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Stage presence and etiquette

As soon as you see the performer emerge from the back, you start to clap. You expect that she will walk to the centre of the stage, to the front of the stage where you can see her fully. Then you expect her to take a graceful but generous bow.

As the performer, you expect to hear the applause the moment you appear on stage. You walk to the centre, look at the audience briefly, and take a bow. You smile at the audience until you sit down. Then you get ready to play.

After you finish playing, you wait to compose yourself. Then you turn to the audience, look at them, take a bow, and then look at them again. You can smile. But you don't immediately turn away.

That's how it should be.

But not everyone does it that way.

I have seen generous bows, and I have seen swift bows with no acknowledgement afterwards. In the latter case, the audience feels like they are clapping to thin air, to an empty stage.

The audience wants to be acknowledged as much as the performer does.

Eye contact is important. Don't quickly bow and quickly leave the stage. Stay on stage. Look at the audience. Attempt to make eye contact. Show that you are grateful for their attendance.

Don't dwell on the mistakes you've made. I've yet to hear a perfect performance. I've yet to give a perfect performance. The audience might or might not know. Whatever the case, keep smiling. Look appreciative. Be generous in your bows.

26 June 2004 Saturday

Related links:
All the world's a stage (photos)
Overcoming stage fright
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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