The Body is the Tool of the Performer

The physical body is the tool of the performer. It’s the means for expression.

I know many people come to performance coaching looking for suggestions on what to do with their hands, or how to walk around on stage. A lot of classes will give you postures and movements to explore.

But, in my opinion, it’s not moves you need to learn, it’s the freedom to fully express from your body that can guide your movement. Basically, if you were totally present up there, you would know what to do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think learning movements is a fantastic approach. The movements I teach, though, are more meant to help cause physiological state changes that will guide what you do on stage.

Here’s a practice:

  1. Stand up, hands at your side.
  2. Relax the body, breathe, let things go.
  3. Now adopt a position as if you were a sculpture that was called “Cowardice.”
    Really exaggerate this posture, (let yourself go a little overboard with it). What does it feel like to be in that pose?
  4. Now rest, stand, breathe.
  5. Adopt a position as if you were a sculpture entitled “Confidence.” What does it feel like to be in that pose? Notice any differences in the kinds of thoughts you were having?

This is a pretty simple exercise to exemplify the power that our physical being is having over our mental and emotional experience.

Moving through these postures has a huge impact on our state, which is sort of like your way of being in any moment: mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually.

A confident state will affect movement, words and emotions so that they all reflect this state.

And it’s this state that audiences respond to.

So it’s pretty important that we understand our body as speakers and performers. And it’s pretty important that we’re practicing awareness of the body so that we’re able to better use our body to impact our performances in an intentional way.

More to come ...

About Justin

Justin Follin is an Executive presentation and performance coach/consultant. He specializes in working with public speakers, visionaries, performers and organizational leaders to 'up their game' in front of any audience. His unorthodox approach combines mindfulness, leadership development training, improvisational exercises and executive coaching tools to transform his clients’ abilities to inspire and lead. His work helps speakers and performers connect with audiences, better articulate core messages, and shift their ability to deliver big impact, dynamic presentations in high pressure situations. In a short amount of time, Justin’s clients experience far greater freedom and ease on stage an off--many overcoming long standing public speaking or stage anxiety in a matter of weeks. Along with his private consulting work, he is a communications and marketing lead for a global leadership and management consultancy as well as a singer, songwriter and bandleader in Austin, Texas.
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