Anyone in the performing arts knows what show week means… the week where you abandon your everyday life and dedicate all of your time to rehearsing and preparing for a full week of performances. To some, it’s the best week of the semester, full of memorable times where you become closer with your classmates in your program, or to others, it’s the most stressful week of the semester, full of exhaustion and sore feet and muscles.

This coming week I will be performing for the first time in the New Voices in Dance concert featuring the Contemporary Dance Ensemble on the Mainstage. For those who are thinking, “what is this girl talking about?” let me explain.

The Mainstage is the major proscenium theatre in the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at JMU, seating 450 people. It’s every Dance major’s dream to have danced on this stage before graduating, as this is the only student concert put on by the dance program in the Mainstage theatre during the year.

During show week, the most important thing to remember is that you have to take care of yourself. This means eating healthy, especially since you’ll need the energy with all the dancing you’ll be doing. I know… it’s mind-blowing to think that eating healthy is possible in college. It’s easy to get lost in the craziness and demands of the week and forget about basic human needs. However, making sure you get enough fruits/vegetables, protein, carbs, and calcium can greatly affect your functioning, especially during a week like this one.

We all know it’s quick and convenient to grab a slice of greasy pizza or a bag of chips or pick up fast food, but this will only work against your body and cause it to crash. Planning ahead of time and meal prepping or grabbing a salad with protein and other veggies will only make your body say “thank you.”

Sleep? Do I have time for that? Yes. Sleep is absolutely necessary, especially during a busy week that takes a lot of energy out of you. If you’re like me and need at least 6 hours of sleep to be able to function during a busy day, this should be one your top priorities during show week. You need to allow your body time to rest. You either hit the pillow immediately and can’t wait to relax after hours of dancing and rehearsing, or you lay in bed stressing over everything you have to do the next day and lose track of how much time you’ve spent letting your mind wander.

Don’t forget to do your homework. There are a million things going on and all your mind can think about is your rehearsal schedules. Why did your professors have to assign all of those projects for this week especially? We’ll never know but this always seems to be the case. Managing your time wisely when you have any free time and making a To-Do list for the week can save your grades, seriously! For some reason, when I have no time and have a jam-packed schedule, I seem to do my best work.

While this week is long and stressful and your body begins to shut down towards the end from pure exhaustion, remember that you make so many amazing memories and become closer with fellow dancers during this week. It’s what you’ve been looking forward to all semester and you can’t wait to share your hard work with everyone that sees the concert. Keep a positive attitude and enjoy every moment, because it will fly by.