The benefits of Performing Arts

Have you ever gotten up in front of a crowd of people and performed a task like public speaking, or presented a presentation?  How about teaching, singing or some other type of performing art?   Performing in front of people can be a really scary thing.  There are several phobias that cover this area: Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking.  Stage fright is not commonly thought of as a phobia, however, it is categorized as a subset of glossophobia.  These are just a couple of the numerous social phobias that people can experience.

Some people just seem born to perform.  We can think of several pop stars that fall in to this category:  




Lady Gaga




It was said that Michael Jackson only felt normal when he was onstage. 

For a majority of us getting up in front of a crowd is a learned trait.  We are introduced to it in school and we become accustomed to it through repetition and experience.  My parents had me singing in church from an early age, so it was never a big deal to me.  I can appreciate those that do find it more difficult to do and try not to press people into situations that they will not enjoy. 

As a dance professional and performing artist, getting up in front of people gives me an opportunity to work on new projects.  One such project called Dancing in the Clover; I have talked about in recent blog entries.  The video from our performance there was uploaded this week and I wanted to share it with you.  So here it is for your viewing pleasure:  Daune and myself performing a sultry Rumba.

As an artist I encourage my students to participate in studio showcases where they can show off their sills.  It is my hope that doing so will provide them with an unforgettable experience.  We recently had a group of students that participated in our May showcase, where we performed a group swing routine.  Hope to have the video of that performance to post soon.   In the mean time, I asked the participants to answer a few questions to help give you an insight into their experience.

The first set of answers is from Andy and Katy both who just started dancing with me in February this year.  They performed several slides and lifts during the routine.

1. Having just completed your first performance, tell us a little about the experience.

Overall we would say the experience was great.  There were definitely times that we were nervous, angry, and happy.  It’s something we personally never thought we would have agreed to do, but we are glad we did.  It was fun just to get up and dance whether we were good or bad because we had a lot of fun with the whole experience.

2. What was the scariest moment during the training, practice and rehearsal process?

We would have to say the scariest moment would have to be the dress rehearsal.  Not having a full routine together and then completely forgetting what we did know before we stepped on stage made us both extremely nervous for the actual performance. 

 Ryan’s note: Dress rehearsal came three weeks early this year due to a scheduling conflict.  We were missing our third couple and had not completed putting together the full routine at that point.  The finished product was completely different after an additional three weeks of training and practice.

3. What was your favorite part(s) of the routine?

 We both really enjoyed the slides and learning how to do them.  It’s probably not something we would be able to use on a normal crowded dance floor so it was fun to be able to use the techniques during the performance.

4. What feelings did you have once it was over?

 It was exciting to know that we made it through without falling all over ourselves or forgetting everything we knew.  We both felt relieved.

5. Would you do it all over again?

 After the performance we both realized that it wasn’t that bad and that we would do it all over again.  We had a great time.  Thank you for the experience!

The second set of answers is from Jack and Rosey both who have been dancing for years but have never actually performed in front of people.  They were our third couple that missed dress rehearsal due to it coming earlier than expected.

1. Having just completed your first performance, tell us a little about the experience.

 It was a great experience, and we enjoyed the camaraderie of working with Ryan and Mary, and with Andy and Katy.

2. What was the scariest moment during the training, practice and rehearsal process?

 Jack was concerned about the stage floor.  We had been told it was different from the studio floor.  We both had a chance to dance on it only about an hour before the performance.  We were also concerned that we had missed most of the training, practice and rehearsal time because we were in Germany for 3 weeks.  We were also unavailable for dress rehearsal and didn’t know what to expect.  We hoped that our minds would not go blank and we would forget our routine.  

3. What was your favorite part(s) of the routine?

We liked that there were 3 couples of varied ages and experience that were having a good time together.  Jack’s favorites were the walk backs and the boogie walk, my (Rosey) favorite was the American spin because it was the one time that I was not trying to be in control, and completely trusting Jack to catch me!”

4. What feelings did you have once it was over?

 Relief with a little bit of pride mixed in.

5. Would you do it all over again?

Yes, it was a good experience, and we now know what to expect and we would be less apprehensive the next time.

So what are the benefits of performing in front of a crowd?  I think the students said it best:  relief…  and a little of pride to mix in.   Performing can be contagious, relief changes to excitement and the pride becomes a feeling of accomplishment.  That is the experience that I hope to ultimately pass along to my students, along with an experience they will never forget.

Hope you have been inspired by this post and take steps to make your own memorable experiences.



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