Bellydance Tips & Tricks!

There are generally two types of live shows:

  • Stage performances – dance is choreographed.
  • Interactive – freestyle dancing with audience interaction.

Belly dance is a unique style of dance because it is social – it allows you to dance close to the audience. As a dancer you can weave your way between tables and invite people to get up and dance with you. You can show off your moves and even ‘teach’ some to the audience so they can enjoy dancing with you.

Every type of dance performance is made up of three main components:

 

Dancer

  1. Expression - Show confidence, happiness and excitement on your face, NOT sadness, fear or shock that you’ve made a mistake.
    This is the most important component of a live performance. An attractive and inviting expression on the dancer’s face will affect and reflect on the mood of the audience.
    Remember, the audience is there to be entertained by you and to enjoy your dancing. They don’t want to be disappointed by a bored dancer.
    If you’ve made a mistake, don’t let it show on your face or in your body language. Most of the time the audience won’t even notice, especially if you’re freestyling. Laugh it off and they will laugh with you.
    Enjoy yourself. If the dancer does not enjoy her own dance, how can she expect the audience to enjoy watching it?
  2. Eye contact - Look at the audience, not the floor.
    The dancer must look at the audience and acknowledge them – you are dancing for them after all. Don’t look at the floor or up into the sky.
    If you are doing an interactive show, go up to the audience member, look them in the eye, and show off your moves.
    Go as close as you feel comfortable but not too close – belly dance is sensual and seductive, not sleazy!
    If the audience member is not giving you the reaction you want, just smile and move on to the next one.
  3. Variety - Don’t repeat the same movements over and over again.
    Repeating the same movement over and over again will bore the audience, and yourself. Put many different movements into your dance so that you allow the audience to be constantly surprised and entertained by your skills.
    Even if you have a sequence that combines different movements, don’t repeat the same sequence again and again. By the fifth time you do a hip drop-shimmy-undulation combination, the audience will have noticed and will be wondering if you know how to do anything else.
    Don’t be boring! Belly dance is exciting and celebratory, which is why the audience is there to watch you dance.
  4. Attention - Keep the audience’s attention and make sure everyone can see you.
    Remember, as soon as you are on the stage or out among the audience, people are watching you all the time. Dance for the audience – grab their attention and insist that it stays on you. Don’t dance internally and just for yourself; you are not the only person in the room!
    Just because you are not facing someone doesn’t mean they can’t see you. Keep in mind that you are being watched from every angle, especially if you are dancing interactively. You are performing on a 360o stage.

 

Music

  1. Knowledge - Listen to Middle Eastern and belly dance music. Listen to the different types of Middle Eastern and belly dance music that’s out there:
    • Arabic
    • Turkish
    • Persian
    • African

    Get familiar with the different types of music. This will help you figure out what kind of music you like best, and build your repertoire of songs.

  2. Choice - Choose the right kind of song to set the right mood.
    Always choose happy beats, unless of course you are doing a stage performance with a specific theme.
    For interactive shows, slow love songs, especially sad ones, are not good. Here, the audience wants happy social dancing, not a theatrical show.
  3. Familiarity - Know the music you’ve chosen and how to dance to it.
    There are always certain parts or beats in a song that fit certain movements (shimmy or hip drops, for example). Know the song so that you can use movements that match the beats. This way you won’t look out of sync with the music and the audience will be impressed.
    In interactive shows, an advantage of knowing the song is that you will know when it ends. You won’t be surprised and you’ll be able to build up to a great finish.
  4. Space - Match your music to the space you are dancing in.
    Know how long your songs are. In interactive dancing, if the space you are dancing in is small you may need to dance to only one song to cover the whole space. If the space is very big, you may need to dance three songs to cover the whole space until everyone has seen you.

 

Space

  1. Utilisation - Use all the space.
    Move around and use all the space you have.
    On a stage, don’t stay in the middle. Come to the front and acknowledge the audience, move to the left and right of the stage so that your dance doesn’t become static.
    In an interactive show, try to dance for every person there. Move and dance in between tables and people, and cover the whole space so that everyone has a chance to see you.
  2. Planning - Know where to enter and exit.
    Study your space and plan where the best place will be to make your entrance, and where you would like to be when you finish your dance. This works for both stage and interactive.
  3. Finishing - You can end your dance anywhere in the space.
    In an interactive show, don’t panic if the song is finished and you are in the middle of the space surrounded by people and tables. In this kind of show you can finish anywhere as long as it is where people can see you. Remember to smile and acknowledge the audience when you finish!

 

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