Posts Tagged ‘performing’
Last January, in a weak moment, I said yes to Elizabeth Edwards of Omaha Ballroom when she asked me to participate in “Dancing with the Omaha Stars.” It’s a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House…and I’ve never been one to say no to Ronald. His french fries are irresistable.
In October I got a call from a Christopher and he announced that he was going to be my dance instructor (and I had thought/hoped they forgot about me!). I’m sure you can sense my apprehension by now. When I told my mom I was going to do this – she laughed in my face! That wasn’t exactly the supportive response I was looking for.
Allow me to describe my “dance” history:
- Exhibit A: Somehow I managed to make the pom-pom squad in high school. When I realized I couldn’t do the moves without silently mouthing 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8…I knew I was in over my head.
- Exhibit B: My signature move on the dance floor at age 30 is a combo “shoulder dance” and “snow ski” move. I even have sound effects to go with it. Come down to Nomad on a Saturday night and I’ll show you what I’m talking about.
- Exhibit C (the most aggregious piece of evidence): Back in my pageant days they always made us learn an opening number that we contestants performed as a group. It usually involved some kind of ridiculous costume and an overly-enthusiastic self-introduction. We have actual video of me, a good beat or two behind, looking at the other contestants for cues on the next move. The worst part was that I was often in the front row because I’m short. There was no where to hide!
Nor will there be anywhere to hide on January 22 when I hit the ballroom floor with Christopher. The good news is that I can count to eight, as Exhibit A demonstrated. I also spent a few years in voice lessons, so I have some sense of rhythm. So we’ll see how this goes. Christopher is teaching me the tango, which I understand is the dance of love from Argentinian brothels. Lovely. It’s been fun so far. We’ve had two lessons and I’ve already picked up a few moves. I’m just struggling with this whole “let him lead” thing.
The big benefit from all of my dancing experiences is that they’ve taught me to not take myself so seriously. I might look silly, but I’m still going to have fun. That’s the same attitude I’m taking in to this competition – I’lll keep you posted on how these lessons go. I’m going to give this my best shot…for Ronald.
I had the opportunity a few weekends ago to talk with the models participating in Omaha Fashion Week. Turns out they were having a runway rehearsal on the Bob Kerry Footbridge – my feet hurt just thinking about it! Check out the article in the Omaha World Herald.
I was tasked with the responsibility of giving them pointers on how to make the most of their experience as runway models in what has become the Midwest’s largest fashion show. Yikes! Never having been a runway model myself (I’m vertically challenged), I wondered what on earth I would say. Could this be the one time in my life I’d be caught speechless? Not so much.
The models in Omaha Fashion Week are performers in a show, much like I was a performer in a show at the Miss America pageant. While the physical skills sets are different, the mindset is the same. I reflected on my experience as a contestant and came up with some pointers that I hope will help the models not only on the catwalk, but also in life. Here’s what I shared with them – hope it helps you too:
1. Recognize what you can and can’t control. Every performance is about having a personal best. All of your energy should be directed in this effort – resist the urge to compare yourself to others. You are only competing against yourself. Forget about what others are doing, thinking or wearing. To do this is to get wrapped up in the superficial. From my experience, one of two behavior patterns emerge when people obsess about others:
A. They become forceful because they think there’s something to prove; or
B. They become a wallflower because they worry about not measuring up.
2. Have a clear vision. The most important aspect of preparation isn’t having the perfect look, walk, skin, hair or clothes. It’s about having a crystal clear vision of what you are going to do. All of the minute details – where you will go on stage, what the lights will be like, how the crowd will respond, how you will feel. Even the chaos of the dressing room should be anticipated. That way, you’ll almost never be caught off guard…because you’ve already been there and done that in your mind.
3. Reframe your butterflies. They aren’t about fear. They are about the excitement you feel to show off your preparation. Don’t worry – everyone has them. The most successful performers just know how to channel them to maximize their performance.
4. Pass on the spotlight. There’s a natural tension between your individual performance and your role in the show. Take a balanced perspective. When the spotlight is on you, live it up! When your moment is over, pass the spotlight on to your peers graciously and take a moment to enjoy their performance. That’s really where the best memories are made – in your ability to connect with your fellow performers on stage and off.
5. Remember there are people around you who wish they could be in your position. Some tried and didn’t make the cut. Some didn’t even have the courage to try. Given this, take your role as an honor and responsibility. You owe it to those who don’t have this opportunity to make the most of it. It’s your time to shine and make your community proud.