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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Coping with nerves..


Guest sylphide*4ever

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Guest sylphide*4ever

This year was my first concert on pointe, performing a real classical piece (Paquita). For some reason, my teachers wanted me to perform one of the variations . They said that I did it pretty well in our repertoire class. I was really worried about it, because all the soloists were 15-17. Compared to them, I looked like a little midget.. :( However, my teachers reassured me and told me that I was strong enough, etc etc. So, I believed them and tried my hardest during all rehearsals and classes. On the night of the performance, I was really nervous!! I almost couldn't put my make-up on because I was shaking so much... In the end, my variation went surprisingly well. My teacher told me that my performance had an extra "oomph" because of my nerves.

 

Now, I still don't really understand that. Can nerves actually benefit a performance? Shouldn't it make it worse? Does anyone have any ways to calm yourself down before a performance? Also, just out of curiosity... Is it true that dancers/students aren't the only people that are nervous before performances? Do teachers/choreographers ever get the nerves?

 

Veronica

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Stage nerves bring on the "fight or flight" response from the nervous and endocrine system, and your adrenal glands pump a lot of adrenaline (epinephrine) into the body. This hormone steps everything up and makes it work either to save your life, or get the heck out of danger.

 

This state can sometimes be mixed with depression and produce a depression which can paralyze an actor or dancer into freezing when the curtain goes up! Notable sufferers from this sort of stage fright were the brilliant French actress Sarah Bernhardt, and Sir Winston Churchill. Some use the adrenaline rush to boost their energy onstage. US President Eisenhower used it this way. Other notable sufferers include a host of "tough guy" actors including Edward G. Robinson, George Raft, and strangely enough, Boris Karloff! Modern actors don't talk so much about their stage fright, but I can tell you, they have it!

 

And yes, choreographers, directors and producers all experience stage nerves, even if they're not onstage. It's called "flop sweat" in the business!;)

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Guest BroadwayDiva8

one thing that i do to calm myself down before i go onstage. is right before my cue, i take the biggest breath that i can, and then let it out slowly. it really helps for me! :(

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I Don't really get nervous before a performance, But I do get really nervous before an audition. So, I Take deep breaths and read a book before I have to get ready because it takes my mind off of my nervousness, Though you can't do that when you are about to go onstage, Take deep breaths, And go through the steps in your head, That's what helps me.

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Guest Nadezhda

I'm too old to be allowed to post in this forum, but I remember Mr. Johnson writing a good method of coping with nerves once. Therefor I hope my contributing to this topic is OK. He said to try to see tulips of different colours growing out of people's ears. This is difficult to imagine at first, but once you really see yellow tulips growing out of your teacher's ears you're alreadly rolling on the floor laughing. I could barely keep gigles at bay on the night of my recital. :( :(

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