Five tips for Dealing with Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety
Do you dread the thought of getting on stage and performing? If your answer is YES, then you are not alone. A lot of people suffer from performance anxiety, commonly known as stage fright. No matter what style of dance or stage performance you do, whether it’s a small shopping centre performance or an eisteddfod or concert - nerves can kick in at any time.
Sometimes it’s not just the racing pulse, sweaty hands or the harmless backstage butterflies that you have to tackle before a performance. Performance anxiety can include symptoms like fear of forgetting the steps or your position, irritability, which may even negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Instead of enjoying the moment, performance anxiety can prevent you from doing what you love and can even affect your career.
So how do you get back to controlling your emotions and enjoying what you love? These five tips will help you overcome performance anxiety and reduce stage fright.
1. Distract Yourself before the Performance
Have you ever realised that the moment you step onstage, your tensions typically start to fade away? Within a minute or two, you are so engrossed with your performance that you forget you were anxious a few minutes beforehand. Studies say that we get most anxious in the moments leading up to the performance. You can minimise this anticipatory anxiety by reminding yourself that the feeling will fade once you're out there. It is also helpful if you distract yourself by changing your focus during the time leading up to the performance. Start planning what you'll do after the performance or call up a friend and chat about something else.
2. Calm and Relax your Mind and Body
Finding ways to relax is important. Deep and slow breathing exercises help relax your mind and body. Simple Yoga postures and meditation often help the relaxation process. ADDCo also offers Yoga classes if you need help with ideas on ways to relax. Pre performance rituals like stretching and humming can progressively relax your mind and body. Practicing these techniques ahead of time allows you to become comfortable and feel familiar when you are about to step on stage.
3. Pick a Focal Point
An age-old trick that we practice at our dance classes in Liverpool is to throw your nervous energy to a distant spot at the back of the hall. Pick a far-off point at the back of the audience and visualise yourself redirecting your nervous energy towards that point. Picking a friendly face in the audience to focus on is another good way to lower your anxiety.
4. Watch what you Eat and Drink
Don’t eat or drink something that triggers your nerves, makes you feel sluggish or wanting to use the restroom.
Caffeine and refined sugar adds to the adrenaline your body produces, making your symptoms worse. So avoid these ingredients the day of the performance. Eat a well-balanced meal/snack - something that is low in fat and high in protein can be a good fuel for your energy.
5. And Finally – be Prepared
Rehearse and practice as much as you can. Being familiar with your dance steps and positions can make you more confident. Recording yourself and watching yourself perform to identify the areas you need to practice more is what we encourage at ADDCo.
If you’re looking for a dance school in Liverpool that can get you over your stage fright and performance anxiety, contact us and we can chat about what classes are right for you or your child!