How to deal with dance performance nerves

No matter how many people you are placed in front of, there is always something slightly nerve-wracking about dance performances. We’re not only talking about the dance performances on a stage in front of an audience, but the performances of dance exams and auditions too.

These are moments where you want to perform at your very best, which is exactly why dancers of every age get a little nervous in the run-up. You can’t let those nerves get in the way of your performance though – you need confidence to look and feel great whilst dancing.

We’ve got some top tips to help make those butterflies in your tummy, flutter far away!

Be prepared

We don’t doubt that you or your child know the performance well, but rehearsing it whenever possible will really help calm those nerves. After all, practice makes perfect.

Don’t just leave it to your dance classes though; fit some practices in at home too. You can dance through it when you’re waiting for your dinner to cook, and even visualise it when you’re waiting for the bus. These simple things will reaffirm your knowledge of the routine or routines, helping you to feel confident when the performance date comes round.

Keep healthy

It’s important that you keep healthy in the run-up to a dance performance, dance exam or audition. The last thing you want is to fall ill or to injure yourself, so make sure you’re eating well and drinking plenty of water.

Getting enough sleep is also crucial. Whilst nerves can sometimes affect your sleep, you’ve got to do what you can to get a good amount of sleep every night. Not only will it leave you well rested, but it will help to keep your immune system in check and rest up those hard-working limbs!

Stretch well

All ballet lessons and dance lessons start with a stretch, and the same should go for any other practices and performances as well. Not only does stretching help to relax your muscles and prevent injury, but it’s also quite a calming process. One reason why yoga is considered to be so beneficial!

Calming activities

Talking about the calming process of stretching, you could also take up other calming activities when you feel stressed to help ease any nerves and stresses. In fact, taking something up on the regular could benefit you in so many ways – not just when you’re feeling stressed!

Some great examples would be simple things like deep breathing exercises and listening to music, as well as more active hobbies like yoga or swimming.

No negativity

Whether it’s you that is doing the dancing or your child, you want to surround yourselves with positivity! No negativity allowed. It’s all too easy to consider how things can go wrong or focus on on your faults, but that just fuels your nerves and diminishes your confidence.

Instead, you want to think about how successful the performance is going to be, and think through to how you’ll feel after it’s all over. If it’s your child doing the performance, make sure you think about what you are saying and how you are saying it as you can hugely influence their attitude!

Stay focused

Along with positivity, you need focus. This counts for the time in the run-up to the big performance as well as during the performance itself. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the nerves or by other fellow dancers and what they’re doing to prepare.

And for the performance night itself? Focus on your routine – not what’s going on around you. Ignore the lights, ignore the stage setting, and ignore the audience, whoever may be watching you. But of course, don’t forget to smile!

Enjoy it!

Dance is a sport and a hobby that you love, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. That’s what’s most important.

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