It is rare, almost impossible, to come across a dancer that doesn’t get nervous before competing. Nerves are a natural part of competing, and dealing with and embracing those nerves can be difficult! Here are a few tips to help you manage the inevitable pre-performance jitters:
Get up and move around!
It is difficult to sit still when you are nervous! Moving around helps get rid of some of the nerves and helps you take your mind off of the competition. Movement also decreases muscle tension which helps the body feel less anxious.
Visualize yourself performing the routine.
Before you take the floor to compete, close your eyes and take a minute to picture your routine going perfectly! When you are able to visualize yourself nailing the routine, you welcome positive thoughts and banish the negative thoughts that increase your nerves.
Take deep breaths.
Also referred to as centered breathing, taking slow deep breaths helps slow your heart rate and control your nerves. One deep breathing technique is the 4x4x4x4; breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it in for 4 seconds, breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds and hold at the end of the breath for 4 seconds. Following a pattern as such will lessen the effects of your nerves and help you feel calm!
Don’t over practice before you perform!
Running through your dance before you compete is always a good idea, but be sure to only practice it 1 or two times. If you run your dance (whether in your head or full out) too many times before you compete, you can start to second guess yourself, adding to the nerves. Be confident in the work you’ve put in thus far and trust yourself to remember your routine!
Find your own pre-performance routine!
Just like everyone learns differently, everyone will have their own ways to calm your nerves. What works best for you might not work for your friend or teammate, and that is okay! Once you find what works best for you, it’ll be easier to control your nerves.
No matter what you do to ease those pre-performance jitters, it is important that you don’t let your nerves get the best of you! Competition is a time to show your family and friends how hard you’ve worked throughout the season and another chance for you to do what you love. For more tips, and information about our upcoming competitions and rehearsals, contact your local Fred Astaire Dance Studios!