Make your Drag King Come Alive on StageMay 01, 2023
Why are some people able to shoot off straight after Kings of Joy Gold Stars and go solo while others are not sure what to do next or even where to start?
I’m Danica Lani, the King Coach and I’ve proudly mentored 78 first-time Drag Kings through Kings of Joy since December 2020.
I want to share with you a path for developing your skills in makeup, costume, and choreography, and strengthening your Drag King persona so you know exactly what to do next and you don’t have to do it alone. Let’s make this fun. Once your Drag King persona gets clearer, you’ll start experiencing more confidence and you’ll have the balls to make your next bold move.
Recently, I sent out an email asking for your top question about being a Drag King and I was so heartwarmed by the response. I wanted to make a quick video and teach you a little about how to master your Drag King persona and your unique style of performance.
Trying to find your unique self-expression isn’t always as simple as people sometimes make it seem. It comes with its challenges. That’s why I’m going to demystify the process of making your Drag King persona come alive on stage. This is going to save you a lot of time, frustration, and confusion.
When I first started out as a Drag King, I had no idea what to do… It’s lonely doing it by yourself and can take 3 times longer. Before I performed as a Drag King, I had little makeup skills. It was terrifying going out in public with my hand drawn on moustache, but that’s all I had. I struggled to find masculine clothes that would fit my size - all menswear was too big for me. And I didn’t know who I was as a Drag King. It took me 6 years to find a name I really resonated with - Dario di Bello.
What I discovered was that it’s way more fun developing your Drag King persona while in a Drag King crew. Before I started collaborating with That Guy Steve and before I was part of a crew I didn’t have the motivation to get gigs or create new routines. After being part of a Drag King group, I got inspired to start working on an idea I’d had forever. I also gained friendship, bromance, and community that had been missing ever since I’d moved to Sydney.
This process was unexpected but worked really well, and that opened the door to doing more gigs together and solo gig opportunities such as Heaps Gay, Sydny Kings, and The Drag Kings, as well as short films, photoshoots, community ad campaigns, and Mardi Gras parade floats.
Imagine if you were able to take your Drag King persona to the next level with ease and without life getting in the way - and your job being such an interruption to your Drag King pursuits. Without having a performance to work towards though, nothing gets done. This is such a common struggle among emerging Drag Kings.
This isn’t just my experience.
I have a really powerful story to share about Max’d Out. They were not a performer and never had any desire to be onstage or dance. In fact, they had a phobia of dancing. After starting Kings of Joy in April 2021, they wanted to continue. And they did. Two Kings of Joy All-Stars group performances and a Drag King solo coaching program later, they achieved their debut solo - an iconic routine of Tom Holland’s Umbrella which they said they never would have done. After participating in Kings of Joy, they have gotten a lot of confidence and have been able to express gender in diverse ways for themselves. In their words, they’ve met amazing people and have had a ball!
There are essentially 10 steps to achieving this transformation:
Step 1: Line up with your values
Step 2: Create your Drag Persona
Step 3: Song choice
Step 4: Study male movement
Step 5: Master lip syncing
Step 6: Create your overall story arch
Step 7: Choreography & props
Step 8: Makeup
Step 9: Costume
Step 10: Learn how to access your masculine energy
In this video, I want to deep dive into accessing your masculine energy so that you can immediately make your drag persona come alive on stage. More importantly, however, is that you will open yourself up to learning the other steps so that you can finally become the best Drag King you can be.
So learning how to access your masculine energy. One of the things that I've studied for quite a few years now is tantra. And in tantra, as well as yoga, we study energy.
You’ve probably heard me say before that energy is the currency of performance. Well in tantra and yoga, we recognise the physical body, and we recognise the energetic body. Your energetic body sits about 10 centimeters above your physical body.
In Tantra, we say that where your attention goes, the energy flows. So when you bring your attention to your crotch and walk from there, the energy will flow from there. You get a more masculine presence.
My gender expression is bi-gender. My physical body is female, my energetic body is male. One of the things I do before going on stage is to channel Dario. I feel into my energetic body and while I'm standing there I take my attention to my crotch and often, with my hand, I start pumping my energetic cock - or c-sock as Pony Boy calls it. That's what I'm doing when I'm backstage. I'm literally pumping and cultivating this energy.
