Burlesque: Dealing with Stage Fright – Part 2

In last week’s blog we looked at how good organisation and preparation can help in dealing with pre-show nerves. This week as promised, we’ll be talking through some techniques and ideas on how to deal with your stage fright on the night.

Get into Character
Step out of your everyday clothes and into your costume and let the transformation begin, literally and figuratively. As you set your hair and make-up and transform into a burlesque bombshell, unleash your inner vamp and let the character take over. Push any negative thoughts to the back of your mind and concentrate on your stage persona; she has no time for nerves! And then, build upon this by…

Thinking Positively and Visualising Your Success
Don’t entertain ‘what ifs’ and instead think only positive thoughts. I can do this. I’ve worked hard for this. I deserve this. I’m going to go out there and have a blast! Picture yourself executing your routine: run it through in your mind, pause and enjoy the key moments and keep going until you reach your imaginary finale and the crowd is applauding. Carry that energy and feeling out onto the stage with you.

Have a quick run-through in the space
If time allows and you’re able to get into the venue before doors open, take the opportunity for a run-through of your act on the stage. This will be invaluable, particularly if you’ve been rehearsing in a small space, as you might suddenly find yourself with much more room than you’re used to working with. Always try and make the most of the stage space; while you’re on it, you own it!

Find your own pre-show ritual or routine
Everyone has one and they all differ. After you’ve done a few shows, you’ll probably find yourself settling into something of a routine. Mine for example begins with eating light meals throughout the day before an evening show (so I don’t feel too bloated onstage). Once I arrive at the venue I find the organiser to let them know I’ve arrived and get my belongings in the dressing room. I then seek out the sound technician, check my music and, if possible, have a quick run-though. I’ll then go backstage and unpack, sorting my costumes into separate piles for each act (can be tricky in tiny backstages though, so beware of hogging all the space!) If I’m finishing off my makeup or hair, I’ll often pop in my headphones and have a little rock out to get me amped up for going onstage. I then get into costume; I personally like to be ready about 15 minutes before I go on. Any longer and I get fidgety, not to mention some costumes are heavy / scratchy / uncomfortable. Other people prefer to be ready much further ahead of time; it’s all about finding what works for you. Once you establish your own ritual, you’ll find everything flows more smoothly and you should be more relaxed.

Don’t overdo the caffeine or alcohol
Neither of these things will boost your performance. If you’re not a regular caffeine addict, having too much on the day will make you more jittery and not do anything to calm frazzled nerves.

Alcohol might seem like a good idea to take the edge off nerves but it could also make you more sloppy onstage. If you must have a little tipple, moderate yourself before your act (you wouldn’t want to fall off the stage drunk!)

And so that brings us to the end of our mini-series on dealing with stage fright in burlesque. We’d love to hear your thoughts and tips too.

If you missed part 1 of the series, you can check it out here.