Photo by Ali Müftüoğulları, Courtesy Unsplash

3 Tips for Fighting Performance Anxiety

Whenever I'm cast in a solo role, I'm consumed with thoughts of everything that could go wrong. Please help.

—Isabella, Philadelphia, PA


Raising the stakes with "what ifs" only heightens your anxiety. Your insecurity may stem from a lack of stage experience or low self-confidence.

The first can be overcome by putting in extra rehearsal time until the solo becomes part of your muscle memory.

Gaining confidence requires mental conditioning, such as learning to reframe negative thoughts (like "I'm going to mess up") with something positive ("I'm excited and ready to go").

Adopting a strong stage persona may also help you tap into traits that will enhance your performance—just think of what Beyoncé's alter ego, Sasha Fierce, did for her. Many of the best dancers have struggled with anxiety. You are not alone.

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Charlene Gehm MacDougal as Lead Nursemaid in Petrushka. Photo by Herbert Migdoll, courtesy the MacDougal family.

In Memoriam: Joffrey Dancer Charlene Gehm MacDougal, 69

Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.

Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.

As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
February 2021