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I do a lot of public speaking, strength and conditioning training and give injury advice with large groups, small groups or just with a handful of people. It could be in a classroom, it could be on stage, it could be in an Irish dancing studio, it could be in somebody’s home…it could be anywhere. And to be honest, I love every minute!

Even as an athlete I have competed on the big stage, whether it’s a running track, football field, Judo mat, an Irish dancing competition and again, I loved and still love every minute of it. And the reason why I am so comfortable in front of an audience is because I love it and play to that strength.

I know that someone will be reading this and saying out loud ‘’I HATE AUDIENCES’’ or ‘’I HATE THE STAGE’’ or BOTH! You should know that you are not on your own on this one. Whether it’s a 90-second Irish dancing performance or a 2-hour show, it takes a lot of nerve to perform in front of an audience. If I’m being straight forward about this, in my opinion, you are overthinking it.

So here’s a few tips to help you build stage confidence…

1.      Know your audience

Have you ever walked into a room to only expect a couple of people present, but then you walk into that room and see a dozen people and you are like ‘’wow what’s going on here??’’ You get completely freaked out for those few seconds because you were not expecting the unexpected. If you have the same experience on stage, then this can negatively affect your performance. You are already nervous and your heart is already racing so the last thing you need is that feeling of the unexpected. So get familiar with your audience and know what to expect before you go on stage.

2.      Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

If you have attended one of my workshops, then you would have heard me say these words a few times. ‘’Repetition, Repetition, Repetition’’.

If I asked you today,

Can you think of one area which you need to improve on with relation to your Irish dancing performance?

Think about that for a second…

And if your answer is yes! Then you are not really 100% confident in your performance. If you have doubt when performing a particular step, then you will bring that doubt with you to the stage if you do not face it. The only way that you can build 100% confidence is by focusing on the areas that you feel less confident performing.

When you do this, the rest is in the past!

3.      Know your stage

You can practice hours upon hours. You can do all of the right things. But know that you have been doing all of the right things in a completely different setting, on a completely different stage and a different platform. So my last piece of advice to you is to ASK!

Ask other dancer’s who have performed ahead of you how the stage was, look at the space you have and visualize your performance. Ask the questions which you feel you need the answer to! It’s simple.

I’m going to finish with this point:

THE SINGLE BIGGEST REASON WHY YOU FREAK ON STAGE IS BECAUSE YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. THE SOONER YOU START TO BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH YOURSELF, THE MUCH BETTER DANCER YOU WILL BECOME.

AND HEY! YOU WILL ALSO START TO ENJOY IRISH DANCING EVEN MORE!

Thank you as always for reading my blogs. If you enjoyed it, please give me a like and a share. It would mean a lot to me and it would help others too.

You can check out older blogs on my website www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.ie

By Peter O’Grady

The Author of Upping Your Step.

A training Book & DVD for Irish dancing.

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