Shake It Off – How to Rebound After A Disappointing Routine

May 11th, 2016 by Roy Patterson

"Believe you can and you're halfway there"- Theodore Roosevelt

Dancers upside down on stage at StarQuest

Even the most accomplished dancers have off-days. We miss cues, drop our center, end up a count behind.

It happens.

But when it happens on competition day, and the judges’ scores reflect our performance, it’s hard to shake it off. Our brains are hardwired to focus on moments we’d rather forget- there’s even a name for it: the negativity bias. In his book “Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence”, psychologist Dr Rick Hanson describes this phenomenon as such: “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”

Here are five steps for getting your mind back to center stage:

  1. Make a list of what prevented you from having a winning performance. Were you well-rested? Rehearsed your routine until it’s second nature? What was your mind focusing on prior to the competition? Sometimes we don’t realize how seemingly insignificant occurrences- like hitting traffic- can affect our whole day.
  2. Take that list and divide it into factors you can control (i.e.: getting stuck in traffic), and factors out of your control (i.e.: judges’ personal preferences). Take the list of things you cannot control and tear it up. Focusing on what you cannot control is counterproductive towards becoming the best version of yourself.
  3. Turn the list of things you can control into an action plan. For each item, describe how you will remedy each obstacle.
    Example: Judge 2 commented that my extension looked sloppy. I will spend 20 minutes a day stretching.
  4. Sit down with your teacher and family to review your action plan. Maybe even review the judges’ critiques as a team. They are your biggest cheerleaders and best resources. Let them hold you accountable!
  5. Focus on what went well! Did you wow the audience with your fouettes? Did you have one moment where you felt completely in-control? Take a deep breath, let go of all judgements towards your performance, and concentrate that energy back towards your love for dance.

"Believe you can and you're halfway there"- Theodore Roosevelt

Through falls, wobbily pirouettes, costume malfunctions, and everything else that could possibly go wrong- at the end of the day, we still get to do what we love. All we can do is reflect on and grow from our missteps, and remember the points are not the point- the point is to dance.

Post Blog Workshop:

  • What is one area you know you improved in this season? What did you do to improve?
  • What is one area you know still needs some work? What will you do this week to set yourself up for success and growth?


Mariel Pauline Rosen is the StarQuest social media concierge. She likes shiny things and believes in your sparkle!