Confidence Boosting Tips from being in The Festival of Dance

On March 31st, I had the honour to perform among other U of T dancers at Canada’s largest university dance festival—the Festival of Dance.

This is a show performed annually at Hart House, and it would be in-person for the first time since the pandemic. Ever since I was little, I've always loved dancing. It has been a hobby of mine for many years and something I would turn to when looking for fun. The festival was open to all levels of experiences and diverse styles. When I saw the call for submissions, the opportunity was practically screaming my name!

2023 Festival of Dance sign outside of Hart House

I’d spent months leading up to the show choreographing and rehearsing. Frequent changes and adjustments were made with every practice as I loved improvising and trying new moves each time. I did an 80's inspired jazz routine to the song Maniac from the movie Flashdance. The night of the show was exhilarating; because of the pandemic, I hadn't performed on stage since high school. This was also my first time choreographing and performing a solo.

Whether it's a presentation in front of a class, an art or architecture critique, an interview, raising your hand to participate, talking to a prof, and everything else in between, we all have moments in the spotlight that can give us that all too familiar nervous feeling. The tips that led me to have one of my proudest performance moments on stage can be applied to provide us with the confidence we need in other situations. 

Leading up to my time to go on stage, I put some confidence-boosting tips into use to get myself ready to go…

1. Confident poses.

My performance art professor taught us to look in the mirror and make strong, confident poses. Making Hercules muscle poses, flexing, and strutting in front of the mirror definitely worked for making my confidence go way up. 

Sammi Herlich posing on stage during performance, pink background, black silhouette

  2. Positive self-talk.

Usually, before a show, you have cast members or team members with you to hype you up. This time I had no choice but to do that for myself. I told myself everything I would have wanted a teammate to have said to me. 

3. Meditative state.

While waiting in the wings to go onto stage in front of a complete full house, I closed my eyes and got into a rhythm. I thought about breathing calmly. I grooved to the music of the group that was on the stage before me. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with nerves, I was excited, my heart was racing, and I couldn’t wait to get on the stage. When I was signaled to go on, I felt ready.

Sammi in change room mirror

4. Own it!

Once on stage, I had a blast! I was smiling, having fun, enjoying my music, the cheering of the audience, and letting my body do its thing. Some moves were even ones I hadn’t done before. I loved every second of performing.

Sammi with her hand in the air during dance performance, pink background, sparkly top

So, no matter what it is that brings you the jitters or stage fright, be your own hype person, strut your stuff and don’t let the nerves bring you down. As scary as any performance or public speaking can be, when you get to the finish line, you prove to yourself you can do it! 

Until next time,


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