Performance Nervousness Part 1


Intermission-during one of my pre-performance rituals.



Through my extensive career as a professional dancer, I have observed some pretty strange pre-performance rituals. I have seen it all, and tried it all. So what works?

The truth is, not everyone is the same. There is no magic cure for nervousness, but there are things that you can do to calm yourself in the wings.

In Part 1 of Performance Nervousness, we will take the first step. Identifying the type of nervousness you are feeling.

Here are the categories of nervousness that I have defined through my years of dancing. See which category you best fit into or have felt in the past.

Prepared Nervousness– You feel well rehearsed, excited, pumped up. Maybe your family is out in the audience. You have a positive outlook on the upcoming performance.

Unprepared Nervousness– It feels like you are going into unfamiliar territory. You are doubtful, almost fearful. Maybe you were thrown into a role last-minute or were an understudy.

Combination of both– You are prepared but doubting yourself and your abilities. Even though you feel ready to perform a role, you are worried about uncontrollable factors.

Over-Prepared– You have rehearsed perfectly every day. Maybe you have even performed this role consecutive years. You are not nervous. After the performance you may even feel let down, although your performance went well.

Competitive Nervousness– You feel pressure. If you can perform well you will get a promotion. You want to outshine other dancers. Maybe your director or teacher watches the show from the wings.

Now that you have identified the type of nervousness you are feeling or have felt, we will move on to the solution. Stay posted for Part 2 of my Performance Nervousness series! As always your comments are greatly appreciated.

Stay tuned…

Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer/ Author

About Nikol Klein

Nikol Klein is former Professional Ballet Dancer turned Women's fitness expert. She currently works with Women all over the world as a personal trainer and Ballet Strength coach to dancers.

Posted on November 20, 2009, in Audition Advice, Ballet, Injury Prevention, Life Management, Strength Training for Dancers, Technique Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. So how do you solve these nervousness problems???

    I find myself often in the “Combination of both” definition:” You are prepared but doubting yourself and your abilities. Even though you feel ready to perform a role, you are worried about uncontrollable factors.” Yikes! I have been there before, and I even have anxiety now when I think of my performance for tomorrow!!!!

    Sometimes I am in the “Unprepared Nervousness” territory, such as when I am asked to do last minute performances, but luckily this does not happen to me often..

    Thanks for any input!

    • Hi Najwa,

      I think the best thing you can do is live in the moment. Make sure you go over your part before you go onstage. This should ease your mind and let you know that you won’t forget the choreography. When you get onstage, just perform.

      Also, be sure to check out Part II of the Performance Nervousness series!

      Let me know if you have any more questions!


  2. i wish there was a part 2 now cause i need it .Im in Royal academy of dance RAD for short and we have our yearly exam and we techinically have to remember dances and dance stepps and present it to the judge i guess thats what she is cause she gives us a grade on how we do there is a pass which is the lowest then merot then distinction . This is my third year doing this and i want to get distinction i got it last year and the year before that i got merot i didnt really think i was nervous ,but in the practice rehearsel for my exam yesterday my ballet teacher said i was to anxious and off the music so im guessing that im prepared nervous but i also wanna out shine this girl that is taking the exam with me i think it sounds bad though but thats the truth so i gues im competitive nervous too.Well theres also a reason why i wanna outshine the girl its because we have colors pink and blue and they deside like pink always does things first n everything and is in the front of the bar and that gives me some pressure to rember stuff.cause im pink.and i gues in my mind i think pink should be better than blue it feels kinda silly though.but i like being pink cause i feel like the best but then if blues better then me idk but last year i was blue and this other girl was pink but she moved and ya andthe year before that i was white cause there were 4 people in my class it was pink,blue,yellow,white but it was my first year of ballet so i was ok with it .well my exam is tommorow and i guess u wont read this till after my exam or maybey even when im doing it but i still want a reply for next time but this time i gues i just need to figure it out. Thanks for reading this

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: