Yoga is acting. A born performer, I knew the moment I connected to my breath and moved my body in rhythm to it, I was experiencing the same high and Divine connection I felt on stage. It was a godsend because it meant I could live life without always having to be under spotlights.
A performer needs an audience.
It’s not vanity, it’s about the connection to the people, the rare back and forth of energy when live. It’s the best high on the planet, and I’d forgotten how it fed me until a few years ago when a girlfriend asked me to sing for her honky tonk show. Tumbleroot Brewery in Santa Fe has a small proscenium stage—I stepped out into the spotlight like I’d never left.
A performer only refines a show with audience present. Of course, you rehearse. You practice technique, do dress runs of what you created to test the flow before bringing it live. But it is only in front of an audience you learn what works and doesn’t. You take mental notes to adjust the next show, try something different. Less of that, more of this… I sang for eight months to small invited audiences, barely promoting before I got the guts to put a band together.
I had a vision, an experience I wanted to create for my audience. La Reina bar at el Rey Court gave me a monthly gig that allowed me to tighten the band, evolve the show. Each audience is different, opening night can be a different show from closing. Most nights are magic. The audience feeds you, brings you energy to alchemize sharing deep from your soul. My torch song act includes monologues, the theatre geek in me shining… I equate performance to ripping out your guts and extending your hands, so people can stare at them.
If you’re talented—you give them your full presence, your best yogi. Some nights you go home lonely, sharing your guts only to have everyone who saw them, leave. A rare breed—performers, some of the greatest poets we have. They are the truth-tellers, the mystics… The ones who help you feel inside to remember who you are.
I don’t know if we get the loss of audience yet. Broadway’s been dark since March 12th. The world-renowned, Santa Fe Opera has cancelled its entire season. There was no Jazz Fest, there will be no free summer concerts… In fact, we have no idea when we’ll share that level of energy again, that collective presence.
I ignored Wuhan. I heard about it. I saw my YouTube showing me videos of their lockdown, but I had a gig on Friday March 13th. And one lined up for April at el Rey, to culminate singing on Mineshaft deck this afternoon, late May.
Instead I write from my bed, which lately, I don’t always make…
Performers are vital to culture, yet taken for granted how they show up and bring it. They’re paid considerably less than doctors, even though their medicine is equally lasting. Essential workers…of another kind. Soul-feeding work, that hangs in limbo against a back-drop of crisis—and uncertainty of how we’ll be able to flick on the stage lights again.
From my heart to yours—all actors, directors, musicians… From Broadway dark, to the French Quarter, to Mineshaft deck: I salute your patience and loss, as we retreat in our studios to no doubt arise out of this sharing with generations to come…songs, and plays, and dances to heal our planet during times we will one day…look back on.
Stay Safe. Stay Inspired,
Great message! It really needs to be said. Maybe we will come out of this with a better understanding of what we bring.
I love that, Steve…and we will celebrate your album release, one day.
Thanks Emily for your blog..it says a lot and even though leading chanting isn’t performance per say I know what you mean about audience response and how wonderful that can feel and also inform what I do ..Its a 2 way street and I am very much missing that form of dialogue ..Zoom is ok but nowhere near the same …Who knows when things will get back to real group participation but its a big loss right now ..stay well.. Love Sita