We talk a lot about energy on this blog. We’ve talked about it as vibration. We’ve talked about how it transforms us when we perform. We’ve talked about how art has its own unique energy. And we’ve talked about how it can be hard to let go of that energy after a performance.
But what does energy feel like? How do we experience energy moving through our systems?
The truth is…I can’t exactly tell you. Here’s the deal…
We are all unique beings (surprise!), and following that, the way we express energy is unique. We know this as performers. Think about it. This is why 4 actors can play the role of Hamlet and all their performances are different. Or 5 musicians can play the same song and they all sound different. Heck, 5 musicians can play the same instrument and the instrument sounds different! So it follows that the way each of us feels energy is different from one person to the next.
So if I can’t tell you how energy feels, what can I tell you? Well, I can tell you how to notice your energy. And if you begin to notice your energy, then you can discover how it feels. Cool!
But why is this helpful to us as artists? Well as we’ve talked about before, energy is at the heart of our work as performers. If we know how our energy feels, then we can track its movement through us. And if we can track its movement, then we can also direct our energy to where we want it to go. Cool x2!
Here’s a practical example. In a recent interview on CBC Radio’s q with Tom Power, Mandy Moore talked about her role on the hit show, This is Us.*
*SPOILER ALERT: This is Us is a show with MANY plot twists. In fact the whole premise of the show is revealed as a plot twist in the first episode. That premise is also (kind of) revealed below. Now this premise has been covered extensively in the media already. But if you haven’t heard it and want to preserve your innocence, just skip the next paragraph. 😉
In the show, we see Mandy’s character as both as a 30 year old in the past and a 60 year old in the present (if this doesn’t make sense, read this). To help her embody her character at these different life stages, Mandy talks about sending her energy to different areas of her body; to her heart and hands as a 30 year old, and to the crown of her head as a 60 year old. Channeling energy to these different areas allows her to move differently at these two distinct ages. It also allows her to connect with the character’s emotional state at two very different points in life. Pretty useful!
So how can we begin to notice and track our own energy? Try this exercise!
So try this out, and discover what your energy feels like! Of course, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at tracking and directing your energy. You may even begin to notice and direct your energy without needing to do the exercise. And that’s very a handy tool to have in your pocket as a performer. 🙂
Also, if you’re interested in hearing the full interview with Mandy Moore, you can find it here. She covers a lot of great topics including her experience returning to acting after a long break, and how she feels about playing a mother.
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.