Making Introductions: Etiquette Guidelines for Performers and Emcees

I cover the professional relationships between performers and hosts in my most recent article in Pin Curl Magazine!

Kate Valentine (Miss Astrid): "I appreciate it when dancers keep in mind that the emcee is a performer too. I often need physical and mental space backstage before I go on & for the duration of the show. Personally, I love a performer that sees the whole picture and thus is a pro and a team player. Your job is so much more than your 3 minutes on stage. My biggest pet peeve is when someone brings their diet/exercise regimine/body issues/gluten intolerance into the backstage space. Self loathing talk is contagious among women!"

World Famous BOB: "My few tips are: please don’t ask an mc to do a “comedy bit” with you as part of your act the night of. Good mc’s already have material and are not obligated to be in your act. Do- provide your tag line or anything special that can help the mc introduce you properly- this is especially helpful if the host doesn’t already know you that well. Example; “Recently performed in the New York Burlesque Festival”, or any awards you may have won. These all make for a sparkling intro. Please do not ask a host to say your website, the audience is not taking notes and if they are impressed with you they can find you online as long as they know your name. Finally, if you are new to Burlesque and people have a hard time pronouncing your stage name often, change it, you will do better to have people say it properly than to have something really witty that every host gets wrong. Your stage name is a concept and character but it is also a marketing tool- make it yours but make it not too difficult."

Jonny Porkpie: "Remember that everyone – performers, host, kittens, producer, tech crew – is, from the moment they arrive at the venue (perhaps even from the moment they agree to do the show), part of a team. The show is a collaboration, even if you’ve never met some of your partners before. One of the glories of Burlesque: it is an art form which celebrates the talent and vision of the individual, but that can never be at the expense of the whole show — That isn’t fair to the people who have paid to see you. The host is your point person, the one on the front lines, the ambassador between production and audience. As such, their responsibility is to serve the audience first, then the needs of the show and the needs of the performers, and his or her own material last. It’s great to provide a host with 2-3 pieces of information with which they can pad out your intro, but don’t be insulted if they don’t end up using it. A host must keep the show flowing, and while it’s helpful to have extra material available, saying these things about every single performer can interrupt the rhythm of the night, making it seem a series of unrelated events instead of a unified production. That being said, there’s no excuse for getting a performer’s name wrong. If a host does that, feel free to point it out (gently, of course, we’re all in this together) – any good host will be apologetic and correct the error at the next appropriate opportunity."

Get more food for thought from the entire article at:

Pin Curl Magazine


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