Health & Body
A performance psychologist can help dancers work through barriers to peak performance. Getty Images

A dancer once contacted me because he was devastated after walking in on his girlfriend with another man. While he was distressed about ending the relationship, he was most concerned about a major performance coming up. They had to dance a romantic pas de deux. When I met with them together, she was afraid he would drop her and he didn't want to look lovingly in her eyes. My role was to help them find ways to make magic onstage and keep their personal difficulties offstage. They ended up dancing to rave reviews.

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Health & Body
Treating dancers is a unique challenge. Photo by Getty Images

When Dance Magazine surveyed our readers last summer, 81 percent said the field wasn't doing enough to support mental health. We sat down with four mental health professionals, each with more than a decade of experience working with dancers, to find out their thoughts on how mental health is being addressed in the dance community today, and what makes it so challenging.

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Career Advice
Every dancer has their own pre-performance routine. Photo by Lindsay Thomas

For demanding, vulnerable performances, the mental warm-up and wind-down is unique to each artist. Three dancers share how they get in the zone, and come back to normal life afterward:

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

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?

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Career Advice
Jim Lafferty for Pointe

You're standing in the wings, moments from entering the stage. You've done your planks to warm up your core, pliés to feel centered and dynamic stretches to loosen up. But your mind won't stop racing through all the ways your performance could go wrong.

Sport science strategies can get you in the right headspace. Photo by Thinkstock

Ideally, a warm-up should be more than just a physical preparation to dance. Because if you want to unlock your full potential, you need to get in the right headspace. "Your mentality is going to dictate which version of you comes out on any given day," says performance psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader, who serves as director of mental conditioning for the New York Giants football team. These top strategies from the sports world can help you reach the state of mind that will serve you best.

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