On the journey through life, my train often takes a layover at Procrastination Station. Couple that with a busy schedule, and I’m even late getting there.
Recently, I traveled to Los Angeles, where I stayed a week, then flew to Cleveland, saw friends and family, then rented a car, and drove four hours to Cincinnati, where I stayed two days before returning to Cleveland on Saturday evening. That night, I had a performance scheduled for Yalla, a gala show at Bohemian National Hall. Having arrived in Cleveland at 5:45, I had about an hour and 15 minutes to prepare for the show: do hair and makeup, pack dance bag, double check the event address, burn my music for the DJ, and drive to the venue. Not only had I not prepared my CDs ahead of time, I hadn’t committed with certainty to the song I would use for my improvisation. Needless to say, I hadn’t practiced, either, and was going in with an “I do this all the time” attitude.
Everything took longer than I had planned–There was a detour on the drive back from Cincinnati, (the drive itself had been delayed by an extended brunch with a favorite friend), Bohemian National Hall was in a different part of the city than I’d thought, and once I got there, I couldn’t find the dressing room. I was barely in costume by the time the show began, and as luck would have it, I was the first performer. I entered the stage frazzled and unfocused, and gave a mediocre performance. To me, it felt both mechanical and frenzied. It wasn’t a terrible performance–I mean, I’m not embarrassed that it was recorded, or anything, but I certainly won’t be requesting a copy of the DVD.
The moral of this story is, in order to give my all in a performance, I need to take it seriously–prepare in advance, leave time for the unexpected, and allow myself to get centered before I take the stage.
Which reminds me, I still need to choose my songs for this Friday’s live music show in Virginia and pack my suitcase–I have a plane to catch in three hours.