Performance Recovery 101

Michael Bautista, Staff Writer

​Whether it’s a ballet recital, a keyboard solo, or a monologue, performers of all disciplines have encountered the dreaded slip-up.

Did the audience notice that mistake? Probably not.
What do I do now? Keep going.
That performance was terrible! It probably went better than you think.

​Audiences (should) know that performing in front of a crowd is a tremendously nerve-racking ordeal, and the few hiccups here and there are usually forgotten by the end of the night. So what if you missed a line, or a note, or a dance step? If you mess up, don’t ever shake your head, make a face, or do anything else that shows the audience that you acknowledge your mistake—that shows weakness and it shows that you’ve given up. Pretend that the mistake is what you meant to do, and believe it or not, it works almost all the time. (When I mess up on the piano, I call it “improvising”). At that moment, the audience’s attention is all on you; the stage is all yours for the next few minutes. If anything, they’ll be pleased that you’ve shared your talents with them.

​Now, little mistakes are all fine and dandy, but then there are the huge mistakes—the ones that you can’t just recover from right away, and the ones that everyone knows is definitely not part of the performance. In this case, there’s unfortunately not much you can do besides dust yourself off, smile at the audience, and keep going. Show them your fighting spirit, and finish your performance with finesse. Walk off that stage with dignity, because one bad fall does not determine your abilities as a dancer, musician, or actor. The show must go on, right? ★彡

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