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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Feeling Nervous/Restrained During Performances


gerlonda

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Well, yesterday I participated in the second performance of my life following a 3 month preparation/rehearsal period. I did not dance my best. 2 years ago I danced in my first performance and I also did not feel like I did my best then. It is hard to describe how I felt but I will try. First of all we only did like 2 run-throughs on the actual stage (which was bigger then our ballet/rehearsal studio), is that a normal amount guys? Second of all (and this is the hard to describe part) I felt "slightly" nervous, but not that much, but most of all I felt like my body was being physically restrained from outside forces.... I don't know.... almost like someone had loosely wrapped my body in Ace bandages like a mummy (but not that tight). I totally felt like I was not turning out and I was not pointing my feet. My tour jetes were totally lower than in rehearsal. Sometimes I felt as if time was going by way too slowly and then other times I felt like it was going by so fast like in a blur. The dance was over before I knew it. I totally felt as if all of my movements had been pared down. I did not feel as if I really stretched myself, I was not out of breath, I didn't even break a sweat (and I am one of the sweatiest dancers around... like after plies in class I usually have a pool of sweat on my back and stomach).

Like I said, this is very hard for me to describe. I just totally felt like my movements were not smoothly linking together. Even though we were on a big stage I felt as if my limbs were restrained, I WANTED to reach out more but I think sub-consciously I did not want to make any mistakes, lose balance, look like an idiot. It was a student showcase at a high school so the stage really wasn't a "performance" stage where like the audience was blacked out, so I could see people in the audience and their expressions and I felt a nagging at my heart like they were thinking "She's in her 20's, why is she up there dancing with teens?" or "She looks so stiff, why is she up there?"

I don't know. I know this is long. I know I definitely may need to perform more often than every other year. Maybe then I will feel more comfortable. I don't think my problem was nervousness or stage fright (I honestly don't even think I was moving big enough to increase my pulse). Is any of this making sense?

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gerlonda,

It doesn't sound like stage fright. You got through it! Congratulations on your second performance. It's not easy to get in front of an audience.

 

I think the feelings you had are total normal. Over time, with more experience, you'll lose the detached weird feeling of time distortions (that's actually a pretty common anxiety-related feeling:)

 

It took me a while before I "trusted" my own body enough to dance "big" on stage. I used to feel very constrained and clumsy too. All dancers get a bit anxious on stage, and not every show will be your best. The key is to rehearse enough so that even a mediocre performance will look OK from the audience's perspective.

 

Just smile and don't avoid looking up. All the audience cares about is that you look confident and happy. Even if you want to hide under a rock:) Seriously, it's acting...

 

Yes, it's normal to only get two run-throughs on a stage.

 

Congrats!!

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Hi gerlonda...I think that if you had performed a second or third time (more than one show) you might have experienced something different. That was a lot of work for one performance, and in your mind, you are possibly thinking, "I only have one shot at this"? I think that this can impact your experience. What you felt, like lampwick indicated, is pretty normal. It sounds like you got through the show very well. Sometimes, I have observed in myself, that what seemed like a poor performance was in fact not as bad as I imagined. We are all our own worst critics! I hope you have the opportunity to perform again sometime soon... :blushing: It can really be very exciting and fullfilling.

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Thanks for your support guys! Hopefully after more intense (and correct) training my technique will improve and I will have more confidence that the audience will appreciate my movements on stage :dry:

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Gerlonda, I've been performing onstage for theatre and singing since I was three.

 

I started really dancing when I was 20.

 

Now, I'm not used to stage fright anymore.....I'm a professional performer and a performance teacher.....but dancing? I -always- feel more awkward, less prepared, and NERVOUS. Not even in the sense of "Oh my gosh, I'm on stage", but more the "I don't really know what I'm doing. I don't belong here".

 

But I got over my original stage fright with simple more time on stage. I think that will help my dancing performances too. The more you do it, the better you get, right?

 

Anyway, just my thoughts. Congrats on TWO performances!

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