One of the best parts of dancing is performing. Whether you are performing in your dance school’s recital or a professional production such as the Nutcracker, you want to shine on stage and you want to be the one that people enjoy watching. Everyone wants to be the star of the show, and there are many ways to make this happen even if you aren’t front and center or the lucky one with the solo.
Of course, the first and most obvious step is to learn how to dance well and learn the steps to the dance you will be performing. This requires a lot of practice. If possible, practice in front of a mirror so you can see how you look. Practice each step slowly to make sure you have good form, and then slowly speed it up so that you can dance each step with perfect form and to the right count.
Having said that, you do not need to be the best dancer in the show to be the star. Make your technique as good as you can, but don’t worry if yours isn’t the best in the class. Push yourself to be the best you can be, but don’t push yourself so hard that you are no longer enjoying it.
That leads me to my next tip. This one is probably the most important. Enjoy dancing. When you’re on stage, smile, not just a fake stage smile but a genuine smile that shows how much you enjoy dancing. When watching a performance, it is easy to pick out who is having fun and those dancers are the most fun to watch. A sparkling smile and a happy face makes a dancer stand out to the crowd even more than perfect form. Remember that most audience members are not expert dancers, so they’ll enjoy an enthusiastic dancer more than one that performs every move perfectly but is concentrating so hard that they look bored or uptight on stage. Be confident and enjoy dancing on stage, it will show and make the audience fall in love with you.
One of the major things that will keep many dancers from being stars is how they handle messing up. No matter how good you are or how much you’ve practiced, you will inevitably mess up a step during a performance sometimes. When this happens, the most important thing to remember is to not let it show on your face. The audience does not know the steps to your dance, so most likely they will not notice that you have made a mistake unless you make it obvious to them. Keep that smile on your face, and most importantly, don’t let it get to you. If you fixate on the mistake, you are more likely to make even more mistakes. Get over it, and move on to the next step. Forget that you made the mistake, and continue to perform at your very best. Keep enjoying the performance, and remember that everyone makes mistakes. In all likelihood, no one even noticed your misstep, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
And finally, the last piece of advice is, look the part. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the very back or aren’t on stage very much. Get yourself ready as if you were the most important person in the show. Spend time on your hair and makeup. If your hair needs to be in a bun, do not just throw up a messy bun like you would for practice. Spend the time to make your bun perfect, with no stray hairs or anything out of place. Make sure you use a second mirror or a friend to check the back of your hair, and make sure that it is close to perfect. Spend time on your make up as well. Unless you are told otherwise, it should look natural but exaggerated. Spend extra time making your makeup thicker and darker than usual, as the bright lights of the stage will completely wash you out otherwise. It might look weird in the mirror, but it will look a lot different on the stage. Don’t overdo it though, you want the audience to see your smiling face when they look at you, not just the makeup that you’ve put on it. Don’t use bright colors or products that you aren’t used to. Keep it simple but thick. Fake eyelashes are a good idea, but make sure they look natural. These can enhance your eyes or overtake your face, so choose the best ones for your eyes. Practice your hair and makeup prior to the day of the performance, and don’t be afraid to ask for help getting it done.
Most importantly, picture yourself as the star of the show and people will see you that way as well!