It's art that pushes against psychological and social expectations, that tries to transform decay into something generative. . .
- Jerry Saltz
Have you ever gone to see a show and had one of those mind-bending experiences that changes your perception of something forever? This happened to me last weekend:
A glamorous woman in a sparkly red dress floated onstage, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!" Was this a musical? No, it was a burlesque performance. And this woman singing the Mr. Rogers theme song was the M.C. and director of Showgirl Awakenings, Kellita Maloof. It wasn't at all what I was expecting for the top of a burlesque show.
And yet, she knew exactly what she was doing, as I was soon to find out. She set the tone for us and drew us in as a "neighborhood community" there to witness each act and she even gave us permission to hoot and holler when a dancer showed "some skin or. . . a new part of her essence."
She gave us instructions for how to enjoy what we were seeing. And she made it safe and comfortable and fun!
Was it hot and sexy watching dancers come out and artfully dance off their clothing?
And it was also completely sacred.
Kellita, having set the tone and maintaining a constant narrative as she introduced the dancers throughout, had curated the entire experience beginning to end in a way - even the way the ushers checked us in by asking, "which dancer are you here to see?" - that changed burlesque for me forever.
And it made me think how many of us - even the most imaginative among us - can get boxed into our own style/form/way of doing things so that we limit ourselves from potential avenues of awakening our audiences?
So this week, I ask you to consider two things about your creative process:
Where do you set limitations on yourself for what a form/style/medium is supposed to be? Have you put dichotomies in place [ie. sexy v. sacred] that are obstructing your view of something bigger that your work could become?
How could you disrupt the paradigm by taking whatever it is that you are creating/doing RIGHT NOW and alter it so that it is not exactly what people expect when they come to see it?
It is those performances that disrupt and go outside of limitations that alter the way I see things, that make a huge impact and stay with me forever. So, where have you become blind to your own process? How can you be a disruptor in order to unearth some new gems in your work?
Wishing you lots of disrupting creative activities this week;)
P.S. Kellita Maloof of Showgirls Awakening was a fascinating guest on the Performers & Creators Lab Podcast recently as she shared about her journey going from dancing ballet to burlesque, how she was able to "come back into her body" after trauma, the difference between immanence and transcendence and so much more!
Click here to listen to that episode>> E24 Showgirl Shaman Shares Her Secrets.