November Artist Spotlight
Getting to Know Lisa Michelle
Motivated Movers Community Ambassador
The incomparable Lisa Michelle is an inspiring woman to be around, an integral part of the Motivated Movers team, and a true creative force to be reckoned with. We have had the immense privilege of getting to know her over the last year and we are beyond grateful to share a little bit of her heart with you today.
When were you first drawn to the artistic community?
My family loved the theatre and since we were only an hour from the city, many weekends my parents would take us to see Broadway shows, so music has always been a big part of my life. However, growing up I was painfully shy, so it’s pretty ironic how I ended up in this field. My mom finally put me in weekly voice lessons because she thought it would help me overcome my fear of talking. It definitely worked since I haven’t stopped singing since.
Can you elaborate specifically on what value the artistic community brings to your life?
For me, the artistic community brings a form of escapism. The rehearsal process has always been my favorite part, where you can work with people who have also signed on for this crazy ride. There’s nothing that compares to learning the relationships, movements, and inner workings of a new show. Then, when you finally build this community on stage with other artists, it’s magical to share it with an audience. It’s amazing to be able to step into someone else’s shoes and live vicariously through them for a night.
Identify a personal challenge you face by being part of the community.
Judgment. It’s definitely a personal challenge I face daily. Am I too short, too pale, too skinny, not skinny enough, will they like my song choice, is this the tenth time they’ve heard this song today? When you walk in a room, you so desperately want to be what the team is looking for. I think this is the biggest trap an actor can fall into. It was, and still is, an extremely hard concept for me to grasp, but when I can let go of what I “think” the creative team is looking for, and just be myself, I have much more successful auditions.
What inspires you?
All things music. Whether it be listening to a choir sing tight harmony lines or listening to an actor pour their soul into their work. I love being in an audience and feeling their emotions and vulnerability. It makes me want to get up and stand beside them.
How is movement incorporated into your everyday life?
Living in this crazy city, movement is a part of my everyday life. I need to be moving and dancing a few times a week as it allows me to clear my head. Dance class is my form of therapy where I can assess my struggles and accomplishments.
Can you talk about what your journey has been like with dance?
My mom put me in dance classes when I was was very young and I lasted about two years before telling her I couldn’t handle the itchy costumes. So, instead I grew up doing gymnastics and cheerleading. I definitely wish at times I would have stuck it out as it would make life so much easier now, but then I think if I had already “perfected” dancing, what would be the point? Half the fun is continuing to grow and learn and have these accomplishments in the classroom, so you can then bring them to an audition room and show them how much you have grown.
You have become such an integral part of the Motivated Movers Community, can you talk about your role as a Community Ambassador?
I love being a Community Ambassador. Since moving here, I always took classes at other dance studios around the city, but I never felt the support and loving environment that I felt when I took my first class with Motivated Movers. After that, I was hooked. It’s amazing to be apart of a community with fellow artists who understand the daily struggle we face, but are also there to celebrate your accomplishments with you. Being able to spread that love and joy to others, makes this journey even more worth with it.
You have a very exciting opportunity coming up this holiday season! Can you tell us a little about that?
Finally! I will be playing Fan/Tiny Tim and a few other characters in the National Tour of A Christmas Carol this winter which allowed me to join Equity last week! Definitely one of the most rewarding days I’ve had. We will be touring most of the North and Southeast and I’m hoping I remember all of my costume changes!
How does this contract play into your personal definition of success?
I think success can be defined in many ways. Just because you may not be working on a current contract, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a successful actor. With that being said, it’s definitely validating after being in the city for a few years and dragging my butt to dance and voice lessons week after to week, to finally come home with a contract and Equity card. It makes me realize I am on the right path for “me” and that my hard work is paying off.
How important is success to your personal and artistic fulfillment? Is success the aim of the game?
Success is extremely important to my personal and artistic fulfillment although that can change along the way. Right now it might be just booking a contract and being able to perform a show on stage, but in the future it could mean booking multiple contracts back to back so I could support myself without a survival job. Get those health insurance weeks!! I am excited to embark on my first tour and be a professional actor for the next two months. Not having to ask someone what kind of vodka they would like in their dirty martini is definitely personal fulfillment. But also remembering where I came from is just as important as all of those nights at different survival jobs as it helps create the person I want to be and will make my version of artistic fulfillment all the more rewarding.
If you could share anything with the Motivated Movers Community, what would you say?
I think surrounding yourself with people who support, love, and celebrate you is the most important thing you can find. For me, I have found that within the Motivated Movers Community. After taking Face the Fear and really talking about career goals as well as dance/movement, I feel like a change happened. It’s hard not to become negative in a city that can seem like a black hole. When you start believing in yourself, the vulnerability and positive change in attitude will allow for others to see how amazing you are too. It sounds corny, but my words of advice are to just let go and get out of your head, that’s when the fun begins so #embracemovement.