Buzz Session preview: how stage combat will awaken your courage.

Making change happen needs a boatload of resilience, trust, faith, generosity and courage. And while there are plenty of self-help tools out there, sometimes they all seem a little tame. 

Enter Annie Enneking - renowned stage combat expert, Guthrie actor and musician. On September 21, she will lead a group of Passionados through a stage combat workshop. 

Image courtesy: Dueling Arts International

Image courtesy: Dueling Arts International

Stage combat..... the art of looking like a badass while not actually hurting anyone. On a stage. In front of other people. 

Not exactly reading a self-help book on your couch....we hear you say.......

Which is EXACTLY WHY this session will be powerful. It will get us out of our comfort zones into a place that is still safe - but a place where we can play at being the hero (or villain).  Laugh, exercise, make friends and learn some badass moves at the same time. 

We caught up with Annie to learn more....


Stage combat isn't a typical path for a performer - how did you arrive at this point in your career?

I moved to Minnesota from Seattle when 9 or 10. As a child, I’d been drawn to theater. I had auditioned for parts, attended acting summer camps. I eventually got a place at the Children's Theater Company where I trained, received positive reviews and played lead roles.

The problem was, I didn’t feel an internal confidence. People were praising me but it was confusing to me why they would. I realized there was something more I needed to do.  

I then trained in voice, movement and mine. I tried dance, and there I began to feel a connection with the external notion of praise and internal confidence. There was something about the objective points of knowledge I could collect - one day my leg wasn’t high enough, so I knew I had to raise it. External things mapped to internal things I could track, which greatly helped my confidence. 

I become interested in stage combat when working as a fight captain for a production of The Hobbit.  One day during rehearsal, I held a broad-sword. My whole body reverberated with the feeling of holding the weapon. That was the moment I realized I had to pursue the path of stage combat. For me, it was a perfect mash up of my love of theater and dance. 

Eventually, I took teacher training and was hired as fight director and teacher. 

What do you love about stage combat?

Most of all, you realize that you have to be in charge of the fight - the fight can’t be in charge of you.

For me it's all about the idea of owning and taking up space – of extending energy in your body into space. Stage combat can help you communicate really clearly with another human. Most of all, you realize that you have to be in charge of fight - the fight can’t be in charge of you.

Stage combat also helps you understand how to take care of another person. Essentially what we're doing is creating an illusion of violence, but what we teach is repeatable and safe.

What can people expect from this Buzz Session?

We will create by doing! We’ll start in a circle as we introduce ourselves, warm up and work on focus. I aim to teach one technique every 10 minutes - I start with basic modes of combat, from small to large actions. This will include learning how to slap, shove, do hair pulls, non-contact punches. Then we’ll pair up and create a fight scene. We will be fully focused on safety and will create a room everything is safe and fun.

Learn more about Annie here.