As impossible as it seems, recital is only a week away…. We hope all our dancers are excited for the big day, but we also understand that performance day can be a little bit intimidating. Here are some tips to help you prepare!
During the last couple weeks of classes at the studio, you’ve probably been practicing your dance over and over again, as well as (hopefully) practicing at home. But what if you're not at the studio and you don’t have the space to do your dance full out? What then? Well, mental review can be just as helpful as the physical review of your dance!
Tip #1: Review your Dances
Go through the positioning and timing of your dance in your head just as if you were actually doing it. If you have the music, that’s great! If you don’t have the music, practice the counts and pauses just as if you did (or ask your teacher where you can find the soundtrack!). If you’re in more than one dance, mentally walk through the order of your dances and which sides of the stage you enter and exit. Additionally, ask your teacher if you can get a video of your dance during class, or have a friend take a video at rehearsal. Seeing the entire class perform together helps you see the spacing and flow of the dance. You can also watch yourself to find any areas you want to work on before the big day.
Tip #2: Review your Costumes
Lay out all your costumes, including any legwear and shoes, and make sure you have everything you need. Think through the order of your costume changes and how your hair is supposed to be fixed for each dance. It's always a good idea to pack a bag for “Dance Emergencies” with extra bobby pins, safety pins, hairspray, make-up, etc.! For recital day, wear skin-colored under garments (we don’t want any bright pink underwear showing through!) and remember to remove any colored nail polish and jewelry.
Everyone knows it’s important to sleep well, eat well, and hydrate well to be able to perform your best. But when your nerves are getting to you, it can be hard to do any of that on the night before or on the day of recital! So don’t wait until the last minute.
Tip #3: Sleep
Since most people find it difficult to get a good night’s rest on the night before a performance, make sure you’re sleeping well during the week leading up to recital. You should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night (performance or no performance), so try to get to bed a little earlier if necessary, or maybe try not using your phones or drinking caffeine right before bedtime.
Tip #4: Eat
Although you might be tempted, don’t skip breakfast (or lunch) on recital day. Your body needs the energy—dancing is hard work! Along with your “Dance Emergencies” bag, pack a bag of easy-to-eat backstage recital snacks. Things like trail mix, fruits and veggies, and clif bars are all great options.
Tip #5: Hydrate
Hydration is very important to maximize your performance—dehydration can cause increased fatigue and loss of concentration, among other things. But it can be tricky on day of recital… you want to drink enough to stay hydrated, but you also don’t want to drink so much that you have to run to the bathroom every few minutes! Make sure you’re well hydrated leading up to day of recital so that you don’t have to overcompensate during the performance. Additionally, try not to drink too much caffeine on the day before or day of. Instead, try things like water, Gatorade, and/or chocolate milk.
Backstage jitters are a part of performance, and they’re not always bad! The adrenaline that comes from being a little nervous can help us focus and perform our best. Just don’t let your stress or worry get out of hand.
Tip #6: Keep calm and have fun
When you start getting butterflies in your stomach and your heart starts pounding, try to calm yourself by taking deep, slow breaths—breath in through your nose and then exhale through your mouth. Move around to expel some of your nervous energy. When you're on stage, remember that nobody is perfect, so if you make a mistake, just keep going! The audience is there to encourage you, not criticize. And of course, the most important thing is to have fun!
Are you excited for recital? Do you have any tips for performance day? Let us know in the comments below!