How to perform well under pressure
Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist
For so many years I danced before so many mirrors and really thought that the size of my thighs was the hardest thing to look at.
But all this talk of perfectionism on the blog here is revealing all this stuff in ME that I’d prefer not to look at. Writing about perfectionism is the hardest mirror to look in. Ever.
Here I am trying to help you dancers overcome the darker side of perfectionism, but as I do so, the mirror flips back at me, and I see how I still get trapped, how I still forget to listen to my own advice and trust what I know deep down.
So, as hard to admit as it is, I’m still a perfectionist.
The Problem with Perfectionism
Last month’s blog post really struck a chord with a lot of people (thanks everyone for all the facebook likes and shares!). I am feeling quite humbled, but also compelled to write more… Because although perfectionism is so pervasive in the dance-world, not a lot of dancers are aware of the impact it is having on them, or how it can actually prevent them from performing at their best. So today, let’s delve a little deeper into the dark side of perfectionism...
What’s so bad about perfectionism?
At first glance, perfectionism can seem like an amazing thing, and perfectionists, amazing people. And it’s true – there are certainly many wonderful benefits of perfectionism:
- You work very hard
- You have very high standards
- You are reliable
- You care about what you do
- You pay attention to the most intricate details
- You achieve amazing results
What could be so bad about that???
But there is also a down-side to perfectionism that can be really debilitating.
6 Steps to Pre-Performance Calm
Dance studios all over the place are currently preparing for their Christmas performances and showcase displays… it can be a stressful time, and especially on performance day itself, the jittery nerves can easily get the better of you.
Ever happen to you?
- You are doing really fine until you suddenly think about your mum or your boyfriend or your director sitting in the audience watching you, and suddenly you fall to pieces…
- While the dance before yours in going on, you stand side of stage, with legs that have turned to jelly, hands that are cold and sweaty and you feel more like running to the bathroom than on stage…
- You make it on stage but then you go completely blank, you’re in the front line looking like a deer in headlights…
- You have to hold a pose on stage for awhile and you get that nervous twitch in your smile and you can’t make it stop …
All of these things are common in stage-fright. Nerves and adrenalin are part of performing but you don’t want to let them get the better of you. Here are some things you can do to help you keep cool, calm and collected.