Typically when you think of nutritional blog posts you see them at the beginning of the year for the “get back into shape” marathon of commercials and advertising not about gigging. But what I want to talk about is more related to nutrition and stamina. In one evening, we can have anywhere from 2-4 gigs, either back to back or perhaps spaced out. If you have an engagement before you start your night of gigging, you may not have time to eat a relaxing meal before you are thrust onto the road, sparkles in hand, ready to get multiple parties started.
What i want to focus on is how to keep your energy up while doing all of these things.
Both in advance, during and after.
Stamina training. As much as we all love to think that teaching or taking a class is the same as performing, it isn’t. So much more goes into it. and your energy is usually focused outward in order to give and give to the audience. if you’re not used to it then it can be more draining than it needs to be and your performance at the end of the night can be very different from that at the end. And we all want our audiences to get the same quality of performance.
practice is the only way to do this. Practice your sets. You can use improv if you like but still practice for that full 20-30 minutes every night. to a camera or not it is your choice but it needs to happen. You can even go so far as to set up obstacles for yourself like tables or chairs to get around. Dancing on an open stage and dancing to a crowded restaurant with patrons and waiters are 2 very different scenarios and require different energies.
The more often you beef up your stamina, the easier it will be. Also, if you can get to the point where you’re not heaving after one set, you’ll be able to handle the rest of the evening a lot easier.
Remember to breathe. It seems simple but we all forget to do it. Even the most trained dancers can be heaving after a set because without realizing it, they’ve held their breathe the entire time.
Have water with you. Sometimes events will offer you water and that’ s great but always have water with you to gulp down and keep hydrated.
I also keep snack bars with me- protein bars to keep energy up.
I have the unfortunate side affect of nausea if I eat a full meal right before I perform or in between so protein bars are a nice balance between providing my body the energy it needs to keep going and no giving a gross show.
If it is summer time then keeping hydrated is even more important. if you tend to have outdoor gigs, I also recommend having spray on sunscreen on hand. You never know how sunny the area is going to be and no one wants to burn much less have a costume shaped tan line!
More water and stretching. I am just as guilty as anyone else of not stretching and warming up and keeping my muscles limber and it is no good. Charley horses abound.
Don’t go home and binge eat. I know, that bag of doritos looks really really good at the end of a long night. and i’m not saying don’ allow yourself a treat, you’ve worked really hard but what your body needs right now is sustenance. Your muscles need protein, your body needs electrolytes, you just worked it out a lot, you gave your all, give something back. After you have that piece of chocolate fine, but do feed it.
I hope that my tips have helped you and you’ll be able to keep your energy during your next marathon gig evening. Feel free to comment with your own, I’d love to try out some new things!