We won the finnish championship of busking 2014 at the Faces festival with Keke Lammassaari, and it has brought up a lot of thoughts on the subject for this singer/songwriter who started her busking career just weeks before the competition. I learned a lot, gained valuable experience and insights I want to share.
OK, so, who is a busker anyway? As an "artist", do I belong to the street? Can a busker climb on the stage? We did, on the finals. A common thing I have run up to is that many think that we played covers. No, we played our own songs, own lyrics and poetry. Both mine and Keke's. We have both a long history of songwriting and were new to busking. What happened?
We really had no idea at first, it was an adventure. We never realized to collect money. The essence of the whole thing was the joy of playing and singing together. We learned that there are a lot of people who don't seem to listen or notice at all. But surprisingly many were and what was born were magical acquaintances and a different connection to the audience you meet. Some people would stop and listen for some time, maybe talk to you afterwards.
As a performing artist and having done concerts&gigs for some time you get used to people usually paying their attention to you. Well, yeah, usually, depending on your stage venue. But still, even if you are in a club playing, you are an act of the evening and someone wanted you there. Who wanted to hear you on the street?
One of the most valuable gems from busking was to learn not to care if someone seemed to listen or not. The need to be looking for the audience's approval falls away into a totally different category. You realize that there's no way you are going to do it if you can't enjoy it yourself. Playing what I want, singing it they way that I want. Suddenly there's a freedom from the public's eye. And then you become more close to the people. You are there, present, aware, and if someone wants to talk to you, they can. Not trying to put yourself into a pedestal, but being willing to connect.
Ways to value your work as a busker is to go and experience someone else busking. One of the most intriguing moments have been walking in the town and suddenly hearing some old man singing old schlagers. In places that you aren't used to hearing music it feels uplifting and exciting to hear it.
I took part in a contest to win a scholarship for essence of bellydance teacher training. I didn't make the wins, but I discovered a deeper relationship with my philosophy on dance.
Like I tell you in my contest video, I never thought I would become a dancer. I haven't taken really any lessons when I was young, so I thought the game was over. I have taken my first ballet class seven months ago with no idea of what is a tendu or plie. I really thought for a long time it was too late to start or "become" a dancer. Sometimes I feel like digging a hole for myself in the ground when I see people who started as children and have a longer background in their dance studies.
That brings me to a question: what is dance really for? What is it for me? Why do I dance anyway?
I went to bellydance class when I was in my twenties. As a beginner in dance it felt really natural and it was fun to move my body in a feminine way. There was always this longing to be feminine and becoming more in touch with my body really made it more real. We could actually go and be WOMEN and enjoy of it! No need to be hiding our hips or feel embarrassed. I think to really shine there needs to be a certain level of acceptance with your body and movement.
Since that bellydance has been on and off in my life. For some years I was a "closet-dancer", dancing in the privacy of my home. Recently it has become all the more bigger part of my life. And peeking a new way of life.
Because it is not just about dance.
Whether it is bellydance, ballet, hiphop, modern dance, improvisation
WHY do I dance? Where does it come from? What is moving me?
A longing to feel the dance from the inside out. Express my emotions and feminine essence. To feel the body with a growing awareness and presence. Tapping into the moment of NOW. Whether it was learning your technique, memorizing a new choreography, improvising on a theme. Cultivating a new relationship with sensuality and sensing the body, mind and soul.
I often fall into a pit of thinking I am not ready enough. Not ready to dance, not ready to perform, to choreo, improvise... thinking i need to be accomplishing all the time. A need to be somewhere else all the time and this moment is never good enough.
When this moment is perfect.
By being fully present and accepting this moment there is born a magic portal to step through to a journey of discovery, transformation and creativity.
Sometimes we really need opportunities to let go and be with ourselves and each other. Moments to show some loving for your hips. A dance practice that derives from a communication of self-love, healing and beauty. Beauty, that comes from the inside out, thru accepting and loving yourself in the moment of Now.