Zumba with the Bobcats (and Conquering Stage Fright)

When I was invited to zumba with the Bobcats a couple months ago, I thought, hey, why not? Sounds like FUN! I love zumba, so why not zumba at a basketball game. No biggee, right?

Though such an event is probably not a biggee for most people, it was actually a sort of challenge for someone like me – someone with stage fright. That’s right! I HATE doing most things in front of people. There are definitely situations that terrify me and others that don’t bother me as much. For example, I can sometimes freak out over public speaking but I actually LOVE dancing in front of the zumba class with the instructor. I think maybe I’ve gotten better with this over time, allowing me to not worry so much in certain situations, but things were different when I was kid/teen.

When I was younger, I used to train as a figure skater. I LOVED to skate. I HATED to compete. In fact, I hated competing so much that I rarely did it. I remember dreading going to skating competitions as a kid. I could barely sleep the night before the competition and the day of, I could barely eat. I remember just before taking the ice how my legs would feel like rubber – like I couldn’t control them. It was not exactly a good feeling for someone trying to do complex moves in front of a rink full of people and judges. I didn’t really care about winning or the judges. I was too busy wondering if I would trip, forget my choreography (which I did one time), or otherwise embarrass myself. I was worried the people in the audience would think I was terrible. It was so NOT fun for me!


Anywho, flash forward to Saturday. I’ve met hours before the game with 230 fellow zumba lovers (most instructors) for a practice and dress rehearsal.


Suddenly I find myself standing in the center of an NBA team basketball court with seats EVERYWHERE!


There are 20, maybe 30 times the number of seats as you’d see in a typical ice rink. In just a few hours, these seats would be filled with people all over!

Practice began with placement. They had the first two rows of people selected (because they know the choreography well) and they got those rows laid out and people in their places. Then, they told the rest of us to fill in and get in windowed-lines. If I didn’t make the second line, I had hoped to be sort of third of fourth row in the middle-right. Niiiiice and safe and well-blended-in. But, as I tried to make that way, there were people all over to my right and behind me. I couldn’t move. Somehow, I ended up in the middle. And when I say middle…do you know that line that goes straight down the middle of the court? I was standing on that line. I was in the third row, just behind my friend Sara who was one of the girls who planned and organized this whole sch-bang. She was front and center.

I stood thinking through the choreography while they worked on placing all the rows behind me. Several minutes passed. Next thing I know, the rows have been rearranged and they’re telling my row to step up one. *gulp* I am now in the second row in THE MIDDLE. How did I get here? Why am I here? Can I do this? As the stage fright demons started to creep out, I started to second guess my spot. I could move somewhere else, but where? I checked around, and it was looking pretty filled-out everywhere I looked. And yet, all the while as my mind was racing, in my gut I had the sense I was in the right place and that I should stay put.

Once we were all placed, we practiced the song two times and practiced our running on and off the court (230 people are a lot to funnel through one of those side court exits). We ended practice right after 4pm and had 3 hours to kill before the game, which started at 7pm.


I headed out with my friends to get some food. They chose a nearby pizza place. I was glad to get away from the arena to let my nerves calm down.


I wasn’t going to eat at first but decided to go ahead and get a piece of veggie pizza and water.


Zumba friends 🙂

After eating, we all headed back to the arena. I split up with the girls and met up with hubby who was there to watch the game. As soon as we were back in the arena my nervousness slowly started to build. My mind started wandering again with worrisome thoughts. As I wondered whether I may mess up the choreography, I realized that if I did, it would be extra obvious because of where I was standing – one row back from front and center. Eek! I read over the choreography print out and had hubby quiz me a little. I practiced the choreo in the hall one time with my back to the people walking around who were probably like “what the heck is she doing?”

The stage fright demons were back.


Hubby and I took our seats extra early. We were waaaaay high up.


I took some practice shots of the court to see how close the camera could get.


And then it was game time!


It’s amazing what a production an NBA basketball game is. I was starting to feel excited (albeit still nervous) about getting to be part of it.


We had to head down to court level waaay before halftime. I only really saw the first 5 minutes of the game. We took a freight elevator to a holding area to wait before the halftime show.


Defeating my demons:

As I waited for halftime, I practiced the choreography a bit and talked with my zumba friends. I started to feel a peace with performing with my zumba group that I never felt when I was doing figure skating competitions. Though I was nervous, I was excited and happy to be there. The thought of trading my spot with someone last minute crossed my mind but only for a split second. I smashed that negative thought and realized that I WANTED to be second row front and center. I brought on some positive thoughts and reminded myself that I knew the choreography well and told myself that I would be fabulous.

I told those stage fright demons who was boss!

As we waited to go on, waves of cheers rose from our energetic group of zumba lovers. I felt lucky to be part of such an amazing group of people. Their excitement and confidence was like electricity in the air charging each of us with positive energy.


Soon enough, it was half time and we were running onto the court. This was IT!




