We’ve all seen it!
The performer ends their dance or performance set…and then – NOTHING. They leave the stage with ZERO fanfare. The energy drops and the audience is left feeling that vacuum, and maybe they are also a little confused. The audience feels this void because even though the dancer was great and brought the energy in the midst of their performance, they ended with a low vibe like an unpleasant aftertaste. Who wants this?
So, how do you end on a high note, add professional polish, and leave the audience feeling excited until the very end – the moment you are actually off stage? EXIT MUSIC!
Exit music is a very important tool that is often an overlooked piece of a great performance. Not only does it provide something entertaining for your audience to listen to, it provides the dancer something more interesting than silence to whisk themselves off stage. Exit music also keeps the energy up for both the performer and the audience, making it much more easy to literally end on a high note.
So, how does one add exit music to the end of their performance?
Selecting the Right Exit Music
Keep in mind the purpose of exit music is to keep the energy up. Select music that feels “high energy,” dramatic, exciting, perhaps with a fast or pulsing beat. Do consider as well, that your choice is congruent in “tone” or “style” of the rest of your performance. For example, if you are dancing to a classic Egyptian song, perhaps choosing a section of a fun Sha’abi remake of the same song, rather than Dabke music.
Step 1: Select a 30-second section (longer, if it will take a while to get off stage) of:
- A dramatic intro to a song in your performance set
- A club/techno version of a song used in your performance set
- A popular, current song that the audience may like
- A classic, upbeat song that the audience will recognize
- If the audience is American, you can use an Arabic-remake of an American classic.
Next, you will need to somehow put the exit music you have selected with the rest of your music.
Putting It All Together
Step 2: There are two ways you can do this, a simple way and a more complex one.
Method 1: Simply add the track/song to what you’ve already got.
Say you have 3 tracks of performance music: an opening piece, a small taqsim, and a drum solo and you’ve selected the intro section of a classic tune for your exit music. You can simply have it as your 4th track, behind your current music, and voila – Exit Music! The sound person can then just fade your music out (or just stop your music) after you have left the stage. If you are dancing at a restaurant, you can also just let it play through, so the audience can enjoy the whole song.
Method 2: Creating a new, single track that includes your exit music using music editing software.
This is where having a little music editing experience goes a long way. If you have editing experience, great, if you don’t, it would serve you well to learn how to do a few simple music editing tasks, because if you dance often and like to change your music, you could potentially use those skills a lot. You could also hire a professional or get a geeky friend to do it for you.
But what needs to be done is to place your music and the section of exit music you wish to use into one track (one file). This method is DJ/music-person-proof. Because everything is on one track, it’s much harder to lose or mix-up songs in your set.
Unfortunately, in this article, I won’t go into detail about how to use a music editor, like Audacity (which is what I use, to edit my music). The scope of this article is only to let you know you can and should do this and allow you to educate yourself on that process. There are numerous YouTube tutorials available to help show you what to do.
When I am putting all my songs into one track for a dance community show like “Jewels of Arabia”, after the last song, I like to leave a few seconds of silence to allow the audience to clap and cheer, and then I’ll quickly fade in my exit music, let that play for about 20 seconds, so I can get off stage. I’ll then quickly fade out the exit music. If the section of music I have chosen is the exciting intro or ending of another piece of music (or even something from earlier in my set), I will let the song’s “intro” or “big finish” be my exit music. This is, generally, how I like to do it, but you are free to play with how you like to end your performance.
Whatever You Prefer, End on a High Note!
Bonus Tip: Make sure that your music, including the exit music, does not go over any music length limits for the dance shows you’re performing in. Having your music cut off looks even more unprofessional than not using exit music. LOL!