Monday, May 11, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Nerves

Nerves are a part of your physiology and respond to subconscious/unconscious mind and emotion, and also to the body. It is a complex  interconnection so closely fused that it is hard to tell what begins the effect and how it all comes together thru expression. Some times the body initiates it, too. You do not know why?

Realize that - You program yourself to associate mind, emotion and physiology to an event.

Dance performance = fear, dread, disappointment.  (nothing you do will ever be god enough.)

Dance Performance = joy, excitement, commitment, love. (You learn and grow from experience)

You are right, Janie, having no sense of excitement, or 'nerves' is boring and creates a lifeless performance. It would be like meeting your favorite rock star, or going to a party without energy, lifeless and dulled. It is possible that you were holding yourself back, to not put yourself out because of personal risk, uncertainty about your 'place,'  the politics within the company. SO we withdraw when we do not know, or it feels safe to be expressive.

Look at it this way --  on a scale of 0  --  10.   You cannot approach a performance and expect to do well if you are at a energy level of 2. You could maybe walk across the stage reasonable well.

This rating system can be helpful. Get to know yourself and how you feel BEFORE, during and after you perform your best. 

Now without a doubt certain roles, choreography or difficulty has a different feel. As you become more experienced you know what level of energy is demanded of the piece. 

You can associate a certain feel with the numbers.

If you begin at a 9 (you are in a high state of stress / 'nerves'.  It is more difficult to manage the body, to bring it down. It is much easier to move up into the energy required of a performance.  
I did work with one performer who HAD to be very hyper yet was  instantly able to reduce the body mind experience very quickly, actually instantly. This is an exception. Is it necessary? No. She would collapse after a performance. Her recover was a lot longer than most. She had not desire to change it. It worked for her and she accepted the price of exhaustion, for now.

You might wan to establish  a 4 - 5 range prior to performance . You allow yourself to naturally increase energy. You are sensing an increased heart rate, tingling, more blood pumping in your veins, changes in eye movement and breath -- and you are at a 4. Know what that feels like. Then you can return there and know -- "hmm , for this piece I can safely stay here because it starts out slower .."

Nerves are a 'good thing.'  They communicate to you.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS -  Join me on FaceBook!  Sanna Carapellotti

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