BY SARA WILLCUTT
Stage fright is a strong nervousness some people experience before performing for an audience. Symptoms may include: trembling, a pounding heart, an elevated pulse, nausea, a flushed face, shortness of breath, dry mouth, and forgetfulness.
To overcome this nervousness: focus on the now what you are doing in the moment, getting ready, stretching, rehearsing movements, doing makeup. Immerse yourself in the steps instead of your fears.
Only positive self-talk, such as I will jump high, smile bright, and land my turns. Don’t let you mind wander to the “what if?” thoughts. Don’t let your thoughts take over and scare you into thinking about what MIGHT go wrong.
Practice relaxing breathing-when you are really nervous your breathing becomes irregular. One quick fix is to hold you breathe for 20 seconds, when you start breathing again your body forces you back into a normal breathing pattern. Another calming breathing method is to breathe in for a few seconds, hold the breath for a few seconds and breathe out slowly. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes to calm you down.
Breathe from your Abdomen
Shallow panicked breathing comes from your chest. Lowering your breathing to come from your abdomen will automatically calm your body down.
Be Prepared Not Scared
Some dancers like to review routines and skills before going on stage. For some this is calming, for others, dancing right before going on stage can psyc them out. When you are nervous dance skills such as turns don’t work as well as normal. For some trying out these moves before taking the sage can confirm fears andmake sage fright worse.
Note for Coaches:
I try not to let me team wait in the hall before going on the floor at a competition. I find that waiting builds nervousness in the whole team and affects their performance. I don’t let my dancers practice their turns before going in the floor. It makes them nervous when they don’t execute perfectly. Most of the nervousness will disappear when the team starts dancing and the skills will be stronger. Doing team building games, team chants, funny dances and singing songs can keep dancers busy and focused on the group and the moment rather than becoming nervous.