#20

Most Common Belly Dance Questions

Q. When should a dancer start performing?

A. This is an individual thing and dancers have all sorts of stories about their first performance.

Remember, you do not have to perform to enjoy belly dancing. I choose not to perform, but I am close to dancers who have taken the plunge. It really is a wonderous thing to observe. You, most likely, will remember your first dance performance more than any other dance in your lifetime. So, choosing the occasion for this great rite of passage is a beautiful thing.

When a dancer has studied the basics of body isolations, combinations of fast hips, slow hips, arms and hands, veil work, belly rolls, zill playing, floor work and floor design, she may feel she is ready to do a whole belly dance routine by herself. Putting it all together in a dance will be a huge educational experience for the dancer. It will catapult a belly dancer in regards to her growth and awareness.

Ideally, first experiences should be in front of an audience that is small and supportive, and one that understands the challenges of a first-time dancer. In other words, a classroom recital or a party where your dancing sisters come to support you would be ideal. The experience will be much more comfortable than if you dance in front of Joe Q public, which may get the impression your amateur, first-time belly dance is suppose to be a professional display. This is misleading and does not help the image of belly dance, an art we all adore. As belly dancers, we want to be taken seriously, and a public show may not be appropriate for a student dancer just beginning her performance life.

Okay, now that you have had a few experiences under your hip belt, you want more. I hope you make sure you video tape some of your dances so you can see what needs improvement. Then ask yourself and your friends and instructor: How am I doing? Then, get some coaching.

Once you feel self-confident, let the marketplace decide if you are a professional or not. You can volunteer to dance at belly dance festivals and haflas. You can do charity events at senior centers, hospitals, and birthday parties for friends. As you feel more confident, your opportunities will grow.