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Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety

Give a lip sync challenge to a team of ‘A-type’ personalities and results-producers in life, and what are you going to get? Performance anxiety. Where’s my prop? Can I use props? Will there be a microphone stand? Do I have to hold a mic and what if it gets in the way of my dance moves? Will I have learnt the lyrics to my song by Friday? Which song should I pick out of these two? How come I still look like a man in this wig?

How much can preparation circumvent performance anxiety? Does it give us the confidence and self-backing to perform or is it better to put it all aside and simply show up on the night? Some preparation I’m hearing about from my colleagues includes everything from the classic singing into a hairbrush to dedicated mirror-work, lip control and being with oneself in the mirror. Learning lyrics, trying out dance moves and studying the lip syncing work of others…

Here’s one of my favourites from Emma Stone – check out that mouth!

Lip Sync Battle…

Lip Sync Battle…

Whoever put me in charge of our work End of Year function may now be regretting it. I’ve been busting to get my hands on a group of people I can wrangle into doing a Lip Sync Battle. In fact, I’ve been dropping it into conversation and party suggestions for over a year. Finally, after a colleague mildly suggested I do something that gets everyone out of their comfort zones, the opportunity to battle it out while lip syncing to a pre-chosen song became obvious.

How it works:

Each contestant takes turns in lip syncing sections of well-known songs, each one of them trying to lip sync better than the other. No one knows the song the other has picked. Only the person performing knows which song is coming next.

Here’s one of the early Jimmy Fallon battles:

Body Party

Body Party

I first met Luke Wilkie on the set of the Australian television series, Offspring. We were both hired as dancers from the Body Electric crew to dance in a club called “Tuff Muff“ (I kid you not) behind Deborah Mailman (**in awe**), Asher Keddie and cast. (Spot the leopard print dress!) I love falling in love with people on the dance floor.

A while later I discovered that Luke had a skill set and impressive library, not only as a much loved and followed instagrammer, but in music production. He did a remix of one of the songs off my debut ep micromovements and our collaboration has been growing. We essentially create electro-pop music that makes you move. We’ve created a couple of original tracks, some covers and have performed at a few underground warehouse parties in Melbourne. We are called Body Party. I look forward to sharing more of our journey with you…

Body Party walk 281012

Love

Danica

The Spark Finale

The Spark Finale

Here’s a snapshot of the concert from this year’s Spark Festival – for adults with intellectual disabilities to explore what’s possible inside the Arts. After two days of back-to-back workshops, the participants choose a group (or two) to be in to perform in the grand finale concert.

Walking into the auditorium, the grand reveal was behind heavy black curtains – a world of wonder, colour and awe. The space had been transformed as we walked through the hula dancers greeting us and gazed up at stilt walkers in incredible costumes amongst jugglers, trapeze artists and heart sculptures. It really was moving.

And so the concert began – wait until you see the final act by aerial artist, Paul Nunnari, grand final participant in Australia’s Got Talent. This guy will blow your mind.

Love

Danica

What is self-expression?

What is self-expression?

I’m at home on the dance floor. For any of you who have spent time with me busting out some moves, that’s where my professional fun starting career really began. With you. I consider it my personal mission to create the freedom and permission for full self-expression on the dance floor – to smash the walls and masks of looking good and give it all up in service of humanity. We’re all human after all. I’m on the dance floor again, at the Spark Festival, and there is not a lot of ‘looking good’ getting in the way here. People move and express themselves however they are. This is my kind of playground.

Love

Danica

Put this on your Bucket List

Put this on your Bucket List

When was the last time, if ever, you shared a hug with a person who has Down’s Syndrome? I’m on the dance floor at the Spark Festival Disco when the last song is played and the disco lights are suddenly replaced by fluorescent lights and the night is over. I walk past a group of people I haven’t met yet when a young man turns around and sees me looking over at them. His face lights up with an immense amount of joy at seeing me then he opens his arms and comes straight over. We share a delightful hug and walk out together, waving goodbye at the door. It made me wonder – what would the world be like if all human beings greeted each other that way and received each other that way. I wonder if joy is actually our natural resting state, our natural self-expression?

Love

Danica

 

Vocal memories

Vocal memories

I grew up with my Mum and my three sisters singing in 4-part harmony while we did the dishes. We had a song for calling in the chooks, we had a song for taking out the compost, and we had songs we sang over washing and drying the dishes. We made tapes and sent them over to family in Wales. Let’s do a tape for Nana! Mum wrote her own songs that we sang about living in a full house, Tiananmen Square, peace, whales and recycling. She also taught us songs from Sweet Honey in the Rock and other far flung areas of the globe, like Chile. It made for a rich and fulfilling environment growing up. She used to take us to the Daylesford Singers Festival over New Year.

