
Now while Voldemort attempts to wreak some havoc on the wizarding world in his spirit form, he’s unable to inflict any lasting damage. In fact, many characters in the book don’t believe he even exists because he hasn’t really been seen or done much in over a decade (book time). So Voldemort knows he needs something else to really get things going: a physical body. Once he has a body he can really start to make things happen. In other words, Voldemort + Body = SHIT STARTS GOIN’ DOWN (and it does).
You with me so far? Good.
So here’s the connection with performance energy. Like Voldemort in his spirit form, the characters, music and choreography we create exists as a form of energy. Sometimes this energy is new, if we’re creating a new piece. Sometimes it’s old, like characters, stories or music that have been passed down through generations and have been performed again and again.
But in the same way that Voldemort needs a body to really come to life, so too does this art. For a character to be seen, it needs someone to become it. For a piece of music to be heard, it needs someone to play it. In short, this energy needs a body to channel it in order for it to actually exist. That body is you, the performer. And it’s in that moment, when we allow that performance energy to travel through us, that we are transformed from our everyday selves into performers.
Wow, are you as excited about these ideas as I am? Awesome. Let’s talk about this again soon. I have so much more to say and explore with you on this topic: about how understanding performance energy and our relationship to it can change the way see performance, make us healthier performs, and ultimately better ones too.
In the meantime, though, here’s a bit of Harry Potter nostalgia for you to enjoy (featuring a young Robert Pattinson, before his vampire days…): https://youtu.be/qS368iXcUvk
P.S. Want to keep exploring this topic now? Check out some of the ideas in this book.
Act(ing) Mindfully is a part of my work with Five Winds. It’s a space where I explore the connection between performance and energy, and offer tips and ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy (body, mind, emotions and spirit) while living the life of a performer.