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Performance Night: 20 Tips to Make You Sensational

Showtime folks! You’ve done all the prep work, and now a mere 24 hours (or less) lie between you and the stage. Now’s the time to finalize all those last-minute details to minimize your stress and leave you free to show the audience what you can do.

Excited as you no doubt are by this point, this is when we are most likely to forget something that leaves us smacking our foreheads later. So read these last bits of curated advice carefully, and let me know if I missed anything!

1. Get your costumes ready in advance – Have them packed away, in the car, or in an OBVIOUS place near the door.

2. Prepare an ‘oh sh*t!’ kit– The fantastic list below is courtesy of TourdeFit.com:

  • iPod with fully charged batteries, loading with music and earbuds
  • CDs with your music – bring two so you have a backup copy
  • Costume
  • Shoes, Half-soles, etc.
  • Make-up, towelettes, and make-up remover
  • Hair supplies, like bobby pins, rubber bands, hairspray
  • Sewing kits with safety pins, super glue, fabric tape
  • Nail clipper and file
  • Protein bar and full water bottle
  • Directions to the performance site

I would add a first aid kit (bandaids, disinfectant, Advil, Tums) and make-up (foundation, eye shadow, blush, etc.). Pack it all up, including a checklist of everything you brought to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

3. Practice like you’re performing– In other words, create as similar an experience to the actual performance as you can in your last practice sessions. If you can practice in the venue itself, do it. And wear your costumes!

4. Sleep well– Watch less tv, have a hot bath, imagine your high school math teacher’s voice… Whatever it takes.

5. Eat medium– While a heavy meal with lots of protein will weigh you down, light meals with lots of simple sugars will quickly leave you tired. Also, snack through the day – fruits and nuts are good, and even some dark chocolate. And stay hydrated, but not so hydrated you need to pee every 5 minutes.

6. Nerves are normal– Remember: the audience WANTS you to succeed. If you still need help with this, review the previous article.

7. Leave early, arrive early– Give yourself a minimumhalf-hour buffer to arrive before you need to be there.

8. Do a quick run-through to refresh – Don’t exhaust yourself; just let your body settle back into dance mode, and let the muscles warm up.

9. Double. Lace. Your. Shoes.– Do I really need to explain this?

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Whether it’s for moral support or help zipping up your costume, remember you have a partner or team willing to help.

11. Check in with your partner, or team – Some people are shy about asking for help. Don’t be shy about offering it.

12. Prepare yourself mentally– Whether you need to rev up or calm down, find that optimal place of readied awareness before the curtain rises.

13. Trust your motor memory– You’ve done the work, and your body’s got this. Let the mind take a backseat and marvel at your awesomeness.

14. Express the emotion of the piece – Letting emotion show in your face and body allows those watching to feelyour performance, not just see it.

15. Include the audience – Make some eye contact with those out in the crowd, and you’ll draw them into the performance with you (hopefully not literally).

16. Don’t upstage your partner, or team – Remember your role in the piece: showoffs only cause the whole performance to suffer.

17. Smile when you bow! – This is when a lot of the pictures get taken!

18. Be quiet before and after the performance – Remember to be conscientious of other performers.

19. Meet the people who came to see you after the performance!– Give your fans some love, and they’ll be more likely to come back for the next one.

20. If there are multiple performances, make note of how you can improve –There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ showcase.


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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