Lead phobias

This topic contains 5 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #74777

    Anonymous

    Please forgive me if this topic has been discussed before and I just didn't find it during my searches…does anyone have students/troupemates who really suffer from a crippling lead phobia? I mean advance dancers, not just the usual jitters of a newbie who is still learning basic skills. And what can be done to support and provide confidence?

    #96477

    Anonymous

    Amy,I have a couple of ideas for you; one is to have them choose a step that they feel really comfortable with to use when they get into the lead. This is just a temporary measure, but it helps to have a default move when the anxiety hits.The other is an exercise; have the dancers make a chorus and enter the stage from the ends, so they are facing each other. Dance for a while facing and then turn to the audience. This works because they get to look at a fellow dancer for a while and get grounded before turning to face the audience. If they can feel like a "team" when the lead turns forward it builds confidence.Good luck!

    #96478

    Anonymous

    A few things that I have found help as well: - Give them a combo to lead with, even just 2 or 3 moves, that includes the "out" move, too. They can do each of the moves as many times as they want (I always say "You can do 4 or 40 - the people behind you will appreciate the extra practice if you hold a move for 40 times, so don't worry if you need to.") - Let them know that everyone in the room had to lead for their first time, too, and they remember how scary it was, so everyone is understanding, supportive, and empathetic. - I also tell them that from my own experience, the longer you wait, the harder it is, so it's better to do it sooner (now) because in another week or month or year, it will be even worse. The only way to get past it is to do it.

    #96479

    Anonymous

    It's slightly perverse, but something that really helped me is seeing others mess up. Every time I saw a really brilliant dancer turn in the wrong direction or miss a cue or something AND THE WORLD DIDN'T END, it reassured me that even if I did make a mistake it'd be OK. Having that reassurance eventually let me take the lead – although it did take ages.

    #96480

    Anonymous

    Exactly!

    #96481

    Anonymous

    I always enjoyed the “apology moment” in all the workshops I've taken from Carolena, where you get everyone into formations and have them turn to each other and apologize in advance. To me, this always helped break the ice for new people and help them understand that we're all learning, we'll all make mistakes, and it's totally okay.

    #96482

    Anonymous

    Thank you for your responses. These are all amazing and effective suggestions that have helped a lot.An interesting answer came from one of my troupe mates, who pointed out I was constantly giving encouragement/attention to the lead phobic dancer when she got upset about the lead issue, but it had fallen into a pattern and instead of helping her I was giving attention every time she got upset or anxious about lead mistakes, which actually encouraged the phobia behavior. My mate recommended I just give a quick reassurance one time and then proceed right through drills and lead changes, shifting my energy into assuming the tentative lead would be successful. This may sound a little out there, but the DAY I did this, everything changed. I quit giving her a lot of coddling every time she freaked out, and the freak outs stopped. I ignored the melt down moments and treated her like she was just as good a lead as everyone else...and she became one. Within months she was one of the strongest leads in class and every other part of her dance improved. It reminded me about the importance of how and what we give energy to.  Some problems don't exist until we convince ourselves they do.  I got a humbling lesson in student psychology.

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