I was thinking of something useful to write. So i thought id cover this topic. What audience see is the show itself, and they never get to know what occurs before a show, behind a show, or the mentality of the dancer. I had a very bad cold and fever during this performance, i was not able to rehearse as much as i would have wanted to, nor did i want to pick up an old routine that ive done for a previous performance. I always believe in doing something fresh. Not only is it refreshing to watch a dancer perform for a new song, its also exciting and thrilling for me to do something new. I find it very difficult and boring to follow routine. I tend to lose interest. Sometimes i believe in letting my body decide what to do.
When I initially started doing shows, i would plan on a song, practice, and stick to it. During a performance, my mind will be concentrating on a strict choreography. I am a right brainer, and ive issues with following precise routines. I mentioned in one of my previous entries where Michael Jackson mentioned that you can’t think while you dance. He said that one has to become the music, the cello, the violin, the drum….
I used to think while i dance, and many beginner dancers do as well. This is what my mind thinks…
“Why aren’t the audience smiling? Am i doing a bad job?”
‘Shikes i screwed it up”
“I should try to do something exciting”
“I don’t think they noticed that trick”
“Is my bra going to drop off….i have this feelin…”
“Ah crap, that trick didnt work, the veil got stuck on my costume….the cane fell off from my head!”
This are stuff that went through my head. When you have a million thoughts going through your head, and you are trying to concentrate on the music, and entertain an audience, that is like asking for trouble. Sometimes, its best to let go. Forget the audience. Just think of yourself, enjoy what you do, and dance. If you think of it as work, its just work. Just enjoy every moment, try becoming all the instruments in that piece of music.
One has to understand, when you are called to perform, its not always a stage. Sometimes its the floor, sometimes its a platform, sometimes there is even no space at all. You might face children, waiters scurrying around. I had this experience. There was less than a meter distance between me and the first person in the audience. Coming from an asian society, the last thing i would want is to have my breasts or tummy on someone’s face. They might view it as disrespectful. Its always great to check and see your environment before a gig. But thats almost impossible for most dancers who have numerous shows to perform. The only thing i can say is, ADAPT. Nothing can really help you. Try to smile more at the ladies, if you feel you are invading someone’s personal space. The last thing you want, is the ladies thinking you are just there to seduce men. Or when you choose random people, pick more ladies. My top preference is ladies, or men who are probably more spontaneous, and i would only pick them, if a bunch of people are trying to push him over to come dance with me.
Ive worked with many deejays, usually i seldom have a problem. But they are some deejays from hell who think they know the show better than you. They might play the wrong song, or change your song halfway if they think its too boring, or they might not even play your song at all. Its always great if you could talk with them before hand and make it clear what you want. But sometimes, shit happens, and just go with the music the deejay gives you.
Its always great if u have some form of communication with them on the dancefloor. In this show, the last song was unplayable due to an error with the system. And when the Deejay cued to me, i went with what he wanted.
Your cane drops, Your veil gets stuck on your hair and you look like a retard, your costume got stuck onto your jewelry. Accidents happen, dont make it so obvious, change it into your act. I remember an incident when i was performing, and my bracelet got stuck, and hanged awkwardly from my hand. I took it off my hand, smiled and threw it at this guy who seemed “friendly” in a harmless way. He was very happy. And even tried wearing it.
I hardly experienced this in Singapore. Overseas, yes! Tipping in the bra and belt is a common thing overseas. And i am not used to it. And the last thing i want is to be molested. You cant really do much if the facility you are dancing at, expects you to be tipped in that way. But if you find someone awkward, just dont bother going even 100 metres near them. You know they are trouble. And if you don’t protect yourself, no one would. Tell them to tip in your strap, if its really a must. Not anywhere else!
Im writing alot of this out of my own experience. I hope its useful. Dancing is not viewed seriously as it was before. But it is very important, how a belly dancer chooses to showcase herself. We have enough dancers who look like they are having orgasms during their show. Sensual is good. Sexual not good. Everyone can have their style of dancing, just remember that you are representing a community. We are judged for what you do.