During the past three weeks, the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet had been busy preparing for their Concours de Promotion 2019 while having the usual rehearsals and performances. I myself was no exception, that’s why I have been off from this blog for quite some time.
The Concours took place last Friday, on 8th November for the boys. So I am back again and have a lot to share about this experience. It was indeed quite an experience! This was my third Concours de Promotion at the Paris Opera, and I had never been so nervous before.
We had a dress rehearsal on 7th November and the Concours was just the day after. The stage fright that I had been feeling since 6th evening was especially intense this time. I really wanted to deliver a good performance on stage. Even though I had learnt a lot of different mental techniques to overcome stress and anxiety, it seemed to be a subconscious thing: even when the conscious mind wasn’t thinking about the Concours, I was still feeling very nervous. There would be pressure and numbness around my head, fast heartbeat and even a slight pain in the chest area.
Why was that? The 3-weeks preparation went really well and everything felt more ready than ever. Yet I had a pressure level similar to that I had before the First Round of Varna International Ballet Competition back in summer 2018, when I had to dance for the first time after 2 weeks of rest, with a half-torn hip flexor muscle, and on an unfamiliar open-air wooden stage.
The two nights before the Concours were among the longest that I had. Sleepless, despite the use of a few strong but natural sleeping pills, I tried every possible method to make myself fall asleep: Guided meditation, hypnosis recordings, relaxing musics, deep breathing exercises, lavender essential oils….. and the list goes on. Fear of failure? Lack of confidence? I tried really hard to figure out the real reason behind these emotions.
Having learnt about the importance of mental strength and mindset in sport performance, I tried to empower myself with positive ideas and inspiring stories, a process from which I learned a lot, not only for the Concours but for Life in general.
The D-Day finally came, after one month of intense work and different sacrifices made. When I stepped on that stage, in front of a full audience and the long table of the judge panel. I felt confident, joyous and honoured to be on that stage. All the nerves and self-imagined-drama seemed worthy, when I felt the fearlessness, determination and freedom for artistic expression, during those 3-minutes of performance.
To be continued in the next post……