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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Something magical happens when Jovani Furlan smiles at another dancer onstage. Whether it's a warm acknowledgment between sections of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering or an infectious grin delivered in the midst of a puzzle box of a sequence in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, whoever is on the receiving end brightens.

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