It takes courage to step onto a stage and perform. Putting yourself in the spotlight means that all eyes are on your movements and the story you are trying to tell. This is even truer when you are competing. Your teammates, friends, and parents are watching and cheering you on, but the judges are also watching to assess your technique, choreography, emotion, and more. It would be silly to say that this isn’t stressful, but competition nerves can be overcome to make competing more fun!
Turn Nerves Into Enthusiasm
Nervousness is just one expression of a strong emotion. That means that was a little effort you can actually use your nervousness and anxiety to fuel your performance. To do this, translate all of your nervous thoughts into positive ones. Keep those positive, emotionally charged thoughts with you as you perform! Before you know it, your routine will be finished and you won’t even remember why you were nervous in the first place.
Bring the Studio to the Stage
If the crowds and spotlights are what make you nervous, focus on the things that are the same as your studio space. Doing this will make the stage more of a personal and comfortable space. You can also focus on people that remind you of your studio. Look for your teacher or your parents in the audience. The most important thing is to focus on things that make you happy and confident and not on the things that scare you.
Remember the Judges are Cheering for You
Judges are there to score your abilities and your performance, but they are not there to make you feel bad! The judges give you their scores and comments to determine what awards you get, but they also give them to you so you can improve! Every comment is meant to be taken as encouragement to continue to develop as a dancer and a performer. Even though the judges have to critique your performance, they are still rooting for you as dancers and as artists. Keep this in mind, because it will help make the judges feel more like teammates and less like obstacles.