Stage Fright can be a terrifying experience for any performer. Regardless of age or experience performance anxiety, or stage fright can effect up to 50 percent of performing artists. Whether it’s caused from a previous injury, past bad experience or the overwhelming pressure performers can feel at an important performance; it can hit you anytime, even mid career.
Some of these symptoms include sweaty or cold hands, increased breathing rate, rapid heart beat, trembling, dry mouth, throat and inability to focus.
Finding the calm inside you will help to control your stage fright. Many dancers have what you would call a pre-performance routine, this routine gives a sense of structure and familiarity before your performance. Simple acts like meditation or lucky charms can do wonders when calming the nerves. Bringing a photo or pinning a special small pin to your costume can be just the right amount of comfort needed to center you before your performance.
A tip I give my competitive dancers is to be sure not watch the number before you. Always turn away and focus your mind on giving a strong performance with confidence and grace.
During rehearsal time, you should not only be practicing the choreography, you should also be practicing a mind set that is positive. Much of the stage fright you may have experienced in the past is related to negative feelings. Wiping out these negative feelings with positive affirmations can relieve performance anxiety. Reestablishing a thought process to be positive can override these memories. Repeat confidence-boosting encouragements out loud. You could say things like, “I can do this” or “I will nail my turn sequence.” I have given my students specific words to focus on their piece during rehearsal time and before going on stage. This has helped them realize their purpose and hone in on that, instead of how nervous they may be.
Be in the Moment.
Do not let yourself get caught up in What If’s. All they do is become self fulfilling prophecies. Your love of dance can carry you through a tough performance and as long as you are willing to show it to them, the audience will see your love and joy, responding positively. The butterflies you feel are the same whether you chose to feel fear or excitement. Tell yourself, “Wow I’m ready to dance.” And get out there and DO IT!