Your Five Closest

Have you ever felt completely depleted?

You feel low energy, and as you stare at your Art projects, there is an emptiness…a lack of inspiration.

And this feels so icky! Your Art is your heartbeat and passion.

What is going on?

The muse has left the building, and it can feel very lonely.

So what do we do in that moment?
How do we turn it around to return to that place of energy, joy, and creative flow?

How do we go from feeling stuck to inspired action?

A few weeks ago, I went to see a close friend present her choreography at Martha Graham.  It was a very special night, as she was showcasing work that had taken two years to compile.

At the end of the show, the audience leapt to the their feet, and as I stood cheering, I became aware of one woman in the back, shouting very loudly. Turning to see who it was, my whole stomach dropped.

Standing clear as day was a woman who used to be my friend, who used to be one of my closest confidants, and even a fellow performer.

We shared years of secrets, tears, triumphs and tribulations….until it all ended, right in the wake of my devastating divorce.

A friend no more, I hadn’t seen her in years, and instantly I could feel my body tighten.

Would she say anything to me?
Would I say anything to her?

I hadn’t seen her when I came in, and now with hindsight it made perfect sense she was here.  Of course, she is also close friends with the choreographer.

Friends with her….not with me…anymore.

And for very good reason.
She stopped being a healthy support for me.

She was the only friend who thought I should do a trial 6 month separation in the face of infidelity and a man telling me to my face he didn’t love me anymore.

She defended my ex when I laid  myself at her feet, sharing how devastated and broken I felt.

I felt invisible in her presence.
I felt like my words didn’t matter….

And most of all, as I started to truly open up about my shame and vulnerability, she wasn’t interested. She wasn’t a safe harbor anymore.

In simplest terms, we were no longer on the same page.

I wanted to grow, she didn’t.

So, we ended the friendship…mutually, and never spoke again.

And I went on to create many new friendships, deepen the most loving ones, and build a whole new life where my Art actually nourished me, instead of drained me.

My new friendships reflected where I was NOW, not where I was before.

And that evening, among the throngs of people at the Martha Graham studio , no words were exchanged.  Our eyes never met….we both knew.  We had both moved on.

 

Who supports you?
Do they understand your passion and Art?

Do you feel like you are spending all your time convincing them?

That can be really draining.
That can be exhausting.

And if they are close to you, it can really affect not only the quality of your Art, but your ability to actually get out there and promote yourself, connecting with your audience.

One of the most famous quotes rings very true here,
You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with.

So, take a moment and take stock.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?
What are they saying?

Are they criticizing you and bringing you down?
How do you feel in their presence?
Energized and inspired, or exhausted and depleted?

As Artists, our power is in community. YOUR power lies in support and fellow Artists who not only GET you, but lift you to do your best, to express your heart, and to step forward fearlessly with your unique voice.

And here’s the part that I missed for SO long….we do this TOGETHER.

Specifically, we do this with Artists who are on the same page.

They want to be Untoppable
They want to create their best work
They want to move the audience

Like you.

Negative, blaming, and critical energy can be so draining.

Find your people who inspire you, who energize your muse, and who hold your path of GROWTH as absolutely vital.

We are constantly changing and becoming with every day!  This is the joy of being an Artist, because we have the ability to express this.

So, take stock.  Release those who are more interested in blaming and staying stuck.  Release them with grace and know,
you are not alone.

Let’s rise together.

Choose those closest to you with care.

This is your precious life.

Who do you want to share it with?

The Secret to Raving Fans

Have you ever wondered what the REAL secret is with having raving fans?

Have you ever seen people absolutely foaming at the mouth for the next piece of art from their favorite Artist and questioned,
How come that’s not happening to me?

These audiences are lining up around the block for the next,
Bruno Mars concert ticket
Game of Thrones book
Hamilton Broadway ticket
Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Louvre
Release of the latest Harry Potter….

You scratch your head as you look at another lukewarm reception to your latest release, or random clapping to your performance and go,
WHAT the HECK?!

How do Artists have these massive followings on Instagram?
How do Artists sell out their concerts?
How do Artists get top dollar for their original work?
How do Artists make it to the NY Times Bestseller List?

Because, at the root of the question is,
I’m working so hard, why isn’t this happening for ME?

Super frustrating, right?

I hear you.  I felt the same way.  I was killing myself with dance classes, voice lessons, meeting casting directors, having perfect head shots and eye-catching audition outfits…and yet I hit a ceiling.

