Tips for Stage Presence:
Stage presence is something that draws your eye to a dancer, the “It-factor” they bring to their performance and stage. Stage presence is classified as the dancer’s essence, facial expressions, emotional value, and body language that they add to the dance itself. This is the moment that the dancer(s) have to do their best at connecting with the audience, making them feel something or the same feelings they are feeling. It’s also what truly separates artists from technicians, being fully committed to their honest, vibrant storytelling and sharing your gift and a treasure trove of emotions, experiences, and body language with entire takes practice and commitment. We have compiled a short list of easy tips and helpful facts to help you improve your stage presence and performance quality while dancing on stage or in class.
Tip 1: How Interested Are You In What You’re Doing?
Being interested in your song, your dance, your focus and the story or meaning of the dance is extremely important while going through and performing your solo or group numbers. If you aren’t interested in the dance or don’t try to make it a challenge for yourself to story then the audience will be checked out. You should never feel like you are doing a dance or a certain movement just because your choreographer told you to. One of the easiest ways to stay engaged and interested mentally and physically in a more serious performance is to keep track of your focus. If you are intent on telling a specific story, you might naturally have a clear and strong focus. When dancers start to think about the steps too much, their eyes tend to wander. This can make you seem unengaged with your body language when in reality you are just thinking hard about your performance instead of just being in the moment.
Tip 2: Listening
In the mundane world a person who can “hear themselves speak” is not listening. To put this from a dancer’s perspective, this is meaning; a dancer who is “hearing themselves speak” might be too focused solely on how they look or how the movement looks on them. These dancers who are “speaking rather than listening” may have their eyes glued to the mirror in class, or looking at the floor. Stage presence starts at the beginning, while learning the choreography you need to have a moment of understanding and total trust. Trust that your teacher/choreographer is not going to put something on you that they don’t believe in themselves or something that they feel doesn’t falter you and your training. There’s nothing wrong with using the mirror to your advantage, but when you are called upon to perform, you have to tune into a different frequency, a different space, or a different mindset to look past the audience or the mirror.
A dancer who is “listening” to the moment might also seem more at ease. They are less likely to rush timing, they might be using their breath more, their eyes are engaged and they often look more grounded. Basically, a dancer who is engaged with what they are doing in this way will be more present.
Tip 3: Stage Presence is Being Present!
Imagine you’re watching a play, musical, or movie, and the actor and actress who is just reciting their lines with no passion, no flavor, or just going through the motions. They know their lines and blocking but they just have no deliverance with their lines and words. How would you feel watching this, how could you tell if they are just going through the motions and thinking about their next lines? How would you be able to tell? They might not be making eye contact, their movement might seem unnatural, and you might not fully believe the scene!
It is easier when you’ve rehearsed enough to let your mind and body focus on something other than the steps. A dancer who is “listening” to the moment might also seem more at ease. They are less likely to rush timing, they might be using their breath more, their eyes are engaged and they often look more grounded. Basically, a dancer who is engaged with what they are doing in this way will be more present. When you do that, you welcome the audience into your performance and begin to share your own style with them.
Tip 4: Share your feelings
Sharing your feelings while dancing is important because it can help create an emotional connection and bond with the music and movement. It allows you to express yourself in a unique way, connecting more deeply within the moment. This helps dancers to express what they are feeling and creates a sense of empathy between them, enhancing the overall experience. Sharing your feelings while dancing also gives other people permission to do so as well, creating an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding. When you share with the audience, you invite them into an exchange with you. Whatever feelings, ideas, and associations you have with “sharing,” try and conjure them before your next show!
Tip 5: Confidence is the Willingness to Feel Any Feeling Including Silliness
If you are willing to feel and look silly or embarrassed, oftentimes you might end up projecting confidence instead of actual silliness. Simply put when you are willing to feel any feeling at all is where your true confidence lies. If you are completely open to the fact to you might totally nail and kill the choreography or even flub then your audience will be able to feel that security and openness that you showing and projecting. If you have those moments on feeling not as confident in your solo dancing wise, then to make up for the lack of confidence, lean into your performance quality and commitment to selling yourself and your dance even if you don’t feel as confident in your technique.
Put it Into Practice!