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I am back! After the Concours…

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……

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