Stage Presents — Standing and Breathing (huh?)

Little dancerA good way to think of a performance is as a present you’re giving the audience. The way you are on stage is your stage presence. So the tips, activities, exercises and games I’ll share in posts like this are “stage presents” to enhance your “stage presence.”

Today, we’re going to look at standing and breathing.

“HUH?” I hear you saying! “I already know how to stand and breathe. Especially breathing — I’ve been doing it since I was born!”

This standing and breathing is going to help you if you’re on stage, or making a presentation to your class, or anything where you have to perform or speak in public. To see what I mean, click the orange box…

Does getting up in front of an audience — even your class at school — ever make you nervous? I get nervous before I do something like that. Most people do. Even stage actors and actresses, and movie stars, who have been in lots of roles, get nervous before a performance. There are ways to deal with that nervousness (it’s called stage fright, by the way). And two of those ways have to do with standing, and breathing.

Get a piece of paper, just an ordinary piece of paper. Try to stand it on end. Keep trying! Doesn’t work, does it? Now fold the paper in half so it looks like an upside down V. Now I bet you can get it to stand with the two “legs” a little ways apart. It’s the same with people. Sure, we can stand with our feet right close together, but it’s not a very relaxed way to stand, and if you’re a little nervous, you might even feel as if you’re swaying from side to side a bit if you stand like that.

Stand up, and put your feet just a little ways apart. Not that far! We’re not trying to do the splits! Just about shoulder width apart. That supports you better, and you can be more relaxed standing that way.

Now we’re going to breathe. We’re not going to huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf. We’re going to do what singing teachers often call “smelling a rose.” You don’t need a real rose! Just take an easy breath in through your nose, as if you’re smelling the most beautiful rose ever. Mmmmm. Now let that breath out slowly through your mouth. Ahhhhh. Just do that a couple of times, that’s all.

So next time you feel nervous, stand so you’re supported, with your feet a little way apart, and smell a rose. It will help your stage presence!

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  1. What fantastic advice, Beth! Although I am technically not a kid, I do get nervous having to speak to large groups – especially large groups of grown-ups! – and your tips about standing in a more relaxed way (which you made me realize I never do in those situations!) and “smelling the rose” (what a perfect way to describe the kind of breathing you’re aiming for!) are very helpful. I practiced them to see 🙂 And again, I have to comment on how well this is written for kids! You’re a natural with this age group!

    1. Definitely age has nothing to do with the need to conquer nervousness when speaking to groups! I’m so glad you’ve found these hints helpful!

  2. What great advice. When I delivered presentations, I used to write the BREATH inbetween lines. And, I love the Starborn Review and your new blog face. It is perfect for you and what you are doing.

    1. Thanks, Pat — and what a great idea to write BREATH right into your presentation. Thanks for that tip! It’s sort of like the little mark my voice teacher used to put on my music to indicate when to take a breath (I feel a blog post coming on…)

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