Has this ever happened to you? You’ve done the training, you’re in the costume, and it’s go-time but all of a sudden you feel like Bambi when she first learned to walk. This body you’re in is unrecognizable – it’s not moving the way you’re used to at all!
This is a scary feeling (I’ve been there), but it can be changed. So much of axing performance anxiety is training and focusing your mind on what you do want to think of, versus what you don’t.
Today you’ll walk away knowing 3 tactics that will kick those event jitters to the curb!
1) “You can’t build a long-term future on short-term thinking.” ~ Billy Cox
Becoming a great dancer and enjoying the process while you’re at it requires long-term thinking. If you are able to view performances and competitions as a part of the road to get to where you going, rather than the “be all, end all” your experience will be more pleasurable, and your anxiety levels will decrease, resulting in greater performances. If your success is determined by the “perfect” dress, performance, or result, the pressure you’ve placed on yourself can be crushing. So, settle in to get the win!
2) Have a Plan for the Event
Having a clear plan minimizes your stress by guiding your thoughts rather than leaving them up to chance. Now, I understand that everything can’t be planned out, but you can plan your food, warmup, outfits, event strategy, and even plan for after the event. If the last one came as a surprise, I want you to think of the expression:
“Plan for a marriage, not just a wedding.”
If you only plan for the wedding you wake up the next morning and then what? But, if you plan beyond the day you have so much more to look forward to! As well, it goes back to relaxing the mind by eliminating the “I only get one shot” thinking.
3) A Great Warm Up Does Wonders
Gently warming your body up is one of the best ways to turn the mind away from stinking thinking. Your muscles are going to be going through a period of stress, and if you start a performance cold your autonomous nervous system will be angry. What makes a productive warm-up can vary. I would recommend designing with your teacher what will work best for you.
So there you have it, the 3 tools I’ve found over the years most successful for tackling nerves! If, while reading this article you found some old doubts or thoughts creeping in whether this could work for you or not, I encourage you to give it a shot! We understand that learning to dance takes practice, planning, and patience, and if you can give the same understanding to learning to perform, you will regain control of your event.
Which tactic are you most excited to try? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Til next time,