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Tips for your first Bellydance performance

As I told you in my previous post my Introduction to Bellydance class will perform at the LABA Showcase March 1st. These dancers have been bellydancing for just 8 weeks and it will be their first performance ever! This post is for them, for my other students who want to perform and for anybody who are ready to showcase their talent, but need just a few tips to feel ready!

We perform everyday and everywhere. We go to work and perform there (do our job). We get into our cars and perform our driving. We cook dinner at home and perform in front of our families with a meal. To bellydance in front of the audience is one of many other performances we do all the time. So don’t let it scare you! Just be ready for your show and enjoy every second of it. You will be surprised how fast it will be over and once it’s over you know one thing right away – you are addicted to it now and can’t wait for your next show!

Club Bellydance LA 2013

Here are some tips for your performance! What to do days before, the day of the show and of course, on stage.

Days or weeks before your show.

1. Practice.
Practicing – is not necessarily standing in front of the mirror and repeating the steps and combinations. Don’t get me wrong, you DO need to do it. But not ONLY that.
Practicing – is listening to the music of your routine. Just listen to it as many times as you can, find accents, recognize different instruments. Make yourself so familiar with the song, that you know every bit of it!
Watch inspiring youtube videos. Watch your favorite dancers walking on and off stage, watch their grace. Get inspired by their energy or moves.
Dance your routine in you head. It doesn’t matter if it’s a choreography or you plan to improvise. Listen to your music and dance it in your mind.

2. Prepare your look.
Everybody know we need a different hair and makeup when we perform. But it’s wrong to think you will be okay the day of the show. Practice your stage look before! There are many youtube tutorials that teach you how to apply stage makeup. Try to experiment with your makeup couple of times before you know what you like. Just surprise your family and friends with everyday-new-look a week before your show! šŸ™‚ I do that, too. I start practicing my makeup ahead of time by applying variations of it days before.
Get your costume ready. Not it your mind. Try your costume on. Dance in it. See if feels comfortable and if it looks good on you. Think if you want to dance barefoot or have your shoes on. Practice in your shoes! Don’t wear your dance shoes for the first time on the day of the show!
Trust me, the last thing you want to worry about during your show is your costume. Don’t count on putting safety pins all over your body. It’s not safe šŸ™‚

3. Go through your performance day in your mind so you know you are ready for anything!
This is what I do before every important day or show! Right before I go to sleep I imagine my next day in a very small details. I imagine everything – from when and how I’m going to wake up to what I put in my purse before I leave my house.
Go through the moment you arrive the venue until the moment you are done with your show. Here is an example of what I usually have in my mind: “My show is at 7pm, I need to arrive at 6:30pm. I need to get to the venue and park my car. Parking! I need extra 10 minutes for it, so I’ll plan I need to arrive at 6:20pm. I need to leave half an hour before. Traffic! I have to check the traffic, if there is one, I have to leave 45 minutes before. I arrive to the venue. I’m going to my dressing room. First thing I’ll do – find my spot and put my costumes out of my suitcase…” And so on. It seems silly but it helps to lower the level of your stress, because you are READY for everything and nothing will make you panic.


Before you go on stage.

1. Relax.
Stop practicing šŸ™‚ You can still listen to your music and even go over some steps, but don’t make it a priority. You’ve practiced enough. You are ready. Don’t overkill yourself before your show.
Take a nice bath. Do your nails (beautiful nails are important!). Do your hair. Do your makeup.
Wear something comfortable and nice. Wear comfortable shoes, you don’t want to make your feet tired before you even got on stage! Make it a fun and special day for yourself!

2. Don’t be late.
Never. Ever. Know the difference between your call time and show time. Know when you need to be ready. If you are performing with a group, know when is (if there is) your tech rehearsal or bow rehearsal.
Being in time to everywhere you need to be, will make your day easier and less stressful. That means when you get to dance, you are not tired after running around. Don’t be late. Neither because of traffic or parking, nor because of your makeup or inattention. Just don’t be late.

3. Check in with yourself.
Give yourself some time to check in. Do I have my costume ready? Do I have everything on? Do I know where is the entrance and exit of the stage? Do I know who dances before me? What is happening after I’m done?
Check in with your routine. Go over some steps in your mind.
The point is don’t get out of your car, put your costume on and then talk with other dancers up until you need to dance. Give yourself some time to get mentally ready for what is going to happen.
Don’t spend all your time on taking backstage pictures, uploading them to Facebook or Instagram. Don’t talk before your performance. Just give yourself a minute or two to check in.

4. Remember your intentions.
Every time before I step on the stage, I remember my intentions: why do I do that? I do that, because bellydance – is the love of my life and I want to share it with everybody in the Universe! I could have had a bad day, but I always remind myself – there is an audience that came to see me and my job is to deliver. To dance for them.
I can’t stress about my look now or the camera not being ready to record my show. It’s not about it. A moment before your showtime stop and think – what brought you here today? What IS important in YOUR performance?
Sometimes, when I’m very nervous and the crowd doesn’t look very friendly, I imagine my mother sitting in the audience and I know that I will dance for her. She is always happy to see me dancing. And I’m always happy to dance for her. That helps me to find balance. Find what helps you.

5. Warm up!!!
Yes, exactly this thing you try to be late for during your class šŸ™‚ It is so important to prepare not only your mind, but also your body. Even if it’s two-three stretches or a breathing exercise. Warm up.

BDUC 2010

ON stage, your show time!

1. Be present and aware.
Here it is! Here is your time to dance! There is no time for doing the routine one more time or getting stressed because your fake lashes don’l look the way you wanted them to. Or your boyfriend is stuck in traffic and didn’t make it to your show. Or the music is to low. Or what not! The only thing you need to do now is to be present in the moment. Enjoy your showtime! Drink every sip of it. Look at your audience. Have fun. Dance! Nothing else matters.
Be aware of your dance partners. Of your stage. Be aware there might be a kid running to the stage while you perform your cane routine! Just don’t check out and don’t think about anything else, but your dance!

2. Not only your routine matters, but the whole presentation.
Don’t talk during your performance. Don’t talk right before or after behind the curtains.
Don’t run away at the end of your routine! Let your audience applause for you. Let them take this last picture! Pose just for a second longer
Walk off the stage gracefully. Your exiting the stage time is part of your performance. Don’t ruin it. This is the last thing the audience sees about you. Let them remember you right!

3. Be confident. You are in control!
Only YOU know what your routine looks like. Nobody else does. So even if you make a mistake, don’t give it away. Only your face expression can show the audience something went wrong. Nothing else! So stay positive and happy no matter what. Everybody is on the left foot and I’m on the right? Instead of an “oops” face, make it “everything goes according to plan” face! šŸ™‚
If you need to have an “oops” face – it’s ok, too! Just make it theatrical and be fun or even funny about it. Who knows? Maybe there is a part of your routine where you act confused? šŸ™‚

If there is anything you really need to know about your first performance – is to stay positive. Performance time should be a fun experience. There will always be people who are better than you. It doesn’t matter. And conversely, there will always be those who are less than you. Your performance is not about it. It’s about your love for dance and sharing your experience with the audience. And the audience will always love you, if you stay positive and fun.
My teacher used to tell me: technique of the dance – is like your clothes. It’s very important simply because you won’t go anywhere naked, right? But do you judge or love your friends only because of their clothes? No. You love them because of who they are. Your soul and your style – this is what important!


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