Today is the day: “Blockbuster Beagle” and its hotly-anticipated soft opening for our Friends & Family happens tonight. It marks my 11th summer show and begs the question, is it my last professional skating show? When I think about when I started doing professional shows, like so many fellow performers, I said: eh, only for a year or two. 10+ years later, I am still pulling up those fishnets, lacing up those skates, and smacking my M.A.C. red lips in the mirror. Show skating stopped being a hobby after a couple years of being on the road. It became a lifestyle and a career, albeit an unconventional one. In 2010, I went to graduate school for filmmaking because it had always interested me, that century-old practice of telling stories with pictures. But I also knew that retirement for my show career was possibly nearing. Once we started rehearsing “Blockbuster Beagle”, I started to suffer from insecurity and self-doubt. Was I too old to do tricks anymore? Were my nerves not what they used to be? Would my fellow skaters, choreographer, etc. see through my “fake it til you make it” attempts? But then a wise friend said: audiences do not care about what I was solely focused on (the tricks). Somehow, in a short 2-week period, I had lost my showgirl aura and had been reduced to nerves and anxiety. And truly, Karen’s shows are about the entire experience: a little bit of humor, a lot of elegance, etc. (Even though this show is more trick heavy than others I have done, it’s still about the flow of the show.) So thank you to my supporters for making me realize that. I’m definitely the type of person who, when the going gets tough, I fantasize about an easy escape plan. But most of the time, if I just get through the uncomfortableness, the escape plan is easily forgotten. It was the same with a show I worked on this spring. I disliked the mundaneness of the work, but once I stuck it out, I was appreciative of the experience. Funnily enough, all I could think during that project was excitement about being BACK in the ice show and getting to be “the star” again. And then to be blindsided (once I was learning the show) with a feeling of – maybe I’m not all that, anymore? It was just a necessary reality check. Not that I’m not “all that”, but just that it’s a job nonetheless. And I have to work at it. Today’s the soft opening and I’m excited about it. All this anticipation about: how’s it going to be?, etc. will all be answered tonight. And I have a good feeling about it.
Back to my original question: is it my last? It’s far too daunting to label this my last show. A showgirl never really retires anyway.