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.
Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer/ Author