Your adrenaline spikes and you start to sweat. Your throat goes dry and breathing suddenly seems like an effort. Maybe your hands get clammy and it’s hard to think about anything else but how embarrassed you are and that you’re about to crash and burn in front of everyone.
Whether you are speaking or dancing in front of people, it’s common to feel anxiety. The good news is that with practice and focus you can train yourself to manage your fear and overcome any errors or missteps. Here are a few tips from the experts at Ballroom Dance Chicago:
Start Early: The more time you give yourself to practice your dance, the more confident and skilled you will become. It’s just like studying for a big exam: you usually get better results when you study for a an extended period of time beforehand, as opposed to pulling an all night cram session right before the test. Give yourself the time you need to be successful.
Visualize: Just like a basketball player about to shoot a free throw or a golfer about to tee off, it is helpful for a dancer to visualize their movements and patterns before taking the floor. This is a test run for your brain to focus and prepare for what is ahead of you. The right mindset can make all the difference!
Harness that Adrenaline: Humans have a natural stress response which triggers a release of adrenaline through the body. The increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and boost of energy supplies are designed to help you deal with a stressful situation. It’s important to view this “adrenaline rush” as a positive factor that will both support and increase your performance quality.
Breathe: Your brain needs oxygen to think clearly so don’t deprive it! Many people hold their breath while performing without even knowing it. Practice breathing as you practice your dance. Holding your breath can cause your face to turn red and prevent you from thinking clearly on the dance floor.
Have a back up: Designate a step to fall back on in case you miss something. Usually the first step you learned is what you are most comfortable with. If you get lost in your pattern or have a misstep, use this basic step to get back on track and give yourself time to think about what to do next.
Keep Smiling!: The majority of your audience is looking at your face and upper body, they are not staring at your footwork. If you make a mistake, don’t let it show on your face and stay relaxed. Your audience is rooting for you to do well, and unless you make a big deal about a misstep they won’t even notice.