Competition season can be a super stressful time of year. You’ve probably got additional rehearsals, longer nights at the studio, practicing your solo any chance you’ve got…and this is all on TOP of your “regularly scheduled programming” AKA friends, family, school, boys and trying to find a moment to yourself to actually relax. Should I even mention that competition weekends are extremely loonnnggg and draining? Competitions wear on you physically, mentally and emotionally:
You have to wake up extra early in the morning, perform all of your dances to the absolute best of your ability, late night award sessions, you probably spend hours in the car driving to the competition location, sleep on a cinderblock that the hotel is passing off as a bed AND your body is basically running on concession stand food. Awesome.
You’ve got to remember all of the pieces to ALL of your costumes, keep track of the competition schedule (don’t want to miss your dance!) and remember every millisecond of your countless dances. Yup, that’s the easy part. The real stretch mentally is getting “in the zone” for each dance over and over and over throughout the entire weekend. You know how it goes — you put in your earbuds, let the music flow through your body and visualize each dance in your mind, executing every skill exactly how you want to perform it. It takes a lot of focus and attention to detail to mentally prepare for an outstanding performance.
Let’s face it, competitions are emotionally exhausting. You’ve got nervous energy streaming through your veins leading up to your big moment, then when you hit the stage there’s a huge rush and burst of energy, followed by an enormous sense of relief when you hit your ending pose. There’s also usually some mild-extreme emotions felt after your performance, depending on your perception of how well you performed: accomplishment, excitement, sadness, frustration etc. But guess what? You know you can’t let the emotions linger for long because you’ve got another dance coming up — you’ve gotta run like an olympian to change your costume, fix your hair, chug some water, grab a quick bite of a way oversalted pretzel and ride the emotional roller coaster all over again. This cycle repeats all.weekend.long. Bet you can’t wait for school Monday morning, right?
Alright, so what can you do to help relieve some of this stress and keep you from collapsing during the 11:00pm awards session on Sunday night (you know exactly how that goes)? Yoga exercises can help you gain better control of both your body and mind, plus it can enhance focus to accomplish goals. Yoga consists of breathing techniques and poses that are designed to enhance your body (develop muscle strength and increase flexibility) and build a stronger connection between your mind and body, all while relaxing. This almost sounds like a competition cure!
There really is something powerful about taking a few moments for yourself to refocus. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take the initiative to take care of yourself. Find a quiet space where you can be free of chaos and get yourself centered around what’s truly important. You are what is important and not allowing yourself to be swept away by the tidal wave that is competition. Take 5-10 minutes for some slow, deep breaths, release the thoughts and emotions that are weighing you down, try a few yoga poses and allow your body and mind relax. Give yourself a break — you deserve it!
More Than Dancers is wishing you the best of luck at your upcoming competition!