It’s The Day of the Show, Y’all:
Preparing for an Aerial Performance

Performance days can be exciting, nerve-wracking, or both. Whether you’re a seasoned showman or making your first appearance at a student showcase, being well-prepared is the key to success. The following tips will help reduce your stress levels and save your sanity on show days, so that you feel calm and collected as the curtain rises.

Create A Timeline

Start with your call time and work backward to plan your day. Give yourself ample time to get to the venue and to find parking if you’re planning on driving. If parking seems like it might be stressful, consider taking a ride share service or asking a friend to drop you off.

Set aside time to pack, so that you’re not rushing around searching frantically for your eyeliner or spray rosin. Make a list of things that you’ll need or may want and check them off as you place them in your bag or kit.

From there, fill in the time however seems right to you. If you anticipate being nervous, maybe schedule a distraction, like seeing a movie. You can also spend the time before resting up and focusing on the upcoming performance.

We also strongly recommend taking it easy the night before. Don’t overindulge and go to bed at a reasonable hour, so that you wake up feeling your best. Performing tired or hungover is not only less fun, it’s also not a safe aerial practice.

Rehearse or Rest?

By now, you should feel comfortable with the material you’re performing and have completed several successful runs in your full costume. If running your routine one more time will ease your nerves, go for it, but make sure not to overdo it.

Run the piece once, and unless something goes awry, go home. Do not wear out your muscles or your grip prior to your performance. Keep in mind you will likely get a chance to run your piece one last time at tech.

What Not to Do

A couple things we recommend NOT doing the day of the show.

  • Don’t perform a strenuous, new, or risky workout. This is not the day to go rock climbing or try out your first kickboxing class. You don’t want to risk pulling or straining something or just tiring yourself out. Light physical activity and your regular workout regimen is fine.
  • Save any bodywork for the day after you perform. While a massage can help you relax and relieve tension, it can also lead to some major changes in the way your body moves and feels. These changes are positive in the long run, but can be disorienting when they happen right before a show. 

Stay Hydrated and Eat Something

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and bring a water bottle with you to the venue. Plan small, nutritious meals at regular intervals and pack plenty of snacks. Choose foods that are easy to digest – nothing too greasy, spicy, or heavy. While you don’t want to feel overly full or uncomfortable by showtime, you also don’t want to be lethargic or fuzzy-headed due to low blood sugar.

Pack Carefully

When packing, make sure you have all of your costume pieces (including undergarments), hair and makeup tools, snacks and water, and any props or grip aids. Bring backups where possible, just in case.

A yoga mat to warm up on and a mirror can be also be useful if the venue does not provide them. While you’ve probably sent your music ahead of time, make sure it’s on your phone – and that your phone is fully charged – just in case something goes wrong. 

Pre-show jitters are a fact of life for most performers, but you can stave off a lot of nervousness by planning in advance. Schedule your day wisely to avoid rushing around at the last minute, make a meal plan, and pack everything you need to feel like the confident performer you’re about to be.