Teaching stage presence for performers has long stumped professionals throughout the arts. Some teachers bemoan that it just isn't something you can learn, you either have it or you don't. Some students choose dance styles where they don't have to smile as if that will solve their stage presence problem.
Research conducted with audiences demonstrate that 80% of the time they would rather see a dancer with good stage presence than one with excellent technique who looks uncomfortable on the stage. Even knowing this, as teachers we spend 95% of our time on technique. Our work on stage presence sometimes just consists of saying "ok, this time when we run through it make sure to smile."
In Part One of this two part class, we will draw from sports psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy to explore the ways you can teach students to improve their stage presence through techniques that focus on the Mind, Body, and achieving a state of Flow.
Lisa Allred was introduced to bellydancing in 2004 by her twin sister, Terri. Soon thereafter she started attending classes with Dawn Ruckert and fell in love with ATS® . The group format, challenging improvisation, shared leadership and beauty resonated with her in a profound way. The universal language of ATS® has allowed her to dance with others from around the world and to make so many new friends. She is a Director of Dayanisma, a well known ATS® troupe located in Raleigh, NC. In pursuance of her love of group improvisation, she has also attended Fly Fusion® Foundation Certification course and loves the way this vocabulary has enriched her dance.
In addition to teaching at the BDBA, Lisa is also a licensed clinical social worker with over 30 years experience working with children, families, communities and nonprofits. As a clinician she specialized in helping victims of child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence (domestic violence), and sexual assault. She has advocated for survivors by leading coalitions that changed NC laws (marital rape and stalking), running nonprofits dedicated to these issues and serving as an expert witness for the courts. She is employed full-time for a large company in their Work/Life department and assists employees with personal issues related to parenting, relationships and achieving work/life balance. She has also served on the Ethics Committee for the NC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and as an adjunct instructor at NC State University in the Graduate School of Social Work.
I attended a live session of the VERY helpful Stage Presence workshop presented by Lisa Allred & Natalie Lavorato. I'd recently read several books on new neuroscience research and was excited to see much of what I had learned from my personal research included in the session. Also surprising was that I had not thought to apply any of it to dance! The workshop clearly defined the disconnect between technique & stage presence in an easily understandable way. A simple questionaire was provided to assist in determining what would most impede the ability to achieve great stage presence, followed by how to best remove these impediments. Following that were great strategies, personal plan lists to prep yourself for stage comfort & audience engagement - simple body work methods, ways to connect to music/self, how to get into Flow,and more. I highly recommend this workshop to any dancer who would love to have great stage presence! Lynn Hoffman