Don't Freak: How to Prepare for an Aerial Performance

Performing in front of an audience can be quite daunting. It's easy to become full of anxiety and for your mind to go into full throttle freak out mode. But it doesn't have to be that way. Since our student showcase is about a month away I thought I'd share some tips to help you be as prepared as possible, stay zen under pressure, find the right costume, and on how to make your audience love you!

Be as Prepared as Possible:

1. Visualize your routine everyday. Listen to your song, close your eyes and visualize yourself fluidly transitioning from movement to movement. Trust me, visualization is a KEY to performance success. Even video taping yourself and watching it frequently will help the visualization process.

2. Practice makes permanent. Practice your routine so frequently that it becomes muscle memory. That way if you do end up getting a little stage fright, and your mind just blanks when it's time for you performance, your body will remember the movements without a hitch. Don't overdo it though, listen to your body. If it's tired and sore take a rest day.

3. You will perform the way you practice, so practice right! When you're practicing, pretend like it's your performance. Act like there's an audience there watching you each time you run through your routine. The more you mentally prepare yourself the better off you're going to be. Also, if you're practicing with floppy feet, you will most likely perform with floppy feet (and nobody likes a flopper!). So as you go through your routine be sure you'r focusing on the small details like your body's lines, pointed toes (or flexed feet if it fits your theme/character), and your facial expressions. Should you be smiling if your song is slow and angst-y? No way. Make sure your facials match the theme/feel of your song.

4. Sufficiently warm up your muscles before you perform. It's science: people perform better when they put their body through a vigorous 5-10minute warm up. If you have movements that require flexibility, be sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes to warm up and stretch. You WILL perform better if your muscles are warm. 

Stay Zen Under Pressure:

1. Create a playlist that will keep you focused and calm. Whether you need to get pumped up for your performance or calmed down, choose your favorite songs to put into a playlist, bring your headphones, and plug yourself in before you perform to get into the right mindset. Some people prefer to play their performance song on repeat & visualize prior to performing. Do what's best for you.

2. Think positive! It's so easy to think of everything that could go wrong in your performance. But that is unproductive and toxic to your mental state. Be conscious to only think positive thoughts & tell yourself that you're amazing (because you are!). Remind yourself that you've put in the practice time so you can be confident about your routine.

Find the Right Costume:

Make sure that whatever you wear will not get stuck/tangled up in the silks. To ensure this, you must practice multiple times in your costume. Unitards and leotard/leggings combinations are great and won't get in your way. Some great places I've used for costuming and aerial dance wear:

- Harmony Threads on Etsy http://harmonythreads.mysupadupa.com/

- onlyleggings.com http://www.onlyleggings.com/

- Discount Dancewear http://www.discountdance.com/dancewear/unitards/page1

- Dancewear Solutions http://www.dancewearsolutions.com/

  *I just bought this one! http://www.dancewearsolutions.com/performance/leotards_and_unitards/mt3875.aspx

- Primadonsanddonnas http://www.primadonsanddonnas.com/

Make Your Audience Love You

1. Eye contact: make sure to look out at your audience while you're performing. The audience WANTS you to connect with them. If eye contact doesn't come naturally to you, PLAN when you're going to look at the audience in your routine. However, don't stare at them the whole time...we don't want to creep them out ;)

2. No matter how awesome your song is, don't mouth the words! If you ever go to a professional show you never see the dancer, aerialist, or performer mouthing their music. Mouthing the words will take away from your act; your body, movement, & facial expressions will get across the meaning and theme of your song/act sufficiently enough.

3. Go all in: really get into the feel of your song. If your song is slow and dreamy, your movements should be slow and fluid and your face should also reflect that feel. If your song is silly, your movements and facials should match! Just think about the emotion that the song you chose elicits from you; that's the same emotion you want the audience to feel, except 10 times more because you're pairing beautiful movements with it. 

4. Be confident. There's nothing more beautiful than a confident performer :) 

 

Hopefully those tips help you as you are preparing to perform! Break a leg

Stay Fit and In Flight,

Jessica