Actor Francesco Pireddu on Challenging His Fears

There is a beautiful English saying: fear knocked at my door. I opened. Nobody was there.

Being an artist requires fierce discipline, pure passion and profound dedication. The desire to express ourselves through the Arts has deep roots that need to be acknowledged and nurtured. The talent must be always respected. At any cost.

Fear is a faithful companion of our journey through self-expression. Fear constantly challenge us and makes sure that we pay attention only to what’s going on in our minds; we happily and enthusiastically accept the challenges but fear is so powerful that often, unfortunately, we stop our journey halfway through or, even worse, we don’t start at all.

I know fear is by my side. I would like to get rid of it but I doubt it will ever happen so we made a deal: I’ll let you stay, I am aware you exist but I won’t let you distract me.

I personally experienced many shades of fear, sometimes I was defeated and sometimes I fought hard and won but I kept exploring my journey because my talent, our talent, deserves respect.

I come from a 400 people village in the middle of nowhere in Italy. A village beautifully surrounded by stunning mountains and with breathtaking views; the fresh air is as healthy as it can be but…… you can hardly find this pretty village on the map!

Fear started to seduce me at that time with impeccable warnings: it would have been impossible to leave the village, there was no money, I was the oldest of five siblings and I had plenty of responsibilities ahead of me. I could not afford the luxury of thinking about performing.

Well…..I left. No cash, nobody and nothing to support my desire to express myself, but I did it: the first step is always the most important. Everything else will follow. Fear didn’t get me and so happy I was: my first victory!

I moved to Rome and I started to take dance lessons, religiously, every single day. The discipline was immense and the teachers I discovered were so demanding and strict that I spent years being afraid to go to class. I would get up in the morning with my head packed with excuses of any kind: it’s not worth it, it’s too difficult and painful, I am not as good as anybody else, the teachers hate me….And so on.

After all, I was 22yo when I started to take ballet lessons and I found myself in class with students much younger than I was. I felt that the clock was ticking: I became a soldier; I was learning as fast as I could and within two years, I was dancing professionally with some of the most important choreographers in some of the most important theaters in the world, such as the Verdi theater and the Alighieri theater in Italy, the Royal Opera House in London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (where I am currently performing for the season 2017/2018).

Fear never stopped for a moment to remind me that I was too old, too short, too poor and too shy. And I never stopped for a moment to ignore those excuses.

After few years, I felt it was time to embrace different horizons.

Acting was the next step. I wanted to train as an actor and I wanted to do it in New York City, the core of the world.

To me, transitioning from dancing to acting seemed like an imperative step. My body was trained in a very specific way thanks to rigorous dance training. It was time to explore the “movement” of my voice: the tone, the sound and the power of words.

Fear, once again, was there next to me constantly whispering in my ear sentences such as: why don’t you stay where you are, it will get more difficult! You are too old for acting, you don’t know the English language and nobody will understand you, New York City is too expensive, etc. etc.

Well, at this time, I almost believed what fear was saying to me. Maybe it was really too much. What was I exactly looking for? Was I sincerely interesting in exploring the acting world or was I simply driven by a huge ego? I stayed strong; I kept away the mind-talking and learned, more than ever, that the desire to explore any form of art must never be denied nor questioned.

And with a more defined identity and stronger determination, I studied full time acting for two years at HB Studio, in NYC, where I was nurtured and guided by wonderful and inspiring teachers. Right after I graduated from HB, I got cast in different movies and commercials such as Chase Bank, Bud Light, Mountain Dew and Pima Cotton sheets. I joined Buglisi Dance Company to perform at the Lincoln Plaza Center on 9/11/2017 for a beautiful and profound dance piece created to remember and honor the victims of 9/11. And this is, as an artist, one of the proudest moments of my career.

No bad for a guy who joined the party late!

There is a beautiful English saying: fear knocked at my door. I opened. Nobody was there.

Don’t let fear get you. In reality, it doesn’t exist.

Francesco Pireddu

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