“How to deal with performance nerves” – by Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer with her dance partner Neville achieving success at the Australian Dancesport Championships.

How to Deal with Nerves


DK Ballroom Instructor Jennifer Jackson writes about how she deals with performance nerves.


"How to deal with nerves.

Or maybe, "How to Embrace your inner Chaos? "

I'm still learning about this one and I’m not sure if it is something that I can realistically expect to resolve completely. Do I even want to?

Nerves are good (and bad, sorry). They can work for us or work against us. It’s all up to us really.

Did you know that public speaking is up near the top of the list for things that people are most scared about.  Some people even rate it higher than dying (or my personal favourites; snakes and confined spaces). Go figure!
However, I love public speaking. Crazy I know, but do I get nervous? You bet. I’d be nervous if I didn’t get nervous. But I use my nerves to create energy, expectation and passion about my chosen topic.

In the words of that classic philosopher, Kath Day Knight, "I’ve got one thing to say to you” Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.
Nerves are a lot easier to handle when I am speaking if I feel like I’ve prepared as much as possible, have the expertise to know what I’m talking about (that always helps), and if I know I have the authority/experience to speak to the subject.

This is where I think the crossover comes into Ballroom dancing. Nerves will be a lot easier to handle and utilise if we have prepared fully, practiced hard, and feel that we have earned the right to get up and dance.
These are things that we can control. Put them into place and we can also control our nerves to the extent that they work with us and not against us.

There are plenty of practical things that we can do to deal with nerves. Things like allowing plenty of time to get ready for the event, know exactly where the event is located and how long it will take to get there, have your bag packed early, keep a list.
Eliminate all the variables as much as you can and allow yourself time to calm.

I know I’ll be nervous next time I get up to Ballroom dance in an event or competition, or an Award Performance, but

Keep on dancing everyone."