How To Cope With Performance Anxiety and Boost Your Performance

As we are coming close toward the end of the year, dancers are usually busy in preparation of performances and studio recitals. It’s the time of the year for dancers to showcase their talents and all the hard work throughout the year.

As exciting as it is to be performing, it is also nerve wrecking. You’re afraid you might blank out on stage, slip and fall, or forgot the choreography you’ve been practicing for the past 6 months. You doubt yourself.

When the pressure of peeping at the audience backstage hits you, performance anxiety may be your worst nightmare… or is it?

Here are tips on how to cope with performance anxiety and how you can turn them into an advantage to your performance!

Embrace Anxiety

According to the research of Journal of Experimental Psychology, it was found that most successful elite athletes embrace their anxiety as excitement. It is the energy they use to channel into their performance.

The same applies to dancers. Telling yourself to calm down will only cause your brain to acknowledge that there is something wrong which causes you to become more anxious.

Instead, take some alone time to embrace it. Allow your emotions to sink in, acknowledge its presence, and channel it into your performance. It could be channeled into your expressions, the accent of your movements, or maybe even the way you slowly walk across the stage.

Bottom line, don’t fight it.

Practice Deep Breathing & Relaxation Techniques

Rehearsing relaxation techniques is one of the most neglected mistakes performers make.

Before going backstage, practice taking long, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Studies have shown that it helps to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it produces a state of calmness for the performer.

This should be done 30 minutes before going on stage. Try making this into your pre-performance habit and you’ll find yourself calmer and grounded when performing on stage!

Eat The Right Food

Eating the right food before your performance does do wonders to your body, energy, and emotions. The most recommended snacks are bananas and chocolate.

Similar to beta-blocker drugs,  bananas prevents adrenaline from binding to beta receptors in our bodies. Hence our bodies are able to maintain lower blood pressure and a steady heart rate. In addition, bananas keeps our bodies fueled and feeling full by providing slow release energy.

Chocolate, however, contains cocoa that releases serotonin. It is an amino acid from which dopamine derives from and is also a hormone that helps make us feel relaxed and upbeat.

Try eating a banana and a couple of squares of dark chocolate an hour before performing. They both take at least an hour to be processed into the bloodstream and the calming effects to take place. So make sure you eat them earlier!

Foods that you should be avoiding before your performance are coffee, tea, alcohol, processed food, and sugar.

Don’t Worry, It’s Normal!

If it’s any consolation, even professional dancers have performance anxiety!

It’s normal to have them. The excitement, anxiety, and fear keeps you on your toes.

However, instead of letting performance anxiety ruin your mental, emotional, and physical state, you can now use it to your advantage and boost your performance!


If you’re struggling to keep up with hectic rehearsal schedules and your body doesn’t have time to recover, check out these tips on 4 Nutrients To Relieve Muscle Soreness and Recover Faster !


Grace Rundi

Continuously searching for an artistic voice, spotting muses, and drawing inspirations.

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