So, I have this monthly show here in New Orleans called the Fly Movement Salon. I love the Salon. It's a place for performers to go to work out new stuff, present works in progress, experiment, or collaborate. Basically, its a modern day variety show. A performance artist open mic, if you will. We are typically heavy on the circus, because lots of my students and collaborators perform in it, but there is also dance, physical theatre, music, and genre-blending performance. Because I love all of it. I myself am, on the whole, more inspired by performance art and dance than by circus.
Lately, I have been really bored by my own work. I have some high-level skills, but I just... don't really care. I have lost something I used to have as a dancer -- a kind of presence or authenticity that I used to do so well. It's what people used to compliment me on when they'd see me perform. On the other hand, I used to get criticism from veteran circus people that I needed to up the ante on tricks. Well, now I have release moves, single toe hangs, and all that stuff, but I feel like I am just a trick monkey. I've trained myself right on over to the other side of the spectrum. It is not easy to tell the story and stay in it when you're worried about that really hard skill coming up in the next minute of your piece. The fear inherent in aerial acts really takes you right out of being present with the narrative when you're performing.
This month, I decided to just be present with that for my piece in the Salon. I did a rope improv. I had no idea what was going to happen when I got on stage. I feel like through this dialogue with the audience, I learned something about what I'm doing up there. There is ALWAYS a story. It's not always the story you intended, but it is the story that is happening. Channel that story, and you might actually have a piece of theatre that can engage audiences past the point when you stop performing tricks and the show is over.
I've always known this, and said it so many times. I'd like to go back to practicing it. This was my first attempt. I'm trying to find what is interesting about what I am doing now. This practice interests me.
What interests you?