3 side-stage mistakes and how to avoid them
As dance teachers, we spend hours in the studio trying to perfect our dancer’s technique and bring out their very best performance. We keep them calm backstage but once they are just about to go on, have we given them all the skills they need to really smash their performance? Those final moments before a dancer sets foot on stage can make or break their performance. Hours of work in the studio can be undone, just in that few moments before a dancer steps out to perform! What else can we do to help them during this crucial time? What can we do to help them avoid making common side-stage mistakes?
Why is side-stage such a big deal?
The last few moments before a dancer takes the stage are sometimes the hardest for them to deal with. There are so many different feelings, emotions, and inputs to process and it is easy for a dancer to become overwhelmed. As these are the last few moments before they step on stage, becoming overwhelmed at this stage can have a huge impact on performance. There are 3 common side-stage mistakes, nerves, the side-stage psych-out, and the on-stage psych-out.
Just before a dancer takes the stage, nerves can really take over. They know that it is make or break time, that there is no turning back. How they deal with those nerves in that moment has a fundamental impact on their performance. It is really important for dancers to learn strategies to overcome nerves and to build side-stage routines to keep them in the right frame of mind. It is important for dancers to learn how to deal with negative and anxious thoughts that creep in at the last moment, but once they have mastered this skill they will be able to overcome the negative impact of nerves. For example, Michael Phelps likes to visualize any scenario and work out a solution. That way he feels prepared for anything that might happen. There is a full unit on this kind of visualization in the Success Mindset for Dancers Pack.
The side-stage psych out
Dancers deal with nerves in different ways and one very common one is the side stage psych-out. Other dancers doing last-minute practices of their routine can totally psych your dancer out. Imagine they are struggling with their turns and then moments before they go on stage, the dancer that is after them executes a series of flawless turns. This kind of thing happens ALL the time so knowing how to deal with it is key
The on-stage psych out
It isn’t just other competitors side-stage that can psych your dancer out, it is also the dancer on before them. Standing side stage and watching an amazing dancer can rock the confidence of even the most prepared dancer.
The good news is that there are strategies to deal with this and they are all about mindset and creating a strong side-stage routine. With the right mindset, dancers can learn to NOT be negatively impacted by nerves and also to USE them to their advantage. Dancers need to learn to know when they are nervous and use self-talk to combat nervous thoughts. Focus and goal setting is also key. When dancers have clear goals they are better able to be ‘in the moment’ and to use laser focus to develop a side stage routine that minimizes the impact of other dancers.
The Success Mindset for Dancers pack was developed to help dancers create winning side-stage routines by helping dancers to unpack nerves, fears, and anxiety so that they can actually be used to help dancers consistently hit their routines. From there, dancers learn how to connect their intentions with their actions and develop a laser focussed routine that will overcome even the worst case of the psych-out. Once your dancer starts using mindset tools to improve their performance you will wonder how you ever managed without them. You can learn more about the Journal here.