Regardless of your gender or your sexuality, you can try feeling into the energetic cock and play around with that. If you can’t feel anything, then start with your c-sock. The sock down your pants. Thrust into it. Move your hips and the energy will start to move. See what happens when you start to cultivate that masculine energy.
Another way to draw down masculine energy is to picture a funnel above your head, sitting on the top of your head. Now picture the furthest-away star you can imagine in the universe. Imagine the light from the star coming down through the top of your head.
You're literally drawing down energy into your body this way. Next, take your attention to the soles of the feet. Imagine the roots of the trees going out into the ground, deep down into the earth. Then visualise drawing energy back up through your feet. Meet the energy from the top of the head and the souls of your feet at your crotch. You are intentionally cultivating masculine energy. So practice these energy techniques.
One of the things about masculine energy is that it comes through the most when we're present. You have to be present to bring your full presence. And that's what masculine energy is. It's the full presence of you. It is pure consciousness.
Think about someone who's charismatic. It might be an actor or celebrity or someone you spot walking down the street. People notice them. They catch people’s attention when they walk into the room. They're charismatic because they're present - number one. And because they are present, they can bring their full presence which makes them magnetic and charismatic.
You can practice being magnetic with a practice called return to sitting. Take 15 minutes a day for the next week. Find a comfortable place to sit. Put on a timer for 15 minutes and simply practice sitting with your eyes open. When you notice you’re not just sitting anymore, you’re distracted by the little voice in your head or a niggling pain in your body, you bring your attention back to simply sitting. Just practice returning to sitting. That's all you're going to do. Practice noticing when you're not present, and bring yourself back to being present.
Not many people talk about the energetic body and using it for Drag or on stage. But energy truly is the currency of performance and it's how your Drag King persona will come alive on stage. With presence. You can start practicing today.
So imagine for a second what it would feel like to have confidence as your Drag King persona and to come alive on stage. What would your experience be? What kind of impact would that have on your life off the stage - in your relationships?
Imagine that this is your experience. You are rehearsing regularly with your Drag King buddies and fall about laughing every time. Your Drag persona takes to the stage with his mates and the crowd whoops and hollers throughout the whole show. You get a standing ovation! Your group starts getting gigs to perform in shows around town. Your Insta following is growing and people love your Drag persona. This is so much fun! Then, as your confidence and experience grows, maybe you get your first solo gig. People come up to you at queer events and let you know how much they love your Drag King persona.
Getting from not knowing what to do next to being confident in your Drag King persona is absolutely possible for you. When you are able to lean into your masculine expression on stage then you can be confident in yourself as a Drag King and attract the gigs you want, the self-expression you want, and the freedom on stage that you want.
As you can tell, I just love sharing about gender, sexuality, and Drag performance. I’ve been coaching so many Kings of Joy about finding your inner Drag King and have received so much positive feedback. Lately, I’ve been getting so many questions that I've decided to offer another round of Kings of Joy All-Stars.
This program is going to be specifically about taking your Drag King persona to the next level. It's going to go deep on each of those steps I just talked about.
There will be 8 weekly rehearsals starting on Tuesday 9 May. During each rehearsal, we will explore the 10 steps to mastering your Drag King persona - while working towards a group performance at Drag Kingdom. You’re also going to get additional resources and recordings on makeup and costume to support your progress. All of this so that you can be confident on stage, lean into your masculine, discover the unique self-expression in your Drag King persona, and be 100% at home in your own skin.
Now, one important note… You do not have to do this alone. Think about it. How quickly could you do this on your own? It took me six years to come up with a Drag King name that I really loved. It took Gabriel Angel three years to really nail their Drag King persona. It doesn't have to take such a long time for you to master your Drag King persona.
So join me. There’s going to be a limited number of spots - 8 places only - in order to really serve each King who joins me.
It’s going to be coming out very, very soon. Watch your inbox for an email in the next day or so when I open up registration for the Kings of Joy All-Stars. There will not be another program like this for months and it’s very likely the price will be going up next season.
So watch your inbox for this time-sensitive offer for the Kings of Joy All-Stars. You don’t want to miss it!
P.S. If you'd love to be part of a Drag King crew, sign up to the waiting list for Kings of Joy All-Stars here.
Get me in your inbox!
Inspiration and love letters delivered right to your inbox.
No spam. I will never sell your information, for any reason.