Each week at trapeze class my goal is to improve movement precision and physical coordination, while having fun flying through the air. My experience has shown that the key to these goals is fully engaging in the process.
What is the process you ask? It involves feeling, hearing, seeing and sensing myself in space. Each week a new layer of the amazing sensory experience of flying trapeze becomes clearer, more easily to accessible. To do this, I tune in to these senses
- Kinesthetic – to actively experience movement throughout the body.
- Visual – to see in front of me and peripherally throughout flight.
- Auditory – to listen to the calls from the instructor below.
- Tactile – to feel the bar in my hands and sense the movement of air on my face.
Having these elements is an inclusive awareness that allows me to shift my focus to the most important element in the moment. How does this translate into the art of performance? Whether on stage, leading a meeting or teaching a class, the performance is ‘in the moment,” mindful of self and space around. This increased self awareness magically engages the audience in the performance.
The visual sense seems to be especially important both in flying and on stage. In the past, I have found that sometimes I could not remember seeing anything at particular points. These moments are like black holes the process, I am not sure exactly how I did what I did. These black hole moments are becoming fewer and far between. Cultivating my use of the visual sense to consistently see in front of me and around me as I perform seems to be the key. The bonus is that each time the visual sense becomes clearer, movement becomes easier.
Learning to fly on the trapeze has informed my performances in many ways. Here are a few of the things I am enjoying in music-making:
- Hearing more layers in the music.
- Seeing a broader visual field. Not only can I see the people I play with more fully, but the subtle delicate movements they use enhances our communication.
- Feeling the timing of both my part and the ensemble illuminates the dialogue between the voices. The resulting rhythmic and melodic interplay is pure joy.
All of this means I don’t need to try so hard to express my ideas. The beautiful choreography of movement, at the root of music-making (or any activity,) is easier, more natural, and readily available. I enjoy accessing just the right movements for the music, and am able to make subtle adjustments as I play. So much fun! This leads me away from worrying about the end product, or “what will they think?” because I am fully engaged in the process of performance. I would love to hear ways you cultivate mindful performances.