As the end of the school year draws near, we are entering into “recital” season. Your child may soon be participating in a dance recital or dance show. It is normal for them to be excited about the upcoming performance. In fact, these nerves are a sign of energy. Nerves are often transformed into an exciting on-stage charisma and a successful dance performance. But how do you help your child with pre-performance jitters?
I get asked this question often by parents of young children enrolled in my Dancetime by Stephanie dance programs. Before our annual dance show, some parents turn to me for advice in helping their children feel confident about performing.
Here are some tips for helping your child deal with nerves before a big show:
Make sure your child attends all dance classes and rehearsals before the show. Children perform well when they are confident about the material. Consistent class attendance leads to your child dancing their very best at the show. Attend the on-stage dress rehearsal if possible. Becoming familiar with the stage helps your child feel more comfortable about performing.
Get in Tune
Find out what music your child will dance to in the show. Play the music at home and encourage your child to dance for you or on their own. Don’t worry if your child cannot remember all of the steps. This is an opportunity to become familiar with the music. By practicing the parts of the dance they remember, the brain will be stimulated into mastering more of the choreography in the next dance class. You can even play the music in the car so your child will begin memorizing musical cues.
Quell the Nerves
When discussing the show with your child, downplay the importance of it. If your child is shy or nervous about performing, be low key and relaxed when you talk about the show. Explain that you’re looking forward to seeing the performance because you know it will be a great show. As a parent, if you are nervous or anxious about your child’s performance in the show, your attitude will be transferred to your child. So be positive! After all, you want your child to feel happy and positive about the performance. Model the happy, positive behavior you want your child to have.
Positive Affirmations Work
Try telling your child:
- “You’re going to have so much fun dancing with your friends!”
- “I’m so happy you’re going to share your dance with us.”
- “Everyone will clap for you because you’re going to dance beautifully.”
Encourage your child to visualize their performance. Have your child close his or her eyes and picture themselves performing all the steps of their dance from start to finish. Tell him or her to imagine that they are dancing the best they’ve ever danced before. Visualization is actually an effective form of rehearsal. It helps children dance better and feel calm about performing.
Assist your child in being prepared on the day of the big show by arriving to the event on time. You will be more relaxed if you are on time and this relaxation will be transferred to your child.
Anticipate an incredible show, because if you follow all of the tips above your child will shine on stage!
Stephanie Hill is the owner of Dancetime by Stephanie, presenting DANCING IN THE U.S.A. at 6 p.m. June 12 at Agoura Performing Arts Education Center. Purchase tickets online at www.dancetimebystephanie.com.