Stage presence. One of the most important things when it comes to battling. It’s how you portray yourself to your opponent and to the crowd. It gives you as the battler, a lot of confidence to work with but does it really matter? It definitely shows in a battle but does it really help you win? Does showing a lot of expression in your battle with movement really swing the vote in your favour?
I do have to admit first, I don’t have much experience battling on stage so instead, I consulted a few people that I know a thing or two about battling on stage. In advance, I would like to thank the following people for their input and help in making this blog post.
- 2016 Canadian Champ and YouTuber, HeAt
- 2018 GBBB Champ, 2017 Australian Champ and YouTuber, Codfish
- 2017 Beatbox Legends Champ and YouTuber, TylaDubya
SETTING A DEFINITION:
First off, it’s important that we start with understanding what stage presence exactly is. After talking to all of the aforementioned guys and seeing their different views on what stage presence is, we can finally come to a conclusion and a definition.
Stage presence is a environment/atmosphere that you set for your audience and the battle. It displays a level of confidence and is shown through movement, crowd control and the connection made between your opponent, the audience and yourself which allows you to gain the attention of the audience/viewer.
WHAT STAGE PRESENCE DOES FOR US:
I would first like to quote something that Codfish said which is;
I would argue that stage presence is the most important factor in getting the judges votes. Good stage presence will grant you undivided attention and respect from the crowd.
It’s the main attention grabber. It sets you up for the rest of the battle and gives you that extra edge. Having a strong stage presence will allow you to;
- Gain crowd control.
- Gain the respect of the viewer.
- Give you a sense of adrenaline to keep battling.
Codfish, in particular, said that he thrives off of the energy of the crowd. When you battle, you need to keep a connection between the crowd, the opponent and yourself because it builds up that tension and sways the momentum your way. Judges love to see that.
HeAt brought up the point of stage presence making your battle more immersive.
I would say. Being able to manipulate the stage in a way that makes your performance more immersive.
You can really set the tone of the battle through stage presence. There’s a reason where if you win the coin toss, you get to choose if you go first or second rather than only go first. If you choose to go first, you set the tone for your opponent and if you choose to go second, you can counter their tone with your own and make the performance even better. If you can truly feel something out of someone’s performance, then they have a strong stage presence and will most likely take the win.
PUTTING IT INTO PERSPECTIVE:
Let’s take a look at a battle where one beatboxer shows a lot of stage presence. This is Alem vs NaPoM at the 4th Beatboxing World Championships. Take a listen to Alem’s rounds in particular and pay attention to where he faces during his rounds.
He ends up facing the crowd a lot and also faces NaPoM a few times. He’s maintaining that connection as stated earlier between the crowd, the opponent (NaPoM) and himself. This is also the main reason Alem won this battle in my opinion. He was able to keep that connection between all three parts compared to NaPoM who also maintained that connection but it wasn’t as strong as to what Alem did.
So that was the little “case study” but now it’s time to actually answer the question. Does stage presence really matter?
Yes. Stage presence is a HUGE factor – it is also one of the categories in judging. If you get the audience excited with you, that can easily sway judges.
TylaDubya mentioned this to me. I didn’t really think of stage presence much as being any but a major category in judging. It’s not just a major category, it’s also a factor at play that affects the judges. Imagine the following situation; you’re judging a battle and your fellow judges are deadlocked 2-2 with you holding the final vote with no overtimes left to use. The discussion of stage presence gets brought up and your fellow judges start talking about it. Can stage presence be that one thing to swing the vote?
WHY WE GO FAR WITH STAGE PRESENCE:
There is a VERY big reason why beatboxers sometimes go far with their stage presence, judges don’t score battles. They only score eliminations and they go with their gut for battles so if the judges feel that you did a better job in a battle, they will vote for you or swing the vote over. It’s something you have to control it to the point where you show that it’s a battle but not too much to the point where you’re being unsportsmanlike and rude.
Stage presence is a huge thing that beatboxers focus on. It’s not something that you can just learn overnight. It takes a lot of time to understand and develop as the only way you can do so is to battle on stage.
In short, stage presence does matter than what is first seen. It’s not beatboxers being rude, it’s them being competitive because, at the end of the day, we’re all a family. The Beatbox Family.
I would like to send a HUGE thanks to the three gentlemen who took the time to help me write this post. The questions I asked were not easy to answer and I thank you all for that. Links to their social media will be below. Other than that, thanks for reading