Performance Playbook: The Training

Being a performer with a day job takes some serious work. In my quest to become a professional performer I’ve been stepping up my performance training to around 3 hours a day. Surprisingly, this isn’t enough. I would like to be clocking in at around 30 hours a week. To do this, I’m now pushing my training up to two times a day.

Training is hard, rewarding, fun, and wild work. I’m constantly coming up with new ways to push my body while making sure I’m eating correctly. Here’s some of the workouts I incorporate into my weekly routines:

Capacity and Desire Fire Dancing

Fire Dancing:

I’m trying to push a different kind of fire dancing than what you might see at most fire events. I’m actively dancing and moving while I spin fire. I’ve seen so many fire spinners out there that spin while they stand in place. Fire dancing can be so much more than that. I learned this when I started having to move with my double swords. Fire swords are a static tool (unlike poi which are on chains and have the ability to keep moving even though the dancer might be standing still). To look halfway decent with the swords, I have to create some really dynamic movements. These movements have spilled over into my Poi and Staff dancing.

Weights:

I really admire slim, feminine-looking, male performers (think Wildchild World). They have very sexual-looks to their characters… which is something that I feel that I have been lacking. For the longest time, I’ve been trying to slim down to get myself in a place where I might be able to imitate their looks.  Recently, I’ve realized that I have a very different body type than they do. I have a body that likes to put on muscle and then slim down. More of a powerful, masculine look (like the performers at Zen Arts). To play on this strength, I upped the poundage on my free weights and started the two days on, one day off weightlifting routine.

Aerial and Tumbling:

I practice aerial once a week on Wednesdays at Emerald City Trapeze. This has been great and I have many of the fundamentals of Aerial fabrics down. I’m leaving for the Firebird Rising Showcase in LA and Apogaea in Denver in two weeks. When I get back to Seattle after my travels, I plan  on purchasing an open gym membership at the Aerial studio and stepping up my practicing to at least 3 times a week. This should give me the ability to perform Aerial fabrics in front of an audience by September.

I took some tumbling classes at the studio. This gave me the basics of tumbling and I have been incorporating the movements I learned into my weights and dancing routines. I hope to be doing handstands and hand balancing by the end of the summer.

Dance:

On the days that I’m not lifting weights, I’m practicing dance. YouTube has been helping me learn the basics of Ballet. 3 weeks in and my range of movement has already increased. I’ve been getting some comments that my dancing is more on-point than it has been in the past. I plan on taking some classes with the Massive Monkees here soon. To keep this fun, I make sure to go out dancing at least once a week at some of the local shows. StageMe has been helping me widen my range of pop-and-lock movements. I get a ton of cardio out of the dancing that I do. I try and hit up the stilts once every month or so, just to keep on point for the big shows.

The hardest part of getting into professional-performance-shape for me has been the diet. I have had to learn how to eat healthy. Definitely not something that I’m used to and still something that I’m working on daily. It’s a fight, but I’m getting used to it.

Burning Man 2012 Fertility 2.0

The sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the music, the sun, the night, the Man, the Temple, the art, and the Human Connection. Such wonderful beauty! Such inspirational creativity! All of this, summed up into two words: ‘Best Burn’… So far ;).

Burning Man 2012, Fertility 2.0 was one of the best experiences of my young life. Things went right this year.

First, I would like to thank and acknowledge all of the amazing new Burners that came out to the 2012 Burn. You all are amazing people. You all stepped up and created new art, new experiences, and reinforced the integrity of the Burner Culture (something that is constantly being questioned by veteran Burners). I am impressed. I’m also inspired.

The art out at this year’s Burn was epic, as always. Large roving structures caressed the Playa with sound systems to rival any club in the Default world. Burners danced into the night, only to be greeted with a communal cheer as the sun crested Black Rock City’s surrounding mountains. The Man’s interior was a honeycomb of human interaction and delight and the Temple was the most spiritual place on the planet, if but for a moment. Ah! Lessons in the Temporary.

We build the city and we Burn it down. It is our ritual. In many instances, it is our life. Poetry of the soul, and I can’t wait to do it all over again. Burning Man is the one place, the one thing, in this world that I can always get my hopes up for and NEVER be disappointed. What a strange thing we have created!

I will tell many of the stories of this Burn in the coming weeks. For now, I would like to share some helpful advice about life after the Burn.

Decompression.

1) Don’t quit your day job/don’t make any super-important life changing decisions for a minimum of 3 weeks. 2 months is better. We’re all wound up like tops when we come back from the Burn. It happens every year. Decompression parties/events happen for a reason. Take some time to gain perspective on life and the default world, then go from there.

