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Pre-Show Habits: The Various Types of Rituals Engaged in by Dancers

Dancers typically indulge in a wide array of rituals prior to performing on stage. These rituals are often described as being “crazy,” or even “mildly superstitious” and always involve some form of repetition. According to those that partake in the rituals prior to performing, the activities help the dancers focus and prepare for the stage. The following highlights the five most popular rituals engaged in by the most popular dancers in the world. In some instances, a dancer may perform just one ritual, or a combination of many. Ritual choice is considered to be a very personal decision to the dancer. By understanding what type of rituals that you engage in, you will be able to develop a routine prior to performing that will assist in calming and preparing you for each and every single performance. These habits, though a bit unusual to most, help to establish the confidence that is needed to perform optimally and beautifully:

  • Scoping the Stage: This ritual involves the act of being on the stage and checking it out prior to performing. Many dancers simply have a desire to determine how much space is available on the stage, while others want to get a feel for the flooring on the stage. Then, there are others who wish to identify any problem areas prior to performance. For many dancers, arriving early to scope out the stage area is simply a strategy for connecting with the energy that abounds in the region.
  • The Winger: The next type of custom that many dancers engage in is the process of waiting and observing in the wings of the stage while others conduct their performances. This is an effective strategy for observing the choreography that others are using, to determine the type of competition that exists within the dance competition and to mentally prepare for the upcoming performance. While there are many dancers who find this ritual counter-productive to calming themselves for a show, others must absolutely engage in this act in order to prepare.
  • The Visualizer: This particular ritual is engaged in by many different types of dancers. Simply put, this dancer will often sit quietly, with their eyes shut, visualizing every aspect of the stage, the crowd and their performance. This ritual allows the dancer to observe themselves performing at their absolute best.
  • The Warmer: In this act, the dancer prepares for their performance by conducting warm-up sessions that are considered to be highly extensive or even elaborate. While the ritual is performed to enhance the body, it is also performed to mentally prepare for the dancer for the upcoming show that they plan to put on to the audience and/or judges.
  • The Talisman: This ritual involves the use of a charm that the dancer considers to hold the highest level of luck. It could be a piece of jewelry, a piece of clothing, a trinket, etc. In most instances, the item is worn, held, or even kissed because the dancer believes that engaging in the action will assist in an optimal performance.

While it is true that there are several types of rituals that are performed by those that dance, the procedures outlined in this guide are considered to be the most popular among professionals. Rituals are more than obsessions or compulsions. They are an effective means of physically and mentally preparing an individual for being on stage. If you find that you suffer from nervousness, you may benefit from engaging in one or more of the rituals outlined in this brief guide.

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