I used to have terrible stage fright. Or even just be-in-front-of-a-group fright. It was so bad I would hyperventilate, start to panic, and be on the brink of tears whenever I had to stand up in front of the class for any reason. I distinctly remember almost throwing up and/or passing out while having to recite 20 lines from "Romeo and Juliet" in my 8th grade English class. It was terrifying.
Flash forward 12 years (holy hell, has it been that long?!). I am great in front of small crowds. I have a teaching assistantship to earn money while I'm in school, and so I get practice once a week in talking with authority to a group of students. Piece of cake. With teaching experience and growing bellydance performance experience, I've gotten pretty comfortable with troupe performances. I put on my diva face, go out and have fun. I have come to really enjoy our performances and the chance to be sassy on stage. I really only get a little nervous in the hours leading up to the performance, and some butterflies right before going on stage.
Until now. This Saturday I am doing my first restaurant gig. It is a solo. It is an IMPROVISATIONAL SOLO at that. This is a whole new level of terror for me. Not only will I be dancing by myself, in a close intimate setting. Oh, no. It's improv. This essentially means that I need to be *really REALLY* familiar with my music, and am supposed to just let the dance flow out of me with the music. Hrmm. Easier said than done.
I can dance. I know the moves I can do, and which types of moves go with which parts of the music. But putting it together, making it look cute, maintaining my illusion of confidence and commanding stage presence, all while trying to think on my feet and having to look at my audience?!?! AAAAAAAH!!! Raging crazy backflipping butterflies threatening to evict my breakfast, and it's only Wednesday!
If you need me, I'll be curled up in a ball somewhere, listening to my dance music and rocking back and forth. Until Saturday night I will be a basketcase. After that, I'm anticipating being a drunk puddle of mush. Then I'll be great, excited, happy, and possibly ready to do it again.
Until my next solo, that is.