Teaching Tips

3 Stress-Reducing Exercises to Give Your Students Before Going Onstage

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The pressure young dancers feel to succeed at competition can lead to unhealthy stress levels that take the fun out of performing. To help your students feel calm, cool and collected before dancing, teach them these three stress-reducing exercises to do before going onstage.

Trust us, learning how to manage anxiety will benefit your dancers for the rest of their lives!

1. Deep Breathing

According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, by Harvard Medical School, deep breathing can help calm anxiety by encouraging a full oxygen exchange. "Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure," the author writes. In order to help your dancers focus their mind on something other than their anxieties before going onstage, encourage them to practice this breathing technique. Here's how it works:

  • Sit still or lie down.
  • Place one hand on your stomach, and your other hand over your heart.
  • Inhale slowly until you feel your stomach rise.
  • Hold your breath for roughly eight counts, or as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Exhale slowly, feeling your stomach fall.
  • Repeat.

2. Meditation

According to 47 different studies analyzed by JAMA Internal Medicine, meditation helps manage anxiety, depression and pain. Become educated on different meditation techniques, and teach these to your students to practice before going onstage. Here are three different mediation apps you might consider checking out:

  • The Mindfulness App
  • Headspace
  • Calm

3. Yoga

Yoga may not be your go-to warm-up technique when it comes to your dancers, but before a competition, it might be just what your students need in order to lower stress. Your dancers are certainly flexible and strong without participating in a yoga practice, but the mental health benefits may be worth the extra time and energy. According to the Mayo Clinic, "A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being."

Teach your students the poses, and watch them downward-dog their way to peace!

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