Performance phobia


Coral James, in the middle, and other members of the flag team, Adriana Escobedo and Kayla Torbit, perform at the homecoming pep rally. , When on the stage, Coral feels more confident in her performance. “[Stage fright is] mostly before. Once I’m on stage, I’m pretty into it,” James said. Photo taken by Michaela Sanderson.

75% of Americans are believed to suffer from glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking (

Public speaking is not the only fear of performing that people experience. Dancing, presentations, singing and anything that involves the scrutiny of others can cause an almost insurmountable phobia.

Stage fright is experienced by nearly everyone. What is this fear that paralyzes even the bravest? “It’s something you get when you go on stage and you’re nervous and you tense up and it’s a bad experience,” said freshman Savannah Benton.

The fear of performing can be caused by many things. “It all depends on what kind of person you are,” said Benton.

Sophomore Mary Andersen said that for her stage fright is caused by, “the fear of being judged.” Andersen is prevented from feeling at ease on stage because of a fear of criticism.

Freshman Savannah Benton agrees. “I’m afraid of what people are thinking of me while I’m up there,” she said.

Although freshman Phoebe Hatten struggles with stage fright, she does not fear judgement. “I don’t really care what people think; I [am] just me,” said Hatten. Although she deeply desires her performance to bring pleasure to the audiences, Hatten isn’t greatly affected if the audience does not appreciate it.

Most students’ fear is inspired by not wanting to mess up. “I think the fear of messing up will cause it. I will be afraid to look bad in front of my school or make my team look bad,” said sophomore Coral James.

“The fear of messing up, of doing bad and of getting criticism is a big thing,” said Andersen. “If I mess up, that’s kind of a bummer,” said senior Phoebe Lieurance about performing in front of an audience.

Stage fright is natural, but unfortunately it can hold students back. “It made me afraid to do things that I enjoy,” said Andersen.

James keeps an optimistic attitude about her stage fright: “Sometimes I may play it a little bit safe on stage because I’m nervous about dropping a toss but other than that it doesn’t really hold me back because once I perform I have a lot of fun.” said James.

As every student has to perform or present at some point, they have learned techniques for overcoming their stage fright. “I usually just close my eyes and go over the dance in my head and just try to relax myself,” said Hatten.

James performs despite her fear. “I just do it. When I do it, it always turns out great,” said James. By pushing past her reluctance to perform, she has found success in her performance.

Benton tries to forget the audience: “I try and not look at people straight in the eyes. I try and look at the wall or something,” said Benton. By looking at something other than the audience, Benton focuses more fully on her performance and less on the audience.

Some students use their belief in God to calm them before a performance. “The way that I overcome my stage fright is by praying or having other people pray for me,” said Lieurance.

Despite stage fright causing a reluctance to perform, the students of CAHS have not let it hold them back from pursuing their passions. “If you have really good support, I feel like it [is] kind of easy to get over it,” said Andersen.