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The Art of Multidimensional Performance

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What makes a great performer great? I don't necessarily mean great as in popular. I mean great as in rivetting and magical. I'd love to hear what people think about that.

I have my own theory about how we can cultivate our greatness as performers. This theory arose out of my explorations into the Yungdrung Buddhist studies several years ago.

I like to think of performing as a multidimensional event. There is the external dimension at which everything is about the crowd, the environment, our bandmates, our voice teachers, and external validation. It is neither good nor bad, positive nor negative. But if it is our sole focus, our performance is out of balance and inauthentic.

There is also the internal dimension. There are of course many excellent performers who operate more so from this level at which the focus is on the energy of self, our emotions, the physical self, our phrasing, and our actual voice. It is obvious why this tends to be the dimension of which we are most aware as singers. But if we get stuck here, the imbalance can result in self-importance, and we lose our fluidity.

The dimension that is often lacking or acknowledged is the one that that adds greater depth to what we bring to our performances. It is the dimension of the secret realm. I'm using the word "secret" here as the Buddhist do...to mean hidden. It is because it remains out of our tangible reality that it is often dismissed or ignored. On this level, the focus becomes the energy of spirit, the meaning beyond the lyrics, our connection to other, our presence and light, and turning to something bigger than self. This level must be grounded by the other two, or we lack substance.

I am developing a body of work that brings to light these dimensions as they pertain to performance which will expand upon the traps that each dimension contains when we tend to favor one and neglect the others. It is only in moving fluidly though and between each dimension that we become whole performers, balanced, rivetting and magical. It is a practice that can be cultivated with our awareness and the conscious consideration we are willing to give to our singing. I welcome your comments!

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