How to address Fear in dance class
A student's mom asked me to "convince" her daughter about dancing a solo for our upcoming recital. I knew this could mean one of two things: the mom may want this dance for her daughter more than her daughter actually wants to do it or the daughter is feeling nervous about the pressure of having all the attention on herself.
Here is the conversation I had with her daughter (in private):
Teacher: Why don't you want to dance a solo?
Dancer: I feel afraid and nervous. I don't know if I can do it.
Teacher: There are two types of fear when it comes to dance. Are you afraid because you don't want to do a solo dance or are you afraid because you do want to do a solo dance?
Dancer: I do want to do the dance. But I am afraid I can't do it and I will mess up.
Teacher: That's a good type of fear. That means you care about this and you are afraid of messing up. Those fears we need to conquer and do anyway. How about we just start learning the dance and take it day by day. If you get the jitters on stage, I can stand in front in the audience so you can look at me the entire time. We can work together on this.
Dancer: Ok. Let's do it. I am excited.
Teacher: Me too. You are a wonderful dancer who works hard on practicing all the steps. You are going to do great. Send me some song suggestions for your solo and we can start next week.
Dancer: Wait! I get to choose the songs. Ok, now I am REALLY excited.