Butterflies in your stomach, sweaty hands, racing heart – we have all felt these kinds of feelings before we do something in front of others. Everyone experiences performance anxiety in many ways, some more than others. Dancers, especially, often feel performance anxiety. Whether it impacts you or it doesn’t, it’s normal to feel nervous before a big show!
Anxiety can be a feeling in our bodies, or it can be thoughts in our mind – or sometimes both! However it effects you, the good news is that there are some techniques you can do to either make it go away or at least ease a bit.
Here are our tips for overcoming performance anxiety:
- Deep breaths
The most important thing you can do when you feel performance anxiety is take a few deep breaths. Try what is called a box breath technique. Keep your eyes open or close them and breath in for three slow seconds, hold for three seconds, then slowly exhale for three seconds.
Do this until your heart and mind start to slow down.
- Positive affirmations
If you find your mind racing and you feel like you might make a mistake on stage, forget a step, or be too nervous to perform, try telling yourself positive affirmations. You can say anything that works for you, but here are some of our favorites:
- I am safe. I can do this.
- I practised. I know my routine. I’ve got this.
- I’m going to do amazing. Everyone is going to love my routine. I can’t wait to hear them all clapping.
- I’m a great dancer. I know my steps. I’m going to do well.
Picture how it will feel at the end of the routine when you feel accomplished and amazing. Think of how it will feel when the crowd claps and cheers. This method of positive thinking will help ease your worries and should help you perform better.
- Avoid caffeine on the big day
Coffee especially can make your heart race and cause anxiety for some. Coffee can also suppress appetite for some people and being hungry or having low blood sugar can make you feel anxious. It’s important to have a good diet all the time, but especially on big days. You want to be mentally and physically prepared, so avoid anything that makes you feel bad.
- Try a superhero pose
Studies show that standing in a superhero pose (think: Superman, Batman – hands up in the air ready to take on the world!) can make you feel more confident, perform better, and help ease anxiety. Find a private spot (or do it publicly if you want!) and strike your favorite superhero pose. Hold it for at least 30 seconds, and then strike another one. You should feel ready to tackle anything after you do.
- Try a meditation
There’s a lot of great meditation apps, like Headspace or Calm, where you can find meditations to ease stress. There’s also a lot of free performance anxiety meditations on YouTube if you do a quick search. While it may feel hard to get into a meditation, with some practise, you’ll find that taking a moment to check in with your body is a great way to prepare for a big event.
We’re here to help! If you want something to wear for your big show to help you feel less nervous, visit or call us today. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for inspiration or contact us at the store for styling help.