You’ve practiced your part, you’ve rehearsed with your ensemble, and now you find yourself on stage dancing for an expectant audience. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for… except you’re frozen stiff with fear.
You’ve come down with a case of stage fright, a heightened nervousness and anxiousness that can happen to performers when performing in front of an audience. Although it’s a common enough occurrence, stage fright is something you can avoid by taking the proper precautions.
Here’s how your young dancer can overcome stage fright:
You’ve heard it so many times from your dance teacher that you don’t need to hear it again. In order to improve, you need to commit yourself to practicing on a regular basis.
And so you do it. You’ve gone through your routine by yourself, and have mostly memorized your movements. You feel confident that you’ve practiced enough. But have you really?
As a student, you can lie to your teacher; but as a performer, you can never lie to your audience. The answer to how well you have practiced will become evident when you perform in front of an audience, and if you haven’t practiced enough, your nerves can get the better of you.
Long-term preparation is key to avoiding this situation. Through diligent and repeated practice, you can ingrain your choreography into your muscle memory. This way, you will be able to perform moves instinctively instead of having to think of them one by one, giving you the confidence to overcome stage fright easily.
Private practice time is essential for dance students; it gives them an opportunity to go through routines at their own pace, and to discover ways to improve that would normally go unnoticed. And, in addition to this, there’s yet another type of practice you need to do: performing in front of an audience
Try practicing in front of people close to you (like your family), and then expand to people that are less familiar with you. By gradually increasing the number of viewers, your young dancer can become acclimated to dancing in front of an audience. This way, their self-awareness of performing in front of others won’t be so pronounced and awkward
Shifting from an empty bedroom to a well-attended auditorium can be a jarring experience. Help your young one get their feet wet with smaller performances to get them ready for the real deal.
An auditorium is a big place, one that’s easy to get lost in. To avoid getting caught up in stage fright, try picking a focal point to focus upon throughout your performance. For example, dancers can find a spot on the wall or a light at the back of the theatre. Instead of being distracted by the many pairs of eyes looking at you, you should concentrate on a single spot.
We’ve previously touched upon this in a previous blog about improving balance. By picking a focal point, dance students can improve their balance and keep stage fright in check.
Keep your head up and away from the floor, and you’re on your way to delivering a great performance!
One byproduct created by our achievement-oriented society is the notion that fear is a bad thing. It is true that each of us need to confront the fears that hold us back, but it also remains true that fear is an emotion that is as normal as happiness and sadness.
It is with this in mind that we need to recognize that nervousness before going on stage is a completely normal feeling, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed of it.
In fact, the sensation of butterflies in the stomach and heightened anticipation is a normal part of the performing arts. Famous performers that have admitted some sort of nervousness before going onstage include Celine Dion and Shawn Mendes.
Acknowledge that nervousness is normal and be supportive to help your dance student give the best performance they can!
It is important to know the difference between nervousness and debilitating fear. Stage fright can ruin a performance, but it doesn’t have to. By following these simple tips and tricks, you are well on your way to overcoming stage fright with confidence.
Hey, you got this! Believe in yourself, and enjoy your time on stage! You’ll get to see a new side of the world as a performer, so take it for the positive experience it is! Break a leg!
Read our blogs to find out how contemporary dance lessons can help children and how slow dancing can help students learn quicker.
CDM Dance & Music offers online dance classes and a full recreational dance calendar. Contact us to find out more!