The world loves The Nutcracker.
From sweet young Clara (or Marie!) to the dancing snowflakes to the beloved Sugar Plum Fairy — and all the quirky creatures in between — The Nutcracker is the ultimate holiday ritual.
Audiences eat it up, gasping as the tree grows at the end of the Act I party scene, and ooh-ing and aah-ing along to the familiar Tchaikovsky score.
As dancers, though? Your first Nutcracker is pretty magical. You’re finally a part of it! Whether you made your Nut debut as a rat, a party guest, or Hot Chocolate, being part of the stage spectacular is, well, spectacular.
But in most cases it’s a yearly thing. And each year, you’re likely to perform the show multiple times — maybe even multiple times per day! So by the time you’re through rehearsals and midway through the performance season, it’s normal to feel a little burned out.
Here are a few ways to avoid the dreaded “Dancer’s Burnout” so your audience can see you on your A-game every single night (and matinee!).
Dedicate each performance to someone special in your life. This is a trick long-distance runners use during hard workouts or long races: They dedicate a mile to someone they love. That way, during, say, mile 24 (yup), the runner will think about his or her mom — and you’re not going to slow down or give up when you’re thinking about your mom! Apply the same strategy to your stage shows to bring new meaning to each performance.
Give yourself a different motivation for each performance. Maybe Friday night’s show will be all about locking eyes with different people in the audience and making them feel special. And then maybe Saturday you can focus specifically on your technique during the second act. Changing up your focus will make each performance feel special in its own way.
Make it an Instagram challenge! Before or after each show, share something about the show with your followers. Maybe it’s something you’re grateful for, maybe it’s a snapshot of your costume, or maybe it’s a short video clip from the wings (with your director’s permission, of course). Get creative!
Treat yo’ self! Indulge in something delightful before or after each performance. Whether it’s a favorite food, a five-minute massage at your local nail salon, or a stroll through the yummy smelling candle store, do something that brings you sheer joy as a reward for a successful show.
Take care of yourself offstage. Make time for yourself. (Here are a few of our favorite ways.)
And remember, be good to your body, back off at signs of injury, and have fun. You dance because you love it, so never lose sight of how lucky you are to be out there!