Into the Fear with Anna DeBlasio, Part 3

Into the fear

Have you been wondering what it's like to FACE THE FEAR with us?  Thought about signing up, but just not sure if it is worth it?  Over the next few weeks, as we gear up for our next session, check out our installments of "Inside the Fear".  This week we have a sneak peek into the classroom with one of our alumni who finished our most recent workshop, Anna DeBlasio.

We meet Anna at her half way mark in the Face the Fear journey, and she has decided to call off "practice rounds".

Find out why Anna is more successful when she is faced with the "Real Deal", after the jump!

No More Practice Rounds

by Anna DeBlasio

This week, we were supposed to analyze our "self-talk," or at least take note of it. I can be quite  kind to myself, but I can also show some tough love, aaaaand I can be vicious toward myself here and there. Almost worse, every now and then, I am nonchalant in specific situations. That is, now and then as a defense mechanism in response to fear or nervousness, I downplay the stakes of a situation. I consider it a practice round instead of "the Real Deal." Of course we can always learn from most experiences, but if I treat an experience as only practice or learning, I might ignore other goals.

***

Warm-up. Uptown Funk. Stretch back. Step touch. Step touch with some funk. Plank...

"Time to learn how to do a pirouette correctly." I've had a bunch of years of those, though I'm a little out of practice. Jesse went around asked each of us what our struggle or finding was.

"Anna?"

"Well, I keep wanting to be turned out because of the ballet background." The other Anna, a Motivated Movers teacher, laughed and nodded her head knowingly. Jesse pointed out that I know how to do a pirouette, so I have enough time to think about it and just tell myself to land parallel.

Mindfulness. Focus. Breathing and being aware of breath helps.

"Okay, now we're going to do some improv." Jesse anticipated a groan, but I was secretly thrilled. I could go across the floor doing movement. How free!

First we moved across the floor simply leading with our hearts (as many movement/acting exercises involve leading with a body part). Another prompt was, "Your walk to work." We laughed and began to notice one another's personalities coming through.

"You just left your best first date." The other women had big, open arms and bodies as they moved across the floor. I ran to the center of the room, curled up in a ball, peeked out, hid my (smiling?) face, and ran the rest of the distance.

Lesson time.

Choices we CAN make in an audition room (and elsewhere).

Connect. Be a real person. Connect to/with yourself. Auditors. Music. Movement. Joy.

Create. Always be an actor first. Bold. Storytelling. Choices.

Control. Mindset. Preparation. Simplification. Intention. Attitude.

ProTip: Practice the Storytelling While Learning the Choreography. "You can't expect the storytelling to just happen for the first time when you're nervous and called upon to dance in a small group." Yeah. Good point there, Jesse.

"Now I'm going to enter into mean choreographer mode, and we'll do a little mock audition." Except she wasn't mean. We all entered the room and found out that the combination was from 9 to 5. There were no difficult steps in the combination, so we learned it fairly quickly and then were told to go to the side so that we could dance in pairs for the "audition."

"Okay, now let me see..." I stepped back slightly. I'd rather not go first, because then I can watch other people do the combination before I have to go do it. Oh no, I just saw Jesse see me step back. She's going to call me. "Anna.." Yup, called it. "And Lily." I laugh in my head. It's okay, I'll just do it. The music starts. I lose my personality a little. I get it back. I'm not sure what step comes next at one point, but I get it in time.

Okay, so I could have put more into it. I was active and animated all of the other times.

Lesson: less thinking, more playing.

***

As I wait for my bus, I think about this idea of stakes. I've always done better under pressure, focused when I knew it counted. Played for the big game, so to speak. Got 5's on my AP tests in high school, though I wasn't always excited to take practice tests. I ached for the Real Deal.

All I seem to need is a shift in language. Okay. Here is me shifting my vocabulary. No more "practice rounds." From now on, everything is the Real Deal.

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Anna DeBlasio is a singer/actor and graduate of Loyola University Maryland with a BA in Theatre and English, summa cum laude. Aside from theatre, she works as a math tutor and freelance proofreader. In 2012, she traveled with Dramatic Adventure Theatre to Slovakia to teach theatre to Romani children and devise a play based on the team's research and experience. Passions outside of the arts include: reading, the human brain, mathematics, bike-riding, and being barefoot. She is interested in the intersection of the arts and social justice.