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Managing competitors anxieties – Dance Informa Journal

Competitors season is upon us and for a lot of, which means elevated stress — stress to carry out, stress to win, even stress to not disappoint or let down coaches and teammates. Whereas we can not count on to get rid of the nervousness that always comes from this stress, we will discover methods to deal with it, handle it and proactively are inclined to it.  

First, we will handle the anticipatory nervousness, the nervousness that comes from a scarcity of uncertainty with regard to the long run. We are able to encourage college students to voice their issues and whereas we can not plan for each circumstance, we will ease some anxieties, like a damaged strap or a busted seam, with additional supplies, emergency stitching kits, and so forth. Extra importantly, we will handle that whereas not every part may be managed, deliberate or mounted, the present can nonetheless go on. And this isn’t to attenuate or invalidate the anxieties, however to assist college students see that “perfection” is an phantasm and that once we deal with the expertise reasonably than the efficiency or final result, there’s a lot alternative for progress, studying, software and neighborhood.  

Second, we may help construct resilient dancers, who can handle the uncertainty, the sudden, and even the frustration or disappointment that may come throughout a contest. Listed here are some ideas and issues you may apply all through the competitors season.

#1. Observe transferring in new and unfamiliar methods to construct emotional resilience. 

We are able to construct a sturdy motion vocabulary that helps flexibility of thoughts and physique. Transferring in unfamiliar and typically uncomfortable methods turns into a metaphor for transferring by means of challenges and uncomfortable emotions. This may be instructing a brand new mixture, exploring improvisation and even some genuine motion.

#2. Carry consideration to the current second.  

After we are within the current, we can not dwell on the previous or anticipate the long run. Encouraging college students to deal with sensations like scent, style, contact, sight or sound invitations them to note what is occurring round them in order to not fixate on the efficiency or final result alone. There are lots of methods to help mindfulness and bodyfulness which in the end create extra connection and grounding to the current.  

#3. Create house and time to speak about issues, worries or fears round competing. 

Giving college students a devoted time and place to voice issues permits an acceptable outlet and may reduce the potential for these worries and fears to pop up at unexpected or inconvenient occasions, like proper earlier than happening stage. After we apply expressing our feelings, they don’t want to cover. They’re allowed to exist and transfer by means of us.   

#4. Validate and help the particular person, not simply the dancer. 

A lot of a scholar’s identification may be tied to their efficiency, ability or expertise. When the coed doesn’t carry out to expectations, this will take an enormous toll on their vanity and confidence. Present alternatives to attach with the one who is dancing, not simply the dancer. Encourage college students to share their likes, dislikes, hobbies, even issues like household or faculty. This exhibits college students that we admire them for who they’re, not simply what they’ll do. 

With regard to supporting college students’ emotional well-being general and never simply nervousness, right here’s an acronym to assist A.C.E. your psychological well being within the studio.

Awareness. Invite college students to grow to be extra conscious of their actions and sensations of their our bodies.

Challenge. Help college students in exploring these unfamiliar methods of transferring to help transferring by means of emotional challenges.

Expand. Give college students the chance to extend their repertoire, together with attempting types of dance that they could not excel or compete in.  

Anxiousness is a actuality for a lot of dancers throughout the competitors season, and it doesn’t must be a cause to go away the competitors. Normalizing the nervousness that comes with competitors is a step in the suitable path, however it must be supported and addressed, not brushed to the aspect. I don’t consider there’s anybody who hasn’t skilled worry or fear round a efficiency or competitors. Whereas ignoring it occurs, it’s not the optimum wholesome strategy to work with and thru it. Educating our dancers to determine, categorical and handle their anxieties will assist them not solely throughout competitors season however in all facets of their lives.

By Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT, Dance/Motion Therapist, Chicago Dance Remedy.

Erica Hornthal is a licensed skilled medical counselor and board licensed dance/motion therapist primarily based in Chicago, IL. She acquired her MA in Dance/Motion Remedy and Counseling from Columbia School Chicago and her BS in Psychology from the College of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Erica is the founder and CEO of Chicago Dance Remedy, the premier dance remedy and counseling apply in Chicago, IL. As a body-centered psychotherapist, Erica assists shoppers of all ages and talents in harnessing the ability of the mind-body connection to create better consciousness and understanding of emotional and psychological well being. For extra, go to

Picture courtesy of Leap! Nationwide Dance Competitors



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