That space you occupy in the world moves around with you all day long. We take it for granted – we are just in it. But performers are more aware of it because they know they are being watched by an audience – which could be just an audience of one.
One of the strengths of performing arts training is the confidence that it gives you.
How does that happen? When people begin our classes, they are usually a bit reticent and stand back a bit. Who wouldn’t? That’s perfectly normal. Often people “apologise” for their space. Their body language is a bit hunched up. Maybe they cross their arms or their legs and sometimes both at once. This is completely understandable as it is stressful to join something new. But when you start to perform you are given material to work on. It could be singing a song, dancing some steps or making up a drama. You begin to forget what you look like to others as you focus more on what you have to do. Your shyness has nowhere to go and in working together the group helps you forget.
Over a period of time this “focus on something else” gradually loses self-consciousness and builds confidence. A voice emerges, a dance step is made without checking out the others, a character grows and speaks. It is genuinely transformational. Over the years I’ve long ago lost count of the parents who said, “He didn’t used to say boo to a goose but look at him now.” Or,“I’d never have thought she’d like performing because she goes into a shell.”
What happens is that they begin to own their space. By that I mean they learn to be comfortable standing up there in front of everyone. Don’t get me wrong that doesn’t mean that they don’t get anxious – especially when waiting to go on and perform in a show but they’ve relaxed a bit and are more able to deal with whatever happens.
I think that’s remarkable thing for any young person to achieve. Together with their group they can stand tall and say, “Here I am!” Not in a show-offy, attention-seeking sort of a way – just comfortable in their own skin. Now the arms and the legs are uncrossed, their stance is balanced and they dare to look the audience in the eye. That’s powerful stuff – and they’ll never forget it.
Since 1992 Theatretrain Performing Arts Schools across the United Kingdom have been providing young people with part time performing arts classes in acting, singing and dancing. Without the cost of attending an expensive full time stage school Theatretrain is an excellent place to start your career in the performing arts. For further information about our weekly lessons in acting, singing, and dancing visit www.theatretrain.co.uk.