With many of you preparing for upcoming auditions I have written this post to offer some Wednesday Wisdom that promotes psychological wellbeing for your audition preparation.
We all know how important auditions are, and as dancers we are very good at preparing ourselves physically and technically, but it’s equally important to prepare yourself psychologically in order to promote wellbeing. If the experience is a positive one you will be able to achieve your best, be responsive and in the moment, and believe it or not, enjoy taking part!
Here are my top 5 tips to follow:
1. Don’t compare yourself with others on the day – everyone has something unique to offer – have confidence in presenting yourself, your talents and your strengths.
2. Engage in positive self-talk that is motivational, inspires self-confidence, increases effort and generates a positive mood. Reframe any negative thoughts into challenging, instructional, motivational yet realistic challenges. So instead of thinking “I am not very good at picking things up and remembering” you could instead acknowledge this positively and decide to focus attention on mastering and remembering the beginning of the sequence and the end; challenge yourself to attend to these sections, committing the detail to memory. Goal setting that is realistic and achievable is a great tool, and this could become your goal; then anything you remember in the rest of the sequence is a bonus to be proud of.
3. Combine self-talk with positive imagery – imagine the audition day ahead of time – mentally rehearse yourself performing movement really well, enjoying yourself, attending to and refining technical elements and enhancing performance qualities. If , for example, you’ve been working on keeping the weight forwards in pirouettes, imagine executing this weight placement perfectly during your turns.
4. Choose to interpret any feelings of anxiety as excitement, for in truth the body doesn’t know the difference between these physical states, it’s how the mind interprets the heightened sensations that reveals a difference, informing you of whether you should be enjoying the sensation or not. It’s like turning a trip to the dentist into Christmas Day! Turn audition day nerves into the excitement of performing for a panel who are keen to see you at your best. Show them what you can do, how much you enjoy dancing and that you are happy to be taking part.
5. Stress and anxiety are a necessary component of audition preparations and you should want these feelings to present themselves in your audition in order for you to do your best; the key is in managing them effectively, for this has the potential to enhance your performance, and also help to avoid injury.
Here are 3 simple tips to calm your nerves
1 Focus on your breathing - breathe slowly and deeply.
2 Engage in positive self-talk as explained above.
3 Frame your thinking positively, avoiding “what if” scenarios.
Denise Horsley MSc - Blommaert Ballet School Dance Science Advisor