In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I'm shy and introverted, so I have a hard time opening up onstage, and a really hard time improvising. What steps can I take to push through my shyness?
Many dancers are shy and introverted—myself included! The thing I love about the performance aspect of dance is that it essentially gives you a chance to become someone else. Think of your "performance self" (and/or your "improv self") as separate from your normal self, which will help you be bolder and freer. You can even give your stage persona a different name, à la Beyoncé's "Sasha Fierce." It sounds silly, but it'll truly help you overcome the shyness.
Remember, too, that the audience is on your side. They're not sitting in their seats willing you to fall or fail—they're rooting for you! Let that knowledge bolster your confidence.
For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.