Happy spring dancers and teachers! Here are some thoughts on preparing for performance and giving your audience your best every time.

• From the moment you or your students grasp the barre, perform. Ballet exercises are repetitive, so if you fall into a meditation state, take your audience with you. Make your face pleasant and keep your eyes alive but relaxed.

• Know all through class WHERE the audience is. In the Vaganova technique, the audience is parallel to the barre. In other techniques they may be in front of the dancer. Make sure your head position, gaze, and gestures are aimed to them.

• Simple but always true, if you mess up, keep going, and always finish. The floor is your stage. If you can see yourself in the front mirror, the audience can see you. Wait till you exit to relax or fix a saggy leg warmer. This also shows respect for the steps the teacher gave and for the dancers around you.

• Unless the side space in your studio is small, try to stay out of the upstage area. This allows the teacher and other dancers have a clear view of the combination. Also try to keep this area clear of bags, warm ups, and water bottles.

• There are things about performance quality that cannot be taught, but that can be learned. You must watch great dancers and study how they perform. You can video yourself or have a teacher watch and give feedback, but most of all you must practice performing. This means treat every class as if it is happening on stage. Mistakes happen onstage and incredible moments can happen in class. Blend them together and you will get more out of class and feel confident and generous while performing.

One final tip is to choose someone in your life whom you love to dance for; a favorite teacher, a supportive family member, a favorite dance role model, or just a good friend. Imagine this person sitting at the front of the room observing class just for fun, and focusing on YOU. They are not judging you, only appreciating your skill and artistry.

Thank you for reading! What ballet tips and stories would you like to read about? What do you think of this post? Reply in the blog comment area or via email.

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