Plan a post-performance evaluation. Photo by Rachel Papo for Pointe

3 Ways To Quickly Recover When Everything Goes Wrong Onstage

No matter how many hours you spend in rehearsal, or how diligently you prepare for performance, mistakes are bound to happen onstage from time to time. What can you do to quickly recoup so that you can keep dancing without the audience noticing that you ever missed a step?


1. Plan To Address Mistakes After Curtain

Before you step foot in the wings, schedule a time for self-evaluation later that night or the next day, suggests sports and performance psychologist Dr. Kate Hays, who works with both athletes and dancers in Toronto. That way, you won't be tempted to dwell on any missteps onstage since you know you'll address them later.

You have plenty of time to figure out what went wrong after you stop dancing. Photo by Matthew Henry/StockSnap


2. Imagine Physically Letting It Go

Practice a coping strategy that brings your mind back to the present moment. It could be as simple as telling yourself "It's okay," as a reminder that you're human. Dr. Jonathan Fader, who serves as director of mental conditioning for the New York Giants football team, recommends imagining folding up the mistake like a piece of paper and slipping it in your pocket or a bucket, to mentally separate yourself from what happened.

Think of throwing your mistake out in the trash. Photo by Charles Deluvio/Unsplash


3. Reframe Your Mindset About Mistakes

"What holds most people back is a fear of failure," says performance coach Steve Magness, co-author of Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success. But if you see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, you'll improve faster. Sure, you might make a few mistakes along the way, but you'll end up a better dancer. Remember that your worst performances are actually the most valuable, because they provide insight into how you can improve.

The toughest performances offer the best chances to grow. Photo by Rachel Papo for Pointe.

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Get More Out of Your Dance Degree—Whether You're on Campus or Not

When Rose Conroy-Voza entered Rider University in 2016, she thought all she needed to focus on was her dance classes. But the 2020 graduate found herself cherishing experiences outside of the studio—memberships in upwards of 10 clubs, an on-campus job and meaningful connections with her professors. "As I was introduced to all these different opportunities," she says, "I realized that there is so much more that dancers could have."

Just because you got into a great dance program does not mean you are getting everything you possibly can out of your college education. Whether you're online or on campus this semester, there's an abundance of resources available. All you need to do is figure out how best to take advantage of them.

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