Whether it was your first day at your job, a marriage proposal, or your first steps into your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio - these risks all prove to have greater reward.
Your first dance performance is no different, but without the rewards of hindsight, the future can look risky.
The Survival Guide To Your First Dance Performance
1. You'll Never Just Feel "Ready"
"Ready" is a feeling that is best recognized in the past tense: "I really was ready for that event!"
2. Everyone Gets Nervous
It doesn’t matter if you’re a total newbie or a seasoned pro; everyone gets nervous before a performance.
3. Nervous Means You Care
Not feeling nervous is not possible, unless you just don't care (and even then, you're probably just faking it).
4. Nervous Is The Wrong Word
What you actually are is excited. The same things happen whether you're going on a roller coaster, or a first date (or a first date on a roller coaster). Tell yourself you're excited, and the inner-monologue will seem less negative.
5. Consider The Environment
You will be performing in front of people who all feel exactly like you do. In a supportive community who are all trying to build their dance confidence. This is, by far, the best type of audience for your first performance.
6. Smiling Says A Lot
This was covered in greater detail in the hit article, "31 Things Dance Judges Want To See You Do", but smiling, even if it feels fake, will give you the look of someone who has it all together - even if you don't feel that way.
7. Trust Your Teacher
Your teacher is a professional. They will not ask you to attempt anything in public that would make you, and them, look bad.
8. Trust Your Muscles
Your muscle memory is like a backup hard drive. Even if the data from your brain is wiped completely, trust your muscles - they've done the majority of the work.
9. Mistakes Are Normal
It's common to make mistakes while performing. How you recover is the real challenge. For more on this, we recommend you take a look at Kristin Chmelnitzki's "The Pains and Gains Of Dance Competition Mistakes".
10. It's All In The Build
Building your ability starts with a foundation. Your first performance is a big part of your construction, but it's not the only part. Ballroom dancers are built using proven methods to create a sophisticated and multi-faceted result. So take the pressure off of yourself. This will not be the only performance, it's just the first one.
Your Arthur Murray instructor is really great at what they do, but they do lack in one area...
For all the dance and customer service training they receive, the most important key to making your first dance performance a success is dialogue. With it, this process becomes an incredible collaboration. A united effort to slay the performance anxiety dragon. A true reward.
Without it, there's risk and speculation. You can lose confidence in the project, your teacher, or worse... yourself.
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