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How to Prepare for a Dance Performance

AHHH!!! I’ve got to get ready for a performance in a month, and I don’t know what to do! Whoa whoa, calm down there friend, take some deep breaths now, that’s it…

Getting ready for a dance performance, especially if it’s your first time, can be a pretty scary experience. That’s why I’ve put together a roadmap to keep you on track and ready to dance your best… And hopefully have fun along the way.

If you are getting ready for a wedding dance, I’ve already written about that here.

One of the first things I always recommend is deciding on a timeline between the you (or your group) and the instructor. That makes it easier to set a few goals to measure your progress along the way – for example, to have the blocking down by date X, choreography finished by date Y, etc.

It’s also a good idea to decide on your costume and order/make it early. I’ve seen many dancers pull their hair out stressing about whether an outfit will arrive in time, or worse, having to come up with a half-decent alternative at the last minute.

Next, set a practice schedule for yourself, and keep to that schedule. Let the approaching dance performance motivate you to push yourself. It helps if you’re accountable to others, by setting practice times together for instance. One student I knew placed dance shoes in obvious places to keep her from forgetting to practice.

Make sure you warm up before each practice. I know it feels like a waste of time, but imagine how much MORE time you’ll lose if you injure yourself? It’s not fun watching the performance you were supposed to be in from the bleachers.

Also, if you’re pushing yourself (and if not, why are you performing?), seriously consider adding some strength training to your regime. No matter how good a dancer you and your partner(s) are, some moves just need a little power to look effortless. Strengthen what you need to get there, but careful not to overdo it.

Now that you’re getting more exercise than usual, better switch up that diet to keep your energy up. Most experts recommend between 12-20% of your calories come from protein, and carbs should be the lion’s share of your diet. Fruit and veggies are always important to keep the micronutrients up as well.

All this extra work can be draining at times, so it helps to remind yourself why you’re doing this regularly. Imagine yourself kicking butt out there, wowing the crowd, feeling stronger and more awesome than ever before. Your reason to continue must be stronger than the inertia holding you back.

Enough talk, get to it! And come see me next week for tips on how to remember choreography.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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