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 firstname.lastname@example.org.