Tag Archives: san francisco

Movement, Yoga, Dance = Better Actor

25 Feb

I think there’s more to an actor’s training than just acting classes. During my short stint at Tisch, our three days a week in the Studio consisted of classes like Movement, Voice and Speech in addition to Performance Technique and Script Analysis. Today I took a lyrical jazz class and it made me think about how important other classes and practices are to being a successfully, well-rounded actor. Not just in building other skills that could be good selling points to an agency or casting director or producer, but in building your self-esteem, your character, your body.

During the warm up portion of this unconventional dance class, we gathered in a circle and micked the person in the center who would do some wacky dance move then pass the baton to someone else. I turned to my friend and said, “This reminds me of theater class!” It was so fun watching the diverse group of women (and one fearless man) let go of inhibitions and not care or worry about the moves they were making. Then, the second half of the class we learned and performed a few measures of choreography. At first I was in my head about counts and was it my left foot first or my right foot… but after a few times, and the teacher saying “just feel the music” I learned to let go. The teacher dimmed the lights, turned up the volume and let us all move to the music with the way we interpreted her choreography and it felt great.

This may sound really cheesy and maybe you don’t agree, but freeing my body and really feeling the music opened me up emotionally. Physically engaging every fiber in my body unleashed the non-physical parts that make up who I am. It reminded me of a particularly challenging moment of a scene in a scene study class I took at ACT in San Francisco. The teacher pointed out to me that I kept holding on to my breath at this one part. I didn’t notice, as often we don’t notice the various habits and crutches we develop as an actor (some are great unique traits to embrace, and others are inhibiting and worth checking out). I then took a deep breath, shook it off and started over. As I worked my way through the scene ,so much more began bubbling inside of me. Literally. I could feel it, like you feel your tummy rumble when you’re hungry. That performance was so much more grounded than my previous rehearsals all due to breathing!

I’ve also taken dance classes, like jazz, hip hop, belly dance, and even yoga classes, which have all (whether they were more focused on professionalism and technique or just having fun and using your body) been beneficial to my acting in some way.

Dance & Yoga Resources in LA:

The EDGE Performing Arts Center
IDA Hollywood
Millenium Dance Center
Liberation Yoga

A Lovely NOTE

10 Feb

Though I grew up in LA and want to be an actor, I’ve spent a lot of time away from our beloved sunny city. First in New York and then in San Francisco. It’s that hilly city that kept me away for so long. When I first (kinda)  returned to LA in ’08 I researched theater companies because I wanted to find what I was so fortunate to have found in SF (PianoFight). I wanted a theater community, but one that would also help me in the world of Hollywood and the whole “business” side. I scoured the acting blogs, message boards, online forums and one theater company kept popping up, so I thought, I have to check them out. I went to see their show, email corresponded with their incredibly friendly and helpful new membership chair and ultimately landed myself an audition/interview, which landed me official membership to the company.

And then I went on leave.

I know, doesn’t seem to make much sense does it? This is what I wanted. I found it and I got it and then I leave it behind?? Well, I think I still wasn’t quite through with our rival North and, quite honestly, still a little scared of really doing it in LA. (Well I don’t think of them as rival, but I know they do of us!) For the next year, I was continually going back and forth between SF and LA, spending weeks and sometimes months at a time in the Bay Area. In a sense, I was weaning myself off of that life and slowly matriculating into the one here.

Now that I’m really here and I mean it this time (it feels different), I’m ready to commit to things I wasn’t before, as scary as it still is. (Call me a scardy cat, but, I’m like terrified every step of the way). So, when the monthly company meeting rolled around for my theater company I debated and debated whether or not to attend. I had no more excuses. I’m in LA. I have no other obligations. I’m here for good. What’s the problem? I felt like I’d been away for too long. And I started making all these excuses in my head as to why I should just forget about the whole theater company altogether- they never cast me in the shows I had auditioned for in the beginning, I still don’t know anyone, it’s intimidating there are SO many of them, no one’s going to care if I return, what good is being a company member really going to do me anyway, and the list goes on. But this was all FEAR talking. It’s not what I really thought. So I talked to my dad, my boyfriend, had a word or two with myself and got myself to get into the car and go.

And I’m so glad I did.

I took a deep breath and then stepped inside the theater. Immediately I saw a few friendly faces I could easily walk up and say hi to. It felt good. They were happy to see me. I was happy to see them. Then I spent the next two hours sitting in the risers listening to all of the amazing things the company had going on in the next few weeks and few months. All of the reasons I originally became a member came flooding back to me. I felt so proud sitting in that seat. I had picked them, but they had also picked me. I felt reinvigorated. I felt ready to take on this acting thing. Every few months, I need to be re-energized. Re-reminded of what it takes and why I’m doing what it takes to get what I want. It’s important to get a friendly little reminder because this business is tough. This month, that lovely reminder note came from Theatre of NOTE, my LA theater company.

Moving Forward: Harlequin Baby

7 Jan

I will be saying a lot over the course of this blog some variation of: Make Your Own Work, Be Proactive, Fake It ’til You Make It, Just Do It….. and so on.

Point being, to pursue a creative profession you must actually create.

A great example is my very own sister who’s had music in her blood ever since she was born. She’s still in college, but that hasn’t stopped her from making music and being heard. No, she doesn’t have an agent, a manager or a record deal but that doesn’t mean she can’t continue creating songs and performing whenever and wherever she can. She’s gone from playing for an audience of one in her room, to performing private shows in her co-op style house, to getting air time on college radio stations like UC Berkeley’s KALX and UC Santa Cruz’s KZSC.

Tonight she is taking another step forward, as she plays with her band Harlequin Baby at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery in San Francisco. If you happen to be in Nor Cal, please check out the show tonight from 7-9pm @ 3166 16th St. bw Guerrero & Valencia.