Dance Blog

7 Tips for Keeping It Cool Under Pressure

Shortage of breath, having to pee a million times, sweating, tummy grumbling. Stage fright! We’ve all been there

Maybe for you it was before a first date, a public speaking engagement, or a bungee jump! As a professional dancer, my knees have literally shaken while I was waiting in the wings and my heart has raced so fast I thought I would die. If you’re like me you want to be great and you want to do your best when it really counts. It’s an exciting challenge to be so “on” that you nail it! I like to call this the “optimal performance zone”. If we are too nervous in the days, hours and minutes leading up to performance it can prevent us from being in the zone. We want just that perfect amount of good stress to keep us on our toes.

Here are my top 7 tips for keeping it cool when the pressure is on!


Trust you have prepared to the best of your ability and know that you are an amazing being. After all, there has never been anyone like you and there will never be anyone like you again! You are deeply supported by the universe.


Practice seeing yourself completing the task with incredible success and satisfaction repeatedly. If you are a dancer make sure you can visualize all your steps in fast forward. Where you need to pause is the part that may need more rehearsal.


Create a unique and mindful pre-performance ritual that tells your body it’s almost time and one that will become routine and predictable for a calming effect. Read a book, text your sister, legs up the wall pose- everyone is different!


When we breathe deeply and easily all those distracting thoughts dissipate and we are more connected to the flow of life.


Be in the optimal head space by cultivating thankfulness for all that is. Who helped you get where you are today?


Dedicate your performance to someone you love. Open your heart wide and let the loving vibes flow. You know your Mom will love you no matter what!


I accept that however I am showing up today is perfect. I am enough and it is what it is. So often we are in that state of wanting to be more of this or less of that. Relax, you are awesome! You are doing your best!

The ultimate goal here is to feel grounded, calm and alert for a satisfying and freeing experience.


*Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Desirée Dunbar, Artistic Director, Dezza Dance & Catalyst Dance.

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