Stage fright is a very common occurrence, especially in young dancers. However, understanding the triggers and root reasons that cause it can help combat it and help you dance even when you feel fear. Once you learn how to conquer your fears when dancing, it will help you accomplish almost anything.
If you suffer from stage fright and have a hard time dancing your best under pressure, there are a few things you can do to relax and let go of the anxiety.
1. Build Up Slowly
It can be helpful if you practise in front of a few people – probably not your closest friends or family members – but someone who you know will be supportive and positive. If you can’t find someone, try visualization. Close your eyes and imagine an audience in front of you.
2. Create A Get-Ready Ritual
Having a routine before a rehearsal can help calm the nerves and can allow you to perform better. Try doing tasks in a certain order such as hair and make up, for example. You can try to listen to your favourite music or watch your favourite television show the night before. Routine helps calm the nerves and gives you a feeling of control. Lastly, if you haven’t tried meditation before, it can be very helpful in calming your nerves.
3. Do Extra Stretching
When we get anxious, we tighten everything. We clench our jaw, tense our shoulders and squeeze our arms to our sides or in front of us. Even our stomach gets tight. Start from your feet and move up, one body part at a time. This has the benefit of not only releasing your muscles but has the added benefit of mentally distracting you. Instead of thinking about everything that could go wrong, or all the last minute things you need to remember, it focuses your brain on something calming.
4. Pick A Focal Point
When you dance, try to pick somewhere far-off, unimportant point in the back of the room or auditorium. It gives you something to concentrate on and can help you deal with all that nervous energy. By picking a focal point, you don’t think about the audience or the people watching you and allow you to imagine that you’re in your room performing only for yourself.
5. Have A Support System
You shouldn’t hide your stage fright. One of the best ways to fight it is to embrace it. Let your family, close friends, and fellow dancers know that you sometimes experience performance anxiety. Ask if some of them can help you get back on track if stage fright starts to take over. Of course, you need to ensure that the people you tell are going to be supportive.
Of course, stage fright might have deep psychological roots and may not be able to be easily dealt with but following these simple rules will help you deal with it. The most important thing is to be natural and be yourself. Remember that you have a beautiful gift and you get to decide whether to share it with the world or not.