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Learn to express yourself

Coming up with a concept for a choreography or an aerial act is not that easy. It takes a lot of energy and passion to go from a small idea to a fully developped routine. I've wrote about the basics of creating a concept before, but the success of your performance doesn't only come from the ABCs or a to-do list. Having a great concept is important to be memorable, but being able to connect with your audience and have them feel things deeply is what will make you a great performer. And I have a good news : you can learn and work on expressing emotions on stage, you don't have to be gifted at birth!


Challenge yourself with small goals to work on your overall body language. For example, try and freestyle to different types of music or act as different characters. Exaggerate your movements or your facial expressions, practice making it extravagant. It doesn't matter if you think it looks silly, your body is learning new patterns and processing the best ways to interpret different styles of movements. Let it learn by doing mistakes and keep flowing with them.

If you struggle with the resting bitch face syndrome, you can work on your facial expression in front of a mirror. Start by working on the transitions. For example, if at the beginning of your act you wanna look sad, but then your character overcomes some kind of obstacles and you have to look proud, work on the few seconds of transitioning from crying to smiling victoriously. Do it over again until you really enjoy what's coming out of this exercise. I know looking at yourself straight into the eye is intimidating, but if you make yourself believe it, you'll convince anybody. I have done this work on facial expressions in the metro on my way to work, but I would recommend doing it in private.

When the main transitions are becoming more clear to you (I stated one example but there should be more than one transition in your routine), play your music and work on specific cues for those transitions. When you get the cues set up, practice the whole thing with only your face, your body shouldn't be implied for this part.

Your face, just like your body with dance moves, have muscle memory. The more you practice showing those emotions, the more instinctive it will become to follow the music patterns. And when you've integrated the face movements to your brain, the easier it'll be to keep showing the emotions even with your body upside down in a complex trick.


If you want your audiance to believe that you are that character you're interpreting on stage, it has to look natural to your body to move in certain ways. You constantly have to ask yourself what would my character do? The viewer has to be able to know if you are supposed to be a witch or a wrestler in the first few seconds, and I'm not talking about having a good costume. If we don't know who you are right away, we'll be wondering the whole time and we won't focus on the piece you're presenting.

Once again, you can practice that. Play your song and dance, but don't do the actual choreography. Only move your arms and legs and do some basic body waves. Learn to move to the music using intention. How would my character open their fingers? Would my character kick their leg up or bring it closer to the shoulder slowly? The devil is in the details they say, and small details are what will have us believe in your interpretation.


When your big moment is finally here, make your routine even more believable by stay in character from the moment you step on stage to the very last second of going off. If you have a very dramatic piece but the moment the music stops you joyfully wave at your mom, what you had built in the last few minutes is gone, we all know it was fake.

There might be a few of your friends in the audience, but most of the viewers don't know you personally. You need them to think they saw a real life fairy! And luckily for you, you had practiced your entrance and your exit beforehand, so you know you'll be able to put off your characterisation.


I know, everything seems easier said than done. If you're still not confident in your stage presence capacities and feel like you need some guidance, Calmness Hotline has the perfect workshop coming up!

Sunday May 21st at 3:30 PM, come meet Payton for a Characterization and Expressivity Workshop! She will create a short sequence that you will be able to interpret on different songs, working on interpretation and playing with a range of emotions and atmospheres. If you haven't seen her on stage yet, let me tell you that Payton really knows how to capture her public's attention and how to interpret every character she wanna play. I have no doubt the she will really help you being aware of you body language and facial expressions.

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