When I was 14 years old, Mum, Dad, two of my sisters and me travelled to Wales. My brother and eldest sister stayed in Australia. I remember visiting my Uncle’s house. Mum was sitting on the couch between her two sisters who she hadn’t seen in 25 years. Suddenly, they start singing in 3-part harmony. It was magic. The Welsh have a strong tradition of group singing.

Singing in harmony is mostly about listening and giving up the need to lead. Surrendering to following and being one with another – in fact a group of others. And it’s a dance. There are times to lead and times to follow…  I wonder where else this shows up in life?

 

Love

Danica

Preparation for the Spark Festival

Preparation for the Spark Festival

I’ve been invited to lead 9 singing workshops over 3 days this week at the live-in Spark Festival! The whole thing ends with a concert (oh my god, where’s my costume?! Oh, that’s right, it’s not about me.) I’ve created a workshop called:

Sing your Heart Out

Your body is an orchestra with voice as the main instrument. Discover the joy of singing together as we use our bodies and voices to explore sound, rhythm and song. Enter the symphony of music: we will sing our hearts out with an uplifting modern song.

Each group will come in for 45 mins and participate in the workshop. On the third day, the participants get to go back to their favourite workshop and be in that group for the concert.

Did I mention the participants have an intellectual disability? Hardly seemed relevant and yet central and integral as the Spark Festival was developed in recognition of the barriers to participation for many adults with an intellectual disability in the Arts. Adrienne Coulter is the spark behind the Spark Festival – a woman with a big heart and committed to making a palpable and tangible difference.

See last year’s fun here:

Love

Danica

Edo & Jo

Edo & Jo

Every morning I wake from sleep to the sweet dulcet tones of Jo’s voice singing:

asato ma sadgamaya

tamaso ma jyotirgamaya

mrtyorma amrtam gamaya

Oh lead me to the truth

From darkness to the light

This body to eternal life

Oh lead me to you

https://soundcloud.com/edoandjo/asatoma

Together with her beloved, the mantra music of Edo & Jo is the most peaceful re-awakening into daily life.

Last night she passed away, surrounded by loved ones. Jo is VAANI which means Goddess of Creativity and she has left a much loved legacy of recordings and touched the hearts of many people. As integral members of our spiritual community at Shanti Mission, Edo and Jo introduced our Guru, Shakti Durga to Sri Sakthi Amma in India who embodies the Divine Feminine.

Edo says:

I found this note she wrote on Sept 8 one of her last diary entries before the pain and weakness got too much…

Jo wrote: 
I asked Amma “how can the whole universe be within me? Please show me”. Amma took me on an astral travel moving from “me” to the city, to the country, world, universes, galaxies, where so many planets exist. We kept flying through space. “But Amma, how does this all exist within me?” I ask Her. Just then, the travel continues through the galaxies and then ends in my heart. “see Jo, there’s no separation, Jo is there “pointing to the origin where I am the size of a mustard seed. “and Jo is here too” – with the entire universe within me. She took me for a good ride that night…

[Full Facebook post here]

Listen to their music here

Om Namo Narayani

Before crowd funding…

Before crowd funding…

10 years ago, I was crowd funding my music before I even knew what crowd funding was. I got the idea from one of the Indi women’s groups I followed on the folk festival circuit. They asked for people to pre-purchase a copy of their upcoming CD as a way to fund it.

I had friends in Melbourne who used to write letters to me and ask, ‘Danica, could you record some of your music and send it to me? It would help me to be able to listen to some of your songs.’ During The Artist’s Way I realised that I could let my fear stop me for the rest of my life, or I could do it now, fear or no fear. I looked for ‘synchronicity leads’, as Julia Cameron calls them, and I found one – a business card given to me by Jac Carlin.

We’d met at the National Folk Festival in Canberra – I got myself up on the chalk board with my guitar and some songs and she was the techie. Something went wrong with the sound during my set and she gave me her card saying, ‘I loved your songs, let me do sound for you again and do it properly.

The Angel Train was a home based recording studio in Canberra run by Jac and Greg Carlin. I’d drive 2.5 hours along dirt roads from Moruya, NSW, bearing organic home grown vegetables and stay over. Jac and I would do Dru Yoga before entering the recording studio and in there, I recorded my first ep, ‘micromovements’. It was a gift back to my community. (msg me here if you’d like a copy – $10 +p&h)

This track, ‘u deserve’ was selected to be on a female compliation CD in LA called females on fire orchestrated by musician and entrepreneur, gilli moon.

https://soundcloud.com/danica-lani/u-deserve

photo credit: Gitta photography