Getting ready to dance… students and professionals all put their belt on the same way.

Well, sort of – I was trying to come up with a dance related metaphor  for ” putting your pants on one leg at a a time”, and that was the best I could come up with in 10 seconds of thinking…
Onward we go.
In our area, we have an assortment of opportunities available to us to perform, depending on your level, interest in generating dance opportunities < pros- advertising your availability to restaurants and for private parties; students, nagging your teachers to give you a chance to dance >.


While there are better pics of Halyma, this shows a bit of the veil and skirt from Shibori Borealis...

And there are some standards that help making the transformation from your everyday gorgeous self ….

to your super powered dancer self.

As we are approaching my own Big Bi-Annual OCCP < Ottawa Community Class Party >, I spent the end of my final rehearsal time with one of my student groups listing a pile of things to think about as they prepare to dance that night.
And I thought some of you might find it helpful, interesting, and can add your own little tidbits in the comments, especially to help the new and up and coming dancers have more information! HAS A GREAT ARTICLE TOO -SO CHECK IT OUT!!

These are not in any particular order, just how they pop into my head, so prioritize based on your own process!
Know your music.Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.07.29 AM
Do I need to say more? Unless you are improvising to a live band you have never met before, in which case, just dance!!
Know your routine with your eyes closed.
Dancing a choreographed piece with other students? Know your routine with your eyes closed < literally, yes, I mean it>,  while still being prepared to adjust if everyone else suddenly forgets and you are the only one “doing it right”.
Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.08.54 AMPractice Your Smile.
Unless your piece calls for a different facial expression, in which case, you should practice that.  It’s muscle memory once you don’t have to think about it, and that will make those pics of your look great.
Stand up straight, from the ribcage, and keep your butt tucked under to both protect your lower back and keep it from looking like you are doing some sort of Booty dance – unless you are doing it ironically, of course!  AND LOOK UP!!!
On stage, the lights are bright – your face will fade into a neutral blob unless you define your lips and eyes. Here’s my cheesy video for applying make-up:
IMG_2098Nails and feet
You don’t have to go out and get an expensive mani-pedi, but take a moment to make sure your nails are neat and even, add polish if you like, but well groomed is the key. And shoes or not is also your choice, but it’s good to have a pair with you, just in case the space you are dancing in requires shoes, or is simply safer for you with shoes.
YES. There are some costumes that make it difficult, but Bellydance has enough of a PR issue without the audience being distracted by the accidental viewing of more than they expected. And yes, I’ve heard that “in the old days” dancers didn’t wear underwear, so I’ll add that this is my OPINION, with which you can do what you like… but think about it…
Cover-up/Galabeya/robeScreen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.35.03 AM
Wear one for wandering around the audience. Yes, your veil can work in a pinch, but if you have a loose dress/ long tunic/ something comfy and pretty, save the viewing of your actual costume for when you are on stage. It also allows you to eat and drink – so that you don’t faint – without risking getting stuff on your costumes.
Your choice, but remember that MANY people have allergies/ sensitivities/ coughing fits around freshly sprayed hairspray, so TAKE IT OUTSIDE to a separate area where you can spray and return to the dressing area without overwhelming your colleagues.
Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.26.51 AMPERFUME -NO.
Just no. It’s really not needed in this day and age of hygiene, and think about it – if you are on stage, no one is going to smell you anyway; and if you are dancing in a restaurant, shouldn’t the patrons be enjoying the smell of good food and drink? And that goes for essential oils, incense, and any other heavy scents – again we have society that has a number of people with sensitivities or should I say “Scentsitivities”, some of whom will actually become nauseated or get migraines from perfumes. Please be kind and just don’t. < lecture ends here >
STUFF– I treat this like I treat camping:

  • Pack light;
  • Keep your site clean
  • Make it better than how you found it;
  • Take home everything your brought with you
  • Recycle and clean up your garbage

Arrive on time or a little early
You may not get the chance to walk through your routine, but at least if you can check out the space you will be dancing in/on, you can take a few moments to prepare any modifications you might need to.  We’ve danced in shopping malls, in parks on rickety stages, in parks on uneven grass, and in theatres where it’s simply glorious, and every situation has required a quick run through with the group to establish entrances, exits, placements on stage etc.
Have you music in multiple formats

Click here for great Cd Art
Click here for great Cd Art

These days, in  my opinion, cd’s should be gone the way of cassette tapes < which is what I started with!> but many venues are still using cd players for their sound system. So, while I always inquire in advance, I usually bring my music on my iPod  < not my phone, that risks a disturbance in the force while dancing>, a USB stick and in rare cases, if absolutely required, cd. Most modern DJs have their laptop in place and can take your music right off a USB stick – but having it in more than one playable format is good.
What else do you do to prepare for a show?
Leave me some comments and if you have questions, pop them in the comments as well!

4 thoughts on “Getting ready to dance… students and professionals all put their belt on the same way.

  1. PINS… a baggy of safety pins. The dancers best friend. A well placed safety pin can save you a world of embarrassment. Ask any dancers who has had a costume malfunction like the ‘bra hook mishap’ or the sliding off belt or hip scarf or skirt elastic snapping. If everything is pinned together these mishaps can go unnoticed by all but the dancer.

  2. I second the pins suggestion (I keep a variety of sizes from those tiny little ones up to big kilt pins that could keep a beaded belt together in a pinch), and also keep a little travel sewing kit in with my dance bag too, just in case.

  3. Oh, and a small mirror… a hand mirror big enough to see your entire face. The big parties (OCCP, etc.) will have a crowd at the shared mirrors. Putting on makeup requires a steady hand so getting your elbow knocked can cause an upsetting mess. You can find a less crowded space if you have a hand mirror. And, some restaurants have challenging situations for ‘dressing rooms’ that may not provide a mirror.
    Be prepared for anything 🙂 I’ve performed at a restaurant where I had to use the men’s room because it was “less busy” and I had to do all my makeup and hair touchups in the space between the washrooms and kitchen door. Fun :-/

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