(That’s me circled in red)


As soon as the music started, all my hard practice kicked in. I was so full of energy I wasn’t methodically thinking about the choreography. I was just feeling the music, the dancing, and the moment.

Gone was the stage fright – I was having FUN!


I even tried making eye contact with some different people in the audience.


Hubby caught some photos of me on the main screen of the scoreboard.



And seemingly in the blink of an eye it was over! Phew! I DID IT! 🙂

At the end, we all stopped with our arms extended and our face towards the ceiling. In that moment, looking up at the lights, I felt a high like never before. The bright show lights were on us, and the audience was cheering and clapping for US. No wonder rock stars love to do concerts. If this is what it feels like to perform without stage fright, then I can’t wait to do it again.



With the clapping and cheering still going, we all ran off the court and hugged each other and let what we had just pulled off sink in. Squuuuueeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

And then, a random performance of sorts.


As we were making our way back to our seats, my head instructor and I were asked to dance with Miguel from Bobcats TV during a timeout in the last quarter.


Yup – made it on the scoreboard again. lol



In celebration of my accomplishment, hubby and I got some The Fudgery fudge! Nom. I got dark chocolate with nuts and he got caramel chocolate.

Up for a challenge? Think of something you’re afraid of and face your fear. As Pink asks in Glitter in the Air, “Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don’t care?” I did that with the Bobcat performance and it was awesome! If I can do it, you can do it.

Take this quote and print it out to help give you motivation. Put it up somewhere you’ll see it often. This is one of my favorites:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I think Eleanor is absolutely right. I really do feel more empowered and more confident in myself after having done this Bobcats zumba performance. What an amazing experience! I learned not only that I can perform in front of people but that I can have fun with it. Take THAT stage fright demons! Hi-yah!

Two reader questions today:

  1. What are you afraid of?
  2. Have you ever looked your fear in the face and said you didn’t care? What was your fear? What did you do?

16 thoughts on “Zumba with the Bobcats (and Conquering Stage Fright)”

  1. yeah you did it!! wooo hooo!

    What am I afraid of? Fear of failure, sabotaging myself

    What do I do about it? I go ahead and apply for entry level jobs, which is where I’m at… but there are so many MORE for 2 to 5 years experience. I stretched did that 2 years ago, and learned so much… but yet, I was not able to keep it. Not because I was not doing the job, but because I was working beyond the job scope and THAT caused me to fail. My insecurity and overcompensation caused it – not the progress that I was making in learning the position, nor their willingness to teach me the culture and duties.

    Job duties are there for a reason – if I paced my learning curve, and NOT over worked the scope designed into the position due to my insecurities, I would most likely still be there – at my DREAM job! 🙂

    What am I doing about it? Taking time to work with a life coach, reading self help books. These are working on what makes ME tick on the inside so I can be my BEST in all areas of my life – mind, body and spirit.

    Like you, I almost did not share this much – but one of my goals with my blog and twitter was to be authentic – vulnerability and transparency is part of that.

  2. YEAH love the photos!! Thank you hubby for getting the shots on the score board! Awesome!

    I froze on stage for an elementary school PTA performance practice and was given the important task of changing the music for each group. It empowered me to participate behind the scenes.

    This carried over to our Senior Play Stage Crew which is one of my favorite high school memories, and to being part of TWO high school musical supporting casts!

    As part of my job, when I speak before an audience of 30 to 100, I am fairly comfortable with short introductory speeches… but not with an entire 15 to 30 minute presentation. And it is even harder for me with small groups like a Book Discussion Club, where I am leading the discussion!

    How do I resolve this? For my programs, I plan 10 minute themed segments (Intro, Activity, Talk, Activity, Closing, Take Home Handout Introduction, Coffee Mixer). By making the program interactive, it is less about ME and more about the Audience. No, I don’t have it “down pat” yet!

    Improvement comes with Experience!

    Working in Teams strengthens and empowers weaker team members!

  3. Congratulations! The photos look great! I’m also have stage fright. Very brave of you to just do it. I always feel better when I force myself to just go ahead and do the things that scare me.

  4. Congratulations!!! Good for you!! I used to get stage fright anytime I would compete in my karate competitions but then the more I did it, the more comfortable I became and I learned to pretend like I was acting in a play, that I was performing, and I *chose* to be there, I could leave anytime. I ended up loving it and then I loved competing everytime. Although I don’t train anymore, I do miss competing.

  5. Oh my god~ you are my hero! I love, love, love it!

    This just made my day, I’m so proud of you for getting up there, and a bit jealous! I would not have done that without at least a bottle of wine in my system- at which point all the moves I once had go flying out the window!

    Great post!

  6. congratulations!!!! How cool! I wish I could have gone to that game! I love performing, but would always get a little nervous before games or on stage, but once we got out there, it was just a ton of fun! If I just didn’t think about it, it just came easily 🙂 Looks like such a fun time! I wish dancing in front of people was as easy as giving presentations, now that scares me! lol


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