Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stage presence

When you take to the stage, everything you do is part of the performance.  When I say "stage", I mean anywhere you might be performing, be it an actual stage or not.

When you place a drum, that's part of the performance.  When you walk across stage, that's part of the performance.  When you stop mid-walk and look for your spot and then bend over with your butt towards the audience to pick up your bachi...well that's part of the performance, too.

The next time you watch a taiko group perform, take note of what happens between songs - often the moving around is masked by a transition of some sort.  However, if you look past the transition, what do you see?  I think it's easy for us to forget the audience can clearly see everything we do on stage.

Stage presence is something that is often not a priority.  When you're worried about the songs themselves, remembering what comes next, playing together, etc., it's enough work on top of that to just have basic presence as a performer.  In that context, most of the focus is on projecting ki while playing, but once the song stops, then what?

How's your posture when you kneel down to move something?  If you use spikes, how discreet are you in spotting them?  Are you aware of when you're facing away from the audience in case you have to bend over?  Are your motions reserved?  Smooth?  Scattered?  Casual?

Sometimes the answers to those questions are determined by your group.  You may be the most smooth, composed, intentional person on stage...but if everyone else is casual, then the one who looks wrong is you!  There needs to be an understanding of what your group allows/wants and what you personally do/want to do.

I'm not trying to add more stress to your plate.  I don't want you ending a song to then think, "oh crap everyone's looking at me!"  Just realize that from the time your group starts through the last bow, you are performing!  In time, it'll become something you hardly have to think about and will be able to pull off naturally.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sharing that with my group. It's my hope that we'll all be mindful of this at all times when on stage. (Not that it hasn't been mentioned previously on, oh, more than one occasion...)