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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Yvonne Montoya with her son Buddy at home. Photo by Dominic A Bonuccelli, Courtesy Montoya

The Challenges of Dancing While Parenting While Going Through a Pandemic

When Yvonne Montoya climbs all over the piano while her 12-year-old son Buddy tries to practice on it, we might guess that she is either having a parental meltdown or making a dance. Turns out, it's both. "It's been wild, and completely overwhelming," says Montoya from her Tucson, Arizona home, where she lives with Buddy and her husband.

Montoya, a 23rd-generation Nuevomexicana and founding director of Safos Dance Theatre, is one of many dance artists navigating motherhood during COVID-19. Choreographers, educators, artistic directors and dancers are not only trying to keep their careers afloat by creating digital work, but some have also been dealing with their now homebound children in the wobbly world of the Zoom school room, which is about to crank up again in most of the U.S. Doing that while managing a company, a studio or a freelance career can sometimes generate a type of artful chaos.

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