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Could virtual reality be the key to performance anxiety?

#fridaysforfuture An intriguing and introspective article from Lauren Mechling of The New Yorker that profiles how a virtual reality program helped her to overcome her deep fear of public speaking. In the article she states,


"Though virtual reality is better known for its ability to keep gamers up all night, it is also a proven aid for those suffering from a panoply of fears, including a fear of heights, a fear of insects, and dental and pre-surgical anxieties. Since the nineteen-nineties, clinical trials have shown that this field of technology can be just as efficacious as traditional exposure therapy."


From the ability to mimic the exact look of the location the public speaking event would occur in to the size and attention span of the crowd, the virtual program was able to give Lauren a authentic feeling environment that she could practice in without the consequences of a real life event.


Many dancers, beginner through professional, struggle from performance anxiety, and the act of performing for some can be very similar to the fears associated with public speaking. If there is current technology addressing experiential fears such as public speaking, why couldn't virtual reality be used to address performance anxieties for dancers and other performing artists?


What are your thoughts after reading the article? Do you think virtual reality could realistically help dancers to find more comfort on stage? What are some ways you deal with performance anxieties for yourself or your dancers?


Article link: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-virtual-reality-program-to-conquer-the-fear-of-public-speaking


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