For Dancers

The Mental Game - Mentally Preparing Your Recital Piece

9:26 AM

There is a lot more to preparing a piece than just rehearsing it. Don't get me wrong, rehearsal is important! I always tell my students, "Don't practice until you have it right; practice until you can't get it wrong." I call this "technique by accident." You've got it down so good you do it right by accident, without thinking about it. It just happens.

But there's more.

There's that special something that some people have on stage that seems to come naturally. I was always told that I had that thing. Stage presence. Performance ability. I can't tell you how many random strangers hunted me down after shows to tell me they loved watching me.

It is not natural. At least not for me. I had to work at it. I rehearsed it. It wasn't until I became a teacher that I realized other dancers sometimes don't rehearse it!

Here's my checklist on exactly how to prepare your piece, including your stage presence!

recital advice, recital preparation

 Thanks for visiting! Just so you know, my blog contains affiliate links, which generate commission for me off your purchase. All reviews are 100% my own opinion. Any item featured may have been received free in exchange for promotion or review, but does not in any way affect my review.

This list is something I work through regularly, not just once. Like anything, stage presence and acting take practice as well. Most of this checklist is visualization and personal work.

1. Remember, the theater is bigger than the studio. Start by closing your eyes and imagining yourself standing in the middle of your dance studio. The mirror is the audience. Visualize the floor expanding to the size of the stage, and the mirror expanding to the size of the auditorium. This helps give you an idea of how much space, and how big the room really is.

recital advice

Once you get to the theater, it's great to use two or three minutes to stand on the stage and do the opposite; try to balance the ratio and dimensions in your mind between what you have to work with, and what you're used to working with.

>>>>> You might like - Dancing Longer, Dancing Stronger: A Dancer's Guide to Improving Technique and Preventing Injury by Andrea Watkins

2. Begin by running your piece in your mind, from the perspective of you. It helps to listen to your music. See and feel your dance the way you want to feel it on stage. Get lost in it. Experience it. Feel the music, the extensions, the turns, the way you would if it was perfect. This can be just as valuable (sometimes more valuable) than actually running your piece.

Remember, the more confident you feel about your expressions and emotions regarding your dance, the more the audience will feel that. If you feel awkward or uncomfortable, they will feel that too. It's very important to feel in control of the energy rather than smothered by it.

>>>>> You might like - Harry Potter Wand Makeup Brushes 

3. Run your piece in your mind, from the perspective of the audience. This is tricky of you don't have practice, or if you've never videotaped and watched your dance during rehearsal, but don't worry too much if you can't get all the directions and steps correct in your mind - the main thing to focus on while doing this is your face, head, shoulders, arms, and body energy. Try to see your dance as the audience will see it, and imagine what you want your face and arms to look like during each specific step.

4. Play your music, and do the arms, head, shoulders, and facial expressions only. It helps to do this in front of a mirror, by yourself. Or if you have a great dance friend, sometimes it's helpful to do it together so you're on the same page. Specifically running your arms and face is exhausting, but it really helps you know when and how to light up! 

>>>>> You might like - Clearance Performance-quality dancewear - over 70 items just added!

5. Repeat these steps and visualize any corrections you've gotten from your coaches. This one is super important, especially if you don't have a lot of time to prepare or make adjustments! Remember, if you can do it in your mind, you can do it with your body.

Specifically, visualize little bits and pieces of your dance, focusing on the corrections. If your correction is to go toe-heel on a chasse step, see your toe-heel chasse in your head, slow motion, a few times. See just your feet, then back up and see your whole body, then see your sequence. Then see it in the piece as a whole. Really visualizing the corrections in your mind will help you put them into practice!

>>>>>You might like - Long Rehearsal Skirts by Toi Toi Toi 

I hope your recital is Amazing!!!

You Might Also Like


All content (except where otherwise noted) is copyright Haley Mathiot. Feel free to quote, but please cite appropriately and notify immediately if any information that appears on this site is copied or quoted.