How You Enter and Exit the Stage

The Competitor's Edge

In this edition, the focus is <b>how you enter and exit the stage</b>.

<b>First impressions matter.</b>

Plenty of groups seem to think that their competition set starts when they sing their first notes. That may be when the clock starts on the set, and, for official purposes, that may be when the judges are supposed to start paying attention, but in reality the moment a group is heard or seen it is making an impression. Your group can bound onto the stage in high energy fashion. You can march with perfect professionalism. You can stagger your entry to build the drama. Whatever you do, don’t giggle, don’t wave to your girlfriend, don’t take the walk onto the stage as an opportunity to work out your last jitters—get <i>all</i> of that out of the way before you get on stage, unless your nervous tic is a conscious part of the set you’re using to set up a specific song or to subvert expectations.

<b>Think about how you’ll exit.</b>

Too often I’ve seen very good sets derailed when the competitors have no exit strategy. The close on a winning pose. They look at each other and the crowd awkwardly. Some of them bow. Some of them wave. They shuffle off stage, sometimes in different directions.

Just like how a group enters the stage, how a group leaves is an unofficial part of the set, indicative of your group’s identity, level of professionalism, and the amount of preparation that went into the performance. Well prepared groups bow together or strike a final, definitive pose or very consciously run off stage with the same energy and exhilaration with which they started the set, or that their final song precipitated.

How have you seen groups make positive or negative impressions at the beginnings or ends of their sets? Let us know in the comments.