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.


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.


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.

C+D: Dancing and Fitness

Being a dancer involves constantly pushing your body to new and greater limits. I’m always working out, stretching, training, and exploring new movements. The more I push myself, the better life feels.

I’ve finally reached the point in my dancing career that I’m good enough to get paid. This, while wonderful, is pushing me to get into better physical condition. Carrying any extra weight is causing me to second guess myself in some visual areas. To combat this, I’m stepping up the workout routines and jumping into yoga.

Working out feels natural and Yoga is kicking my butt. I’m thinking of pushing it up to 5 days a week with workouts, and 3 to 4 days a week with Yoga. Eating healthy is going to be somewhat of a chore. I definitely don’t want to overdo it.

Are there any readers out there who also perform/dance? What do you do to stay in shape?

Here’s a video of a practice session I did about a month ago. I definitely need to work on my lower body movement and my legs.