Pre-Show Habits: Which Type Of Ritualist Are You?

Nearly every dancer has their pre-performance rituals.
Photo of the sign on the green Green Room door.

Photo by Geroithe Chia

It takes all kinds and below are 15 of them. If you haven’t developed your own pre-show routine yet, feel free to mix and match from these dancer-types.

The Early Bird

This dancer arrives super early. He likes to be the first one in the dressing room, usually because he gets to claim his spot first or because he likes the calm and quiet.

The Stage Scoper

She absolutely needs to check out the stage at some point before going on, whether it’s to get familiar with the space, practice problem areas, or interface with its energy.

The Recluse

He goes off by himself, rarely speaking unless spoken to. This is just how he gets in the zone, relaxes, and manages nervousness.

The Evacuator

This dancer always has to “go” right before the show!

The Wing Dummy

She’s no dummy but she’ll ‘dummy’ (simulate), or mark some or all of the choreography in the wings to prepare herself for the real deal.

The Quaker

Whether jumping, shaking, shimmying, or pacing he’ll be on the move until the final bow or exit.

The Audiophiler

She escapes into her headphones, perhaps listening to a particular playlist or song every time. It calms her and helps her get focused, or pumps her up.

A composite image of a woman eating a green apple.

Photo courtesy Aimanness Photography

The Nibbler

He may eat certain foods before every performance, or he may just snack to settle his jitters. Either way, you’ll find him munching on something.

The Visualizer

She often has her eyes closed because she’s imagining herself at her best, going through the entire routine, or mentally practicing crucial parts of her performance.

The Talismaniac

This dancer has something that must be done or worn or kissed. Every. Time. Any item can become a good luck charm. Clothing (washed or unwashed), shoes, trinkets, fabrics, songs, warm-up equipment, even certain actions.

The Prayer Warrior

She prays outwardly or inwardly before every performance to center herself or show gratitude to a higher power.

The Slow Warmer

Extensive or elaborate warm-ups are his M.O. He knows what’s good for his body but certain parts of his session are also preparation for his mind.

The Orderly

She executes every bit of her pre-show process in a particular order. It ensures that she won’t forget something and gives her peace of mind.

The Accelerator

He gets ready for his entrance like he’s revving an engine. His sometimes infectious enthusiasm and energy grows and grows until he hits the stage.

The Deep-Breather

You may hear her patterned inhale and exhale before you see her. She could be calming or releasing energy or she could be ‘breathing into’ an injury. Focusing on breath is reassuring and good for the body.

The Unifier

He makes sure he shares a word or a touch with everyone in the cast. He gathers others for the energy circle. Connecting to others makes for a positively charged performance.

Do you identify with any of these?

What are your favorite pre-performance rituals?

What about post-performance?

Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world.
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)

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  1. Yes! I’m a combination of the arrive early and the recluse. I’m also the one that has to go pee riiiiight before going on stage. Too much information?!? 🙂

  2. Rachel Avery says:

    I actually start earlier in the day and do all these rituals except eat. I do them all backstage. However, I never “run” the choreography the day of the show. I want to make it through at my peak so no more practicing! Just time to breath and dance!