Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Overcoming Performance AnxietyGetting Back on the Horse
Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety can be a debilitating experience and one that can rob dancers of their joy and love of performance if not properly dealt with.
10 years ago I was in my 2nd year of full time training and after 12 years of performing on multiple stages annually, I experienced for the first time INTENSE performance anxiety like never before! I had a panic attack side stage that seemed to come from no where and in my case it was an absolute first!
In that performance I also created some more first time experiences… I ended up falling off my point shoe after a pirouette in arabesque (yes that’s right after not during) onto my knees and then another first… I FAKED a knee injury just to get off that stage because I was so embarrassed!
So how do you get back on the horse after a big fall?
The good news is that there is a way! I have some proven yet simple tools to help you minimise performance anxiety to enable you to reclaim your power as the brilliant performer that you really are!
Firstly, the aim for a powerful performance is to be as centered and focused as possible in your performance. In order to get to this place of enthused focus and balance we first have to understand the mind and the role it plays in relation to our performance.
Because your body reacts to the commands of the mind, when the mind is in an imbalanced state it will release adrenaline into the body relative to the amount of imbalance in the mind. Meaning the more stressed you are, the more adrenaline is pumped through your body. We need a small amount of adrenaline for powerful performances, but extreme levels rob us of our energy, focus, mind and control over our bodies!
Want to know how to re balance your mind and bring power and energy to your body immediately? Of course you do! Knowing this is a performer’s gold to consistent, powerful and purposeful performances! For the first time I recommend doing these exercises with pen and paper. Think of it as yoga for the mind.
Step 1
Isolate your Specific F.E.A.R
False Evidence Appearing Real – is created in the mind through one perceiving they will experience more pain, challenge or negative experience as opposed to joy, pleasure and fun in their performance. Defining what your personal fear or hidden monster is, is very important. To do this you may have to dig around in your head and ask yourself as if you were asking a small child. Listen for the answer and then write it down because it will most likely be a repeated pattern that we can now transform into power! So what is your fear?
Step 2
What is The Benefit of Your F.E.A.R Coming True?
Ok now this may seem like a CRAZY question…but there is a method behind my madness, so stay with me guys!
Once you have ratted out your personal monster named fear I want you to write down at least 30 benefits for that specific fear coming true! It may appear like we are feeding a fear but the truth is you can only feed fear with more fear and negativity itself. By writing out as many benefits as possible you begin to dissolve the negative charge and nightmare in your mind which will affect your neurology and physiology straight away. Write out as many benefits until the nightmare becomes neutralised.
Step 3
Re-ignite Your Unique Gifts
No one performs the same as you! You are a very unique performer and the more you know your gifts, the more your power and self confidence increases- which means the more your ability increases! Write down at least 30 qualities you LOVE about your dance ability.
Step 4
Pre-Paving Through Visualisation
Leading up to your performance visualise yourself performing your routine to your optimal and more importantly notice how you FEEL when your are doing this. Primarily we dance for the feeling and it is the feeling that holds the power. I encourage my students to lye down close their eyes, play their performance music and visually see in their mind their powerful performance as well as feeling the emotive power of their routine.
This is a pre-paving technique from my teachings that helps performers consciously create their performance outcomes.
Step 5
Practise Makes Perfect
Now the dance teacher in me is reminding you that the more rehearsed you are, the more confident you will feel!
Rehearsing includes refining your routine both physically in the studio and mentally through the above exercises.
Finalling- Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. I coach performers all the time in field of human behaviour and self-actualisation. like myself, there are many other professional coaches, facilitators or sports psychologists that are experts in helping performers overcome fears and limiting beliefs in order to achieve their dreams!
Yours in life and dance,
Kate Histon
For further information on Kate’s services visit katehiston.com or email info@katehiston.com
© Copyright Kate Histon 2008- Excerpt from the Master DancerTM Training series. All rights reserved. Any unauthorised distributing or copying of this article is forbidden.

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One thought on “Overcoming Performance Anxiety”

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    hi! I’ve suddenly started suffering from really bad performance anxiety, which I’ve never had a problem with before. it’s been really bad during auditions, when I learn a full set on the day. I read through all the steps to overcome it, and I must say, they are the only ones that have worked! because I’m a dancer who is freaked out by forgetting choreo and/or stuffing up the set choreo, listing the benefits of mistakes really helped. I realized that there are a lot of things I can do to keep the choreo moving and looking natural, and I feel a lot better. thankyou so much for writing this article, it’s very helpful!!

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