Performance anxiety affects a lot of people—even thought to have impacted famous performers and orators like Hugh Grant and Gandhi. Getting the appropriate performance anxiety treatment can be key to relieving that mental block that holds a performer back.
Help your child dance to their full potential. Let’s take a deeper look at performance anxiety in dance and explore ways to overcome the condition.
What Is Stress and Performance Anxiety?
People naturally experience stress for a variety of reasons. This isn’t only normal, but healthy; it’s simply the body reacting to outside influences that we perceive, to one degree or another, as a threat.
Stress and performance anxiety in dance is simply the feeling of stress a dancer experiences before getting on stage (or when thinking about getting on stage). Also known as stage fright, this is a common stressor where performers are stressed about performing well, executing the routine correctly, not disrupting the overall performance with a mistake, etc.
This can be especially pronounced among children and younger performers, as they may lack the tools and resources to effectively deal with performance anxiety. To that end, it’s in their best interest to begin developing the tools to deal with performance anxiety early on.
This not only helps them perform without the unneeded, self-inflicted pressure, but it can also translate into helping them manage stress in other areas of their lives.
What Are the Symptoms of Performance Anxiety?
Below we list some of the most common symptoms you child might experience if they have performance anxiety in dance.
Performance anxiety and stress don’t operate on logic. Instead, performance anxiety in dance often manifests with the performer getting down on themselves and becoming fixated on negativity and the possibility of failure.
When you’re stressed, it’s hard to be yourself. And for happy-go-lucky kids, the difference can be enormous. The good thing is that irritability is a great tell-tale sign that something isn’t right with your child, letting you know that something is wrong.
Fear of Forgetting
One of the most common anxieties is fear of forgetting the routine and delivering a poor performance. This can be especially stressful when performing as part of a group, as you have the added pressure of not wanting to let your fellow performers down.
Fear of Disapproval
Nobody likes to be judged, but as performers, we wilfully subject ourselves to, well, judgement. That can lead to fears of disapproval and not being liked by the audience. People also often feel like they lack control on stage and are vulnerable, which can heighten their anxiety.
What Are the Ways to Overcome Your Performance Anxiety?
Don’t let performance anxiety hinder your child from reaching their full potential. Here are some sure-fire ways to overcome stage fright.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Dance is an art and sport that requires intense discipline and practice to execute correctly. This “practice makes perfect” mentality is even more important when the dancer is facing performance anxiety. Those feelings of anxiety and fear of performing can be alleviated immensely when the dancer feels in control and command of the routine. That way, whenever that nagging inner voice starts being self-critical, the dancer can silence it with the knowledge that they know their routine inside and out.
Focus on the Positives
Sometimes, your mindset is a choice. And in the case of performance anxiety, you can even convince yourself that you’re not anxious at all—actually, you’re excited! This is a proven method to help dispel those negative thoughts that otherwise won’t go away. And by changing your mindset to focus on the positives, this can instil confidence, which has the added bonus of improving the dance itself as confidence can be a huge component of performing certain moves and styles.
Talk with Family and Friends
While practice and doing performance reps is key to nailing the dance, there is such a thing as practicing too much. You need time to decompress, too! That means spending time with friends and family, doing other hobbies, and otherwise ensuring that your life is balanced and complete and not overly focused on your performance. This can help take your mind off the coming performance which in turn helps to reduce anxiety.
Getting proper sleep, eating healthy, exercising outside of dance, stretching, and so many other important health concerns can often be neglected by dancers obsessing over their next performance. But this typically only worsens anxiety! Making sure the dancer continues to live a balanced lifestyle is key, and that means not neglecting important health concerns like healthy eating and exercise.
Breathing methods can be a great de-escalation tool; if your body begins to feel like it’s getting overwhelmed, this can create a feedback loop where you feel overwhelmed which makes you believe you’re overwhelmed which makes it easier to feel more overwhelmed, etc. Breathing exercises can help centre the performer and prevent that feedback loop. This can be especially important for newer or younger performers as they often have the toughest time just being in the moment.
Find Children’s Dance Classes in Toronto That Will Help Your Young Performer Deal with Performance Anxiety in Dance
Now that we know some useful performance anxiety treatments, you need Vaughan dance classes for your kid that will put it all into practice.
Performing Dance Arts provides children’s dance classes in Toronto that can help your child overcome these common performance anxiety obstacles.
Our children’s dance classes in Toronto are designed to help your child do what they love—dance—while improving their skills and learning new moves along the way.
If you’re looking for one of the best dance studios in Ontario, then get in touch with us today! Contact us to register your child or learn more about which style and program fits best. We offer dance classes for all skill levels and ages!