Above: Photo of Jo Weldon by Don Spiro.
I'm in AA, and one of the techniques sponsors/advisors use when someone calls them freaking out and feeling despair or fear is to tell us to call someone else and see how THEY feel. And it works! When I focus on someone else's needs, I worry less about my own.
So here’s my answer for the person who asked me how to feel more confident onstage : When you feel unpleasantly self-conscious onstage, remember that the opposite of self-consciousness is other-consciousness. Think about the people in the audience. How can you connect to them? How can you honor the time and money they spent to come see you? It can change everything to look at them and think, “thank you for coming!” or “you look fabulous!” or “let me tell you something,” etc., whatever is appropriate for the persona in your number. Talk to them in your mind instead of letting your fearful self-talk run free. Think about how they’re doing, and how wonderful they are for showing up to support live art. If you think about them, ("what do they think of me" is still thinking about yourself, BTW) you’ll stop thinking about yourself, which is the confidence killer. Instead of trying to make myself feel better, I try to make the audience feel better. For instance, in a seductive number, I stop worrying about convincing them that I'm sexy, and work on convincing them that THEY are sexy. It works every time!
Soon I'll be posting my ultimate striptease series, in which I take students much deeper into this practice and talk about all the techniques I use to stay connected to the people watching me, while learning how to express affection, humor, and sensuality. Stay tuned for more details!
Feel free to post comment or suggestions in the comments.
And if this tip, or any of my posts here or over the years, helped you, and you want to show your appreciation, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee!