I had the honor to perform for the Shreveport Regional Arts Council CCW: Performance Art Showcase. I was selected among 11 of the top performance artists in the North Louisiana Region to showcase an excerpt from a show in order to compete to win $2,000. Proceeds would go towards creating a one of a kind show. Although, I did not win, I had the best of time and had the opportunity to perform on the stage of the Municipal Auditorium where legends such as Elvis got their start.
The performances at the showcase explored different types of performance art. Performance groups such as Airheart, Vela Nora, Lomax the Grey, Louisiana Dance Collective, Twang Darkly, Tchai, and DESTINY: HOPE, an original opera about Miley Cyrus all shared the stage with me and individual performance artists such as Renee “Reneesance” Caldwell, Brenda Wimberly, and Willetta.
The showcases were judged by a number of individuals on a panel including Anne Marie Welsh, a San Diego Theatre Critic of 25 years. She has appeared as a critic at a number of our other competitions in the Shrevepor, but I never knew who she was (to be honest!). Being able to meet Anne Marie was a blessing in disguise as I later heard what was the most inspirational words someone has ever told me. More on that later…
There were showcases of singing, theatre, music, juggling and more! I knew competing at this level, I would have to step up my game. So I brushed up on my old hat and cane tricks and went to town!
The stage was set, lights were on and there were people in the seats. After looking at the program, I saw that I was one of the last performers so I spent most of the time rehearsing and going over trick after trick.
After I finished preparing the show, I waited until my name was called. …”And Ladies and Gentleman, Arty Dodger the Southern Gentleman Juggler!” I head the crowd go wild…ok, well they were clapping loudly! My song came on and I headed down the stairs, suitcase and all. I got to the stage and that’s where it hit me, I was standing on the stage in the same building as the greats once performed.
I started my routine, performing trick after trick. I even nailed all of my hard tricks. When I first started I balanced a rose on my nose and then handed it to Anne Marie. Suck up I know.
I finished my act…on time…(phew!) and bowed to the audience. I might exaggerate a little, but I think I did see someone stand up for my first standing ovation…Or he might have gotten up to use the bathroom…But at least he waited until I was done, right!
When I walked off the stage a sense of completion and accomplishment overcame me. I had performed on that very stage and didn’t drop one prop, fall down embarrassingly, or even spilled the wine. Accomplished!
I waited in the audience and finished watching others perform their act after mine and waited until they called out the winners. As humble as I am, I was actually kind of looking forward to hearing my name being called. But to my dismay, Arty Dodger was not called. However, the person who won was great at what they did and they deserved every minute of it. What was to come was greater than any monetary benefits.
After it was done, Anne Marie walked up to me with the rose in the her hand to give it back to me. She said that my act was fun to watch, I had a keen sense of timing, my stage presence was superb, and that I would go far in my performance career. I left so enthused and inspired.