~ You’re the Brightest Light on the Stage ~
Last month, I witnessed Rhythmology’s student performance team rock the dance floor at the Moose Lodge in Greenlawn, New York. Although I was only a spectator, I got flashbacks of performance anxiety. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re on a rollercoaster that hasn’t taken off yet? Yup. I experienced that same rush of adrenaline when I performed at the “Step It Up” Showcase last July.
How to Overcome Performance Anxiety
Whether you’re a seasoned or a new dancer, performance anxiety often creeps up on us without warning. It’s a form of fear experienced by many performers and ranges from negative thoughts to physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, faintness, or nausea. Even though you don’t feel like yourself, you’re not alone. My nerves felt out of control on performance day until I realized that I had nothing to worry about. I knew my steps, and I had a great leader to share the stage with. So I’m sharing gems to help manage your fears before any performance.
Imagine Yourself Performing Your Best
Your mind is powerful. I’m a firm believer that if you can imagine it, then you can turn your vision into reality. Fear often causes us to create false scenarios in our minds. For example, we might imagine ourselves falling off the stage, forgetting a dance step, or having a costume malfunction. Instead of dwelling on these negative thoughts, breathe and imagine yourself performing a flawless dance routine. Imagine the natural high you’ll feel after finishing a fantastic performance and the loud claps and roars from your family and friends. Create this vision daily, and it will become your reality!
Practice, Practice, Practice
You can’t expect to give a flawless performance if you don’t put in the work. If you know your dance routine with your eyes closed, then you will perform it well on stage. Therefore, practicing your dance steps in and out of the classroom is critical. Pull out your calendar and designate a specific time during the week to practice your routine until it becomes a habit. To simulate the actual performance, practice with your dance shoes. Also, don’t forget to wear your smile! Smiling will instantly boost your energy during your performance and engage the audience.
Develop a Self-Care Routine
How many of you neglect your minds and bodies because you’re too busy? Well, you’re a priority and deserve to make time for yourself. My self-care routine is quite simple. I stretch for 15 to 30 minutes twice a day. While stretching, I play relaxing music or motivational videos on YouTube. I also love reading inspirational content throughout the day to feed my mind and soul. Lastly, as I mentioned in my first blog post, a dance class is necessary. Remember, your self-care regimen is unique to you and might include a bubble bath, a spa day at the nail salon, or a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Once you develop a self-care routine, you’ll notice less anxiety.
From personal experience, planning helps manage my stress. Before performance day, I double-check that I packed everything for a stellar performance like my shoes, costumes, accessories, etc. Don’t procrastinate and wait until the eve of the showcase to gather yourself together. If you’re in multiple dance numbers, find out the specific order and times of each performance to properly plan out your costume changes. Lastly, make sure that your shoes and costumes fit you comfortably. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then you will not perform well.
When in doubt, remember to have fun during your performance. The performance is your moment to debut all your hard work. Be proud of yourself for sticking to the journey of building your social Latin dancing skills. And don’t forget to share your milestones with your friends and family! There’s no better feeling than having your tribe there to cheer you on and give you big hugs and kisses after your performance.
Look out for future shows by Rhythmology’s performance teams! I also heard through the grapevine that Alfred Pena is performing next Sunday, September 8, 2019, at the Moose Lodge in Green Lawn, New York. You don’t want to miss out!