Into the Fear with Anna DeBlasio, Part 5

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 last few weeks, as we gear up for our next session,  Anna DeBlasio, program alum, has been taking us "Inside the Fear".  Her candid accounts of her journey in class have been remarkable, and we are proud to have her in our community!

Check it out her final installment, as she tackles a guest choreographer and a mock audition.  We hope all the artists who walk through our doors are able to leave with this much compassion and growth!  Are you ready to Face the Fear with us?

Read on, after the jump...

"I Can Dance"

by Anna DeBlasio

 

We have our last Face the Fear class tonight. Oh boy. Guest artist Billy Bustamante will be our choreographer, and we'll be dancing to a song from The Wild Party.

"Anna, what is your goal for today?" "Let people see me having fun. No hiding it."

"Rip off the bandaid." Just you wait, Jesse! I will.

***

Warm-up time. Ooh, a little sore now. I did plyometrics this morning, and I am beginning to feel it. Whatever, it means I'm STRONG. Woooo!

***

We are invited back into the studio. Billy shakes our hands and introduces himself as we walk in. How sweet is that?! Well, I already did one thing I'm supposed to do: connect with the choreographer. Good eye contact.

"The pas de bourres happen on 'Martini glass in hand.'" Ahh yes. Lyrics help me, because the choreography makes sense in accordance with the story.

"General note: make sure the first set of those moves keeps your feet on the ground, and then they move into the air."  Oh, he's right. I didn't notice that I wasn't doing that. Gentle reminder to check in head-to-toe with the choreographer's body.

Ooooh, I'm selling this choreography! Ha HA! Someone asks a question. "Wait, we're missing one step," Billy remarks. "Let's run it once more, for Billy. I always have to do that when I'm choreographing. 'Once more for Billy,'" he chuckles. What a delightfully human choreographer.

Pro-tip: Imagine every choreographer is Billy Bustamante. [Or, if you don't know who Billy is, just choose to practice joy--not fakeness/happiness, but joy--in the room, always].

Time to perform the combination. "Anna on the right, Janet on the left." Yes! I admire Janet for being unabashedly herself in the space, and for being so playful.

Okay, trust yourself. You remember what happens when you don't. Just have fun. You know this combination, you practiced your character choices throughout learning, and you LIKE this combination. 5 6 7 AND eight and. Yes, good strong start. My drinking character asks, "Wooahhh do I have my balance here?" Yes! Wooo! "Martini glass in hand." Soutenu, jump, soutenu. Drag arm, martini glass walk walk walk. Drink. Dump glass, vomit. I DID IT.

YES. I GOT IT.

Second time around. I make sure that each bit of choreography is slightly more polished, and that I practice joy and take the adjustments Billy gave.

That felt good. It wasn't scary. It was exciting.

***

Question and Answer with Billy. He swung ELEVEN roles in The King and I?!?! Woah. Swings are the true Broadway heroes. That's insane. How cool is it to think that while you watch a Broadway show, a swing might be in the rehearsal room downstairs dancing along with the monitors and practicing.

Billy's Pro-Tip: Rather than asking for a job, tell an artist [with whom you want to work] why you think you speak the same language. Then offer to be compensated only by the experience. I love this. I don't like to shmooze, and this approach validated the way I feel I sometimes work. I've made a few delightful fellow artist connections this way.

***

While taking this workshop/class, I began to repeat some of the mantras in my daily life when going through a related situation. For example, when I don't get seen at an EPA, I exhale, say, "What is meant for me will not pass me by," and smile to go on with the rest of my day. I consider myself a generally joyful person, but the mantras help me channel faith when it becomes situationally difficult.

I CAN DANCE.

What is meant for me will not pass me by.

I am grateful for Jesse, Elise, my classmates, and the guest artists who helped keep my flame shining.  

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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.