Lessons from the Nutcracker – Presence Matters

My girls just finished dancing in the Nutcracker for this year, and I got to work backstage for the first time. It was fun, and all of the work and detail that goes into each and every performance is astounding. I learned a lot working backstage and thought I would share a few of those lessons in a mini blog series.

Presence Matters

One of the things I noticed working backstage was how the dancers would come off stage. They would leave the stage wearing a huge grin and then once they were in the wings shift to a serious face instantly, already thinking about what was next. Once, a dancer ran off stage, mentioned how exhausted she was, and then put on a huge smile and walked right back on stage like it was no big deal.

One of the best moments of presence comes at the end of the snow dance. When you watch from the audience, you see the dancers all in line with their arms up and smiles on their faces as Clara is whisked away in a sleigh. When you watch from side stage, you notice that the dancers have smiles on their faces, but they are breathing heavily to catch their breath through those smiles. Though they are tired and out of breath, their presence is never affected. From the audience perspective, their presence is perfect.

The presence that the dancers have makes the performance. It makes them enjoyable to watch, helping complex dances seem effortless. It allows them to command the stage and engage the audience. Their presence gives them that professional aura that captivates.

I believe that how we portray ourselves, our presence, has more impact on others than we realize. Today I’ll be taking a lesson from those dancers and will make sure I have a presence that encourages, inspires and connects with others.

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