The transition from studio to stage can be a big one, and often a daunting one. Sometimes dancers are completely comfortable in the studio, but they can experience nerves or even stage fright once the performance must be transferred to a theatre. For some it is a completely natural process, whereas for others it requires more preparation in order to master this. Once you have a method which works for you, stick to it and refine it!
Take time to acclimatise to the stage, so it doesn’t seem so unfamiliar. This feeling of unfamiliarity can push you into overdrive, alongside the adrenaline rushing through the body. In worse cases it can affect dancers physically, pushing their centre back and their balance off. Mental preparation is therefore key in order to remain as relaxed as possible. Once you are on top of the choreography and you have started to make it your own, the next step is to see the performance in your mind. Use your imagination – how do you want to deliver it and how would you like it to come across to the audience?
Give yourself enough time to prepare for each performance. Some dancers find it useful to listen to the music before rehearsals and performances, going through the steps and stage patterns before they physically step on stage. Others have a complete pre-performance ritual to keep them focused, in that they do certain things in a certain order and keep their environment calm in order to sufficiently prepare for what is ahead.
Although it might seem counterproductive, try and get as much stage experience as you can. Grab every opportunity to perform and practice this part – often it seems like the rehearsal process and learning the choreography is the easy part! The more opportunities to get accustomed to dancing in different environments in front of new audiences, the better. If you have the opportunity to, bring new faces into the studio to watch you rehearse and aim to make yourself as comfortable as possible, so it becomes second nature.