Is Your Pre-Show Ritual Uninspired? Take A Cue From These 12 Pros

March 16, 2020

We know there are certain things dancers can do pre-show to help them perform at their best. (Like warming up, eating something energizing and maybe even taking a nap!)

But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.

Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:

Choreographer and Entrepreneur Jacob Jonas

“My company is very family-oriented. We warm up as a group and before the show like to huddle up and share any messages of motivation.”

Miami City Ballet’s Nathalia Arja

“I like to listen to gospel songs in my dressing room as I’m getting ready for my shows, and I will never get out there without praying. I dedicate every performance to God.”

Dancer and Choreographer Emma Portner

“I arrive hours early for mental preparation, abdominals, push-ups, caffeine and then ‘save it for the stage.’ “

The Washington Ballet’s Ashley Murphy

“I take a power nap, drink a Red Bull and take three Advil.”

Dancer and Choreographer Ephrat Asherie

“I have a very specific warm-up that I swear by. I also have a tradition of giving my dancers York Peppermint Patties before every show.”

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Leta Biasucci

“For roles that are accompanied by nerves, I like to find time before a performance to spend visualizing the piece. I close my eyes and imagine how the ‘perfect’ performance would feel. I find this practice to be meditative and allows for me to feel more excited than nervous.

“Not necessarily a ritual, but I have to double-check my performance shoe ribbons and re-sew ones that look like they might possibly come unsewn. Who wants to spend a show worrying about shoes falling off?”

Martha Graham Dance Company’s PeiJu Chien-Pott

“I usually arrive at the theater much earlier than the call time. I set up my dressing room to create a feels-like-home space. I do my makeup and hair while I listen to some calm music. And right before I get onstage, I meditate for five minutes and ‘talk’ to Martha. Finally, I give the stage a kiss.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Hope Boykin

“My most important ritual is prayer. I simply ask that the audience will see the most honest artist in me. Despite the frustrations, feelings, aches and pains I may be experiencing, I long for the best performance to resonate in the hearts of those watching.”

Dancer and Choreographer Caleb Teicher

“I usually improvise to a couple songs by myself to get some creative juices flowing. Then, I try to find some quiet time so that listening to music onstage feels fresh and focused. I may eat some gummy bears, too.”

Ballet Dancer Joy Womack

“A nap, music, meditation, a solid class and a leisurely yet thorough warm up. Also, SECOND SKIN.”

Dutch National Ballet’s Michaela DePrince

“I always kiss the floor and then I pray and dedicate my show to someone in my family because most of the time they don’t have the opportunity to watch me perform.”

Choreographer James Alsop

“I close my eyes and whisper the most intimate prayer.”