Advice for Dancers

Where's Front? Tips for Not Getting Turned Around Onstage

Photo by Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash

I'm terrified of performing choreography that changes directions. I messed up last year when the stage lights caused me to become disoriented. What can I do to prevent this from happening again? I can perform the combination just fine in the studio with the mirror.

—Scared, San Francisco, CA


It's never too late to learn from your experience. Last year, you were taken by surprise, but now you know what to expect and can prepare ahead of time. Practice the choreography in the studio by facing away from the mirror so you feel self-assured without using your reflection to guide you.

Then, try to get into the theater early to rehearse. Focus on something tangible (like the red exit sign at the back of the house) to center you. The point is to orient yourself despite the blinding stage lights, so you can become immersed in the performance. The most magical dancers stay in the moment instead of getting distracted by worrisome questions like "What if I can't perform that step?"

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

Related Articles Around the Web
    From Your Site Articles
    The Conversation
    Dancers Trending
    Photo by Alfredo Cannatello, courtesy Rodríguez

    Mention "flamenco" to anyone in the Cuban dance scene, and they are likely to bring up Irene Rodríguez. Artistic director of Compañía Irene Rodríguez, Cuba's premiere flamenco company, Rodríguez has shared the stage with such renowned flamenco artists as Eva Yerbabuena, María Juncal and Antonio Gades. She is also a faculty member at Havana's Fernando Alonso National Ballet School, and has served as a choreography consultant at Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

    Starting this week, she's stateside to direct the flamenco and Spanish dance program at Jacob's Pillow.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Dance Training
    Irina Kolpakova in the studio with Katherine Williams. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

    Being coached by a treasure like former Kirov prima Irina Kolpakova is an experience most dancers only dream of. But company members at American Ballet Theatre have been the lucky beneficiaries of her wisdom since 1990. Thanks to Instagram, where pros like Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside share snippets of their sessions with Kolpakova, any ballet lover can be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the famed ballet mistress.

    Keep reading... Show less

    mailbox

    Get Dance Magazine in your inbox