My talent was not reflecting my audience.  There was a disconnect.  For my level, I should have been CHOOSING between different Broadway shows….and yet, I couldn’t make it past final callbacks to even book ONE.

Have you ever felt this?
What do we do in this moment?

How do we turn it around and truly receive the acclaim we desire?

How does our effort and talent actually equate to a thriving career and raving fans that support, cherish and love us?

 

This past weekend I went to see one of my closest friends, Lisa, present her MFA Thesis project at Martha Graham Studios.  The culmination of two years of work, I couldn’t wait.

Lisa is one of the top jazz teachers in NYC, and I take her class weekly.  She’s a real anomaly in the dance world, as she specializes in technical jazz.  So much of the classical jazz form in dance has been watered down, and Lisa has really stayed more true to the art, keeping it very technical and clean.  It’s solid, and I always leave sweating, strong, and smiling. And I’m never alone….

She has a packed class every week.  She has students that come back, regulars who have been taking her for years, and because of her class they are booking company work and theater gigs. We are FANS, plain and simple.

So, it’s no surprise to know that when Lisa’s MFA Thesis performance piece was over, the whole audience leapt to their feet, shouting and screaming.  The dancers were glowing, Lisa was beaming, and we all felt fabulous.

But Lisa was not the only choreographer to present her work that night.  She was actually second, and the first performance was beyond painful.

I actually wanted to walk out.

How can this be possible?
Two choreographers going through the same program, and yet one created a desire to leave, and the other had me on my feet ready for more?

And it all comes down to ONE thing:
Connection.

On the first piece, the choreographer (who also danced in the piece) was literally having a temper tantrum on stage.  At one point she was gasping and screaming in circles on the ground, and all I could think was,
Do you care I am here?

What was Missing?
CONNECTION TO THE AUDIENCE.

I felt completely disconnected watching her piece.  I felt completely in the dark about what was really going on, but most of all, I felt she didn’t CARE whether or not I was involved.

And I was not alone.  When her piece awkwardly ended, there was barely any clapping.  Hands barely met, as I imagine everyone was confused.

Will I return to see this choreographer’s work again?
No.

Will the rest of the audience?
I doubt it.

Why?
We were not included in the performance.
We were on the outside.

Her piece was purely about her, her rage, and her pain.  It literally was akin to a two year old having a tantrum to say, ME ME ME!  As a new choreographer, she made a mistake I see Artists of all ages make again and again,
they FORGET to include their audience.
They forget about the WE.

Because honestly, there is no Artist without an Audience, and there is no Audience without an Artist.  It’s a relationship. It goes TWO ways.

So, why did Lisa’s piece receive a standing ovation?
We were included.  Energetically, physically, in every way…..and that translates to raving fans.

And trust me, I GET the desire to express rage.  In fact, some of the most powerful work happening right now is dealing with very dark issues, like depression, inequality, racism, and bullying.

Dear Evan Hansen, speaking into bullying, is THE top ticket on Broadway right now, and it’s extremely dark….but the difference comes in the HOW. The difference comes in YOUR intention.

The writers of Dear Evan Hansen are looking to raise awareness around this topic, they are looking to ENGAGE the audience, and ask powerful questions so that they then go into the world and make new choices.

People leave inspired, not shut down.

Because, let’s be honest……we don’t need more isolation.

We don’t need more messages telling us we are alone, no one cares, and we don’t matter.  People, YOUR AUDIENCE is starving for connection.  In a world where communication seems to mostly happen electronically, where we find out our friends challenges through a social media platform, where the next generation has lost the ability to have a face to face conversation when they are scared…..

Art matters.
Art is a catalyst.

It allows our audience to access their emotions in a way nothing else does.

So, take a moment and ask yourself:
Are you connecting with your Audience?
Are you including them in your Work?
Are you engaging with them?

And most of all…what is your INTENTION?

Is it to connect or isolate?

 

Be clear on WHY you are creating in the first place.  If you are receiving lukewarm applause, come back to center, and back to square one.

Come out of isolation.

Set your intention to connect and include them.  Engage with them, and learn what they NEED.  Learn what they WANT, and then partner together.

This is a relationship.  Cultivate it with love and mutual understanding.

They come to you starved, feed them, and in doing so, feed yourself.

Open the loop and let them in.