The V Word

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.

Ernest Hemingway

As a teacher in the performing arts (especially one who hones in on organic gesture, free phonation, and removal of muscular “dressing”), Vulnerability can become a kind of buzz word. 

Beyond standing in front of an audience alone, living up to rigorous expectations, and constantly competing and re-competing for employment, there are many ways performers have to step towards fear. Vocal training requires you to accept that your voice may not sound the way it always has (a sound that has always been comforting before and is now no longer an option.) Acting training requires you to allow yourself to follow a physical or musical impulse without necessarily knowing what it is or how it will sound. Being a performer requires you to feel your deepest emotions not only in the public but with people intently watching.

It is in this area of the unknown that creativity thrives. Returning to Hemingway then, we must risk the possibility of destruction and wounds to share the expression of our innermost creativity. But in doing so, we unlock the ability to move forward in our craft.