6 Ways to Prep for Spring Performances

April 19, 2016


BODYTRAFFIC dancers circling up in the dressing room before a performance. Courtney Paige Photography, Courtesy BODYTRAFFIC.

With spring showcases and year-end performances right around the corner, April is go time for dancers. Peruse our best tips so you’ll step onstage feeling confident and prepared.

1. Get inspired.
If you’re feeling nervous or hum-drum about upcoming shows, check out how choreographer Monica Bill Barnes or Ailey’s Jacqueline Green spend their performance days. We followed these dancers—and many others—for our web series, “Behind the Curtain.” Watch their episodes here.

2. Bolster your stamina.
It can be worrisome if you’re not where you want to be stamina-wise a few days before opening night. While cardio workouts probably won’t do much for you at that point, consider using this self-talk trick to help you tap into extra energy reserves and make it through the show in one piece.

3. Get into character.
If you’re dancing a ballet that draws on traditional character dances (Here’s looking at you, CoppéliaDon Quixote and Raymonda), step into a character class to fine-tune the authenticity of your steps and master any tricky timing. Even if you’re not performing a mazurka or tarantella, character classes will give you an edge onstage. American Ballet Theatre soloist Christine Shevchenko even says her character training helped her pick up contemporary pieces quickly.

4. Meal-plan like a pro. 
Don’t let your performance day meals be determined by what’s in the nearest vending machine. Read our tips for what and when to eat before the curtain goes up, plus six smart backstage snack suggestions.

5. Refine your rituals.
If you don’t already have a pre-performance routine, think about what activities, like meditating or listening to a playlist of favorite songs, get you in the zone. On the other hand, some dancers’ routines may be more rooted in superstition than preparation. Find the right balance here.

6. If you’re an understudy,
 take a moment to glean advice from these five dancers who were thrust into the spotlight with little notice. In the scary but exhilarating circumstance that another dancer gets injured or sick, it could be you.



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