2) Write it down. Everything that you are feeling and thinking in your head. Get it on paper and start sorting it out. You just lived in a place of 54K people for a week. You developed new relationships and reaffirmed old ones. Feelings of loneliness are natural. A friend put it really well when he said “I’ve never been so inspired, charged, pumped, and incredibly lonely and lost all at the same time.” This is natural. How do you exist in the default after so much sensory input? *Suggestion: Sleep over parties and nap time with friends… it helps.*

3) Bring it home. Don’t stop being inspired. That gigantic ship that you climbed, that dome you danced in, that art you Burned, all of it was created by someone. Don’t start thinking in limitations. This community is amazing. If you have an amazing idea, get on it and get your friends to help. If you don’t have friends, hit up your regional. If you don’t know your regional (Check the Burning Man site), email me. I’m always down to talk ideas and inspiration. Also, you don’t have to stop living the Burner culture off of the Playa. Bring the Human Connection home and start teaching others how to interact on a meaningful, day to day basis. You don’t have to have gone to Burning Man anymore to be a Burner.

4) Start planning. Next year is coming up fast. Get on it.

5) Never go to the Burn without some sort of goal. If you just ‘go’ to Burning Man ‘just because’, you may not have as good of a time. The Playa provides and Burner Magic is in the air.

I’ll be posting more later. For now, work on re-entry and be happy! The world is an amazing place!

Performing in a New City

Seattle

Two weeks ago, I moved to Seattle. Things out here have been extremely interesting and fast paced. Everything is different and everything is similar.

It’s so green out here! I come from Colorado, a very dry and desert-like place. Colorado has amazing mountains, but very little water in comparison to Seattle. Out here, things are green year-round and right now, everything is starting to bloom.

There’s so much water out here! Every time I go over, under, across, and see a bridge, I say one of three things: Wow, Pretty, or Water! Right after that it’s usually: Look at the boats!!! It’s going to be a while before I get over the visual stimulation of this city.

The bus system in Seattle is very functional. I’m getting used to keeping a few dollars on me to be able to take the bus instead of taking my car. That being said, I’m still very happy to have a car in Seattle. It gives me the freedom to move around as I see fit.

The Job

I didn’t get the job that I was going for at SEOmoz, which is quite a bummer. Their lack of communication after the interview process is quite annoying, but other than that, it was a really fun and intense interview process. I’m slamming out the applications daily now. Amazon, Microsoft, and small to medium sized businesses, I’m applying everywhere for marketing, internet marketing, SEO, and administrative assistant positions.

I’ve decided to also try and get my own business up and running. I will be building websites for small to medium businesses using the WordPress platform. I will then maintain these websites and do freelance SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Inbound Marketing for new clients. I’m getting my portfolio up and running and I plan to announce the new business over on http://www.capacityanddesire.com/web/. I will also be doing an online fundraiser to get my new business off the ground. Please check back this Thursday for more information!

C+D Performance

I’ve been performing with New Vision Dance company for two weeks now. We have a performance coming up on May 5th and 6th. I’ll be posting about the show later. It’s been fun working with NVDC. We’ve already done a photo shoot and finished up choreography on one piece for the show.

Fire dancing is a blast out here in Seattle. There’s a really big community of fire performers out here. I’m working with NW Fire Conclave for the Burn as their Assistant Shin. We’re working on some very fun choreography and fire costumes. New choreography is leading me to learn new skills and is pushing me to develop myself as a performer.

I’m looking into getting a performance troupe going. This is a long-term project though and I’m definitely going to have to take the time to start developing costumes.

Now that I’ve finally settled in, I plan on getting back to posting 2 to 3 times a week from now on. As always, thank you for reading and please share Capacity and Desire with your friends!

Fire Dancing in Denver for the Last Time

First off, my apologies for not posting yesterday. I’m moving to Seattle at the end of the week from Denver and I had to take care of getting my car all up and ready for the trip. After spending 80% of the day prepping the car, I ran over to the Fusion Factory for Monday night Burner potluck to say goodbye to my friends.

If I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, all of my fire performance gear was stolen 2 weeks ago. Being a fire performer without any fire gear was a strange feeling, so I decided to make some new fire swords and test them out at the potluck. This is the resulting video (Note the complete lack of wow factor coming from my audience. In a culture surrounded by fire, playing with fire is a normal everyday thing. I find the desensitization (of being around fire/seeing someone perform with fire) to be a very interesting event.)

We had some people visiting from the North West (Seattle and Portland). You can hear my friends debating on whether or not I’ll be moving back to Denver. I’ll definitely miss the people and the nightlife culture in Denver, but I can’t wait to move out near some water!