Conquer Your Fear of Understudying
Why am I scared of success? I’m understudying a lead part in a musical, but my reaction is pure fear. I know other dancers who are envious of this chance. Can you help me conquer my demons?
—Cary, Hoboken, NJ
Yes, but you’ll need to identify the trigger so you can deal with your fear. If you are afraid of other dancers’ envious reactions to your success, then it’s necessary to ignore their negativity, which often stems from insecurity. Be pleasant when they are courteous and forget the rest. On the other hand, if your fear is tied to the possibility of failing to perform to your potential in a lead, it’s crucial to lower the stakes. Assuming that your callback was stellar (or else you wouldn’t have been asked to understudy the part), focus on the mindset that made it work then and use it now.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at