When it comes to preparing for your performance(s), there are many factors to consider! Strive to add these points into your daily routine and do this ahead of time, instead of waiting for the night before you perform!
Plan Your Calendar Accordingly
When you know the dates for your performances, you can plan your days ahead of time so that you can be organized and give your attention to your big day! Prioritize your time with your school work, job if you have one, and anything else you have going on in your day to day schedule. Think ahead so that you aren’t preparing at the last minute!
If you don’t know your dance forward and backward, start practicing more, especially at home! This will help you to be less nervous and you’ll be able to have more fun on stage because you aren’t fretting over the steps you may be forgetting. As a dancer, you never have a “day off”, so if you’re feeling burnt out, sit and find your joy of why you love to dance. Then, keep practicing and working on your dance at home. You’ll thank yourself after you see your progress and that will motivate you to keep working and practicing!
Practice the Technique of Visualization
Go to a quiet place, close your eyes, and visualize yourself dancing exactly the way you want to perform! Really concentrate on the details-arm movements, how you're holding your core, turnout, pointed feet, the directions you are going to focus your eyes on stage and how you are tilting your head, etc. Aim to do this right when you wake up and right before you go to sleep. “Researchers have found that the optic cortex, the part of the brain that responds when we look at a real object, is also functioning when we visualize, or imagine something in our minds. What affects the brain also affects the body. Studies have shown that visualizing mental images can activate the glands that regulate our most vital physical functions, such as sleep, hunger, thirst, and body temperature. Visualization has also been shown to stimulate the immune system, which can help us prevent or reverse disease, possibly including heart disease and even cancer.” I quoted this from the book Healing Secrets of the Native Americans by Porter Shimer. “Golfers use this technique to win tournaments. Basketball players use it to sink game winning foul shots. Millions of people use it every day just to feel better. Research has shown it can lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress, and generally help people perform better and feel at their best.” Remember, finding a quiet and relaxing place is most important. Practice this regularly (preferably every morning and night) and you will start to see results after some time. The key is being consistent and believing this helps!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep allows your body and mind to recharge… But did you know that sleep also helps your memory, learning, balances your mood/emotions, keeps your heart healthy, steadies blood sugar, regulates a healthy immune system, heals your tired dancing muscles, and so much more?! Strive for at least 8 hours of sleep each night. (Sometimes if I am having trouble sleeping, I will use lavender essential oil and drink a cup of hot chamomile tea.)
Fuel Your Body & Mind with Water & Nutritional Food
Keeping yourself hydrated and eating well balanced meals is what will give you energy and keep your body healthy. It also helps to keep your joints and muscles strong for your long hours of dancing. Aim to eat vegetables with every meal and healthy snacks throughout the day. If you are tired of plain ol’ water, try flavored sparkling waters or coconut water. Once again, your body will thank you!
Pack a "Performance Kit"
Pack an emergency performance kit ahead of time because the last thing you want is to forget a pair of tights or shoes, etc.! You should include anything that is a must need item and anything that will help you feel good the day of your performance.
Roll Out Your Muscles
If you have a foam roller, or something to roll out your muscles with, it helps to flush out the waste products that result from physical activity, which aids in the recovery of your muscle! The major muscle groups that you want to roll are quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
THE DAY OF YOUR PERFORMANCE
To stay energized, eat anywhere between 1 and 4 hours before your performance to avoid an upset stomach.
Warm Up Properly
This means give yourself your own ballet class and some turns and jumps. Even professionals take 1-2 hours to give themselves a ballet class before their performance.
Mark Through Your Dance
If you are able, go to the stage and mark it before the competition or performance starts. Quickly get used to the stage you and VISUALIZE yourself giving the best performance you are capable of while having so much fun!
Remember… you are performing because this is what you love to do! Show the audience your personality and how much fun you are having! You worked hard to get here and now it’s time for you to enjoy your hard work!
Break a leg!