Going public with your performance art

Going public with your performance art

An artist asks:

What are the considerations involved in creating a public profile for amateur performance art?

This is a great question, and I should know – last week I created a Facebook page for my burlesque persona, Glamazon. In fact, that’s probably what prompted the question, as the question comes from another burly performer. Great! 

There’s going to be two parts to this answer – first I’ll tell you what I did, and why, and second I’ll pose some questions and things for you to consider when deciding whether or not to create your own public profile.

Why I started a public performer profile

I’ve been doing burlesque for just over a year. In that time, I’ve built up from attending one-off workshops to going to multiple classes a week, learning vintage, neo and fan technique and routines.  With my student troupe, I’ve performed in 15 group routines over 7 shows (including one where I was in four routines on one night. Never again!) This year, I decided it was time to start working on a solo performance, so I’ve been attending one-on-one classes with my teacher to develop the choreography and refine things like my performance narrative, song choice and costuming.

I’ve been dying to share it all with the world. Yes, I post a lot of backstage selfies on Facebook from each show, but I wanted a place where people – including me – can see all the professional photos of me performing. It’s a place where I’ll add portraits and videos and behind the scene shots of me rhinestoning my latest costume – a place that tells the story of my burlesque journey. And, as a soon-to-be solo performer, if I ever want to apply to be in other peoples’ shows, I need to be able to show the producers what else I’ve done.

Going public about my performing was a scary and exciting thing to do. The more dance classes I do, and the more stages I perform on, the more authentic it feels for me. Of course, I know I’m still a beginner, and very much an amateur, and I no doubt will be for a few years yet. But that doesn’t change how much joy burlesque brings me, and I wanted a place where I can share that with the world.

Things to consider before starting your own public profile

You probably know the first thing I’m going to ask you: why do you want a public performer profile? Is it to share your story, share your joy, promote yourself, keep a record of your journey? All of those answers are valid, by the way. The point of asking is that before you start anything, you should know what you’re trying to achieve, which will help you decide what content to add, how or whether to promote it, and so on. If you’re clear about your purpose, your audience will be too.

The next thing to consider is how comfortable you are being public about your performance. It’s one thing to perform to an audience with a limited number of people, but quite another to put photos or videos of yourself doing so on the internet, where it can potentially be seen by everyone. Do you have a job that requires you to maintain a certain level of privacy? Do you have personal reasons for needing to maintain privacy? How comfortable would you be if your mum or your boss saw your performer photos? If you’re okay with all of this, then by all means go for it, but just bear in mind that once something is on the internet it’s virtually impossible to get rid of.

Another thing to think about is whether you are generating enough content, and whether you have enough time to maintain your page. How often will you post, and what kinds of things will you post? Will it be on-stage photos, backstage photos, progress photos, videos, articles, rants? Are you committed enough to keep it going?  

If, after all these questions you’re still keen, then go for it. And please post a link to your profile in the comments, because I love seeing what other performers are up to!

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