Why some belly dancers are boring: 3 performance habits to make you shine TODAY!
Despite an explosion of belly dance styles and genres, few dancers move us to joy—or tears, or anything else. It’s like they’re all stamped from the same cookie cutter of perfect form—but somebody forgot to add that cup of soul that makes a dancer truly special.
Here are three ways for you to shine right now.
1. Interact with your audience. In theatre, there is what is known as the 4th wall, which separates the performer from the audience. Oriental dance doesn’t have this wall. This means the audience is part of your show. You can talk to them, look at them, and generally evoke a joyous, intimate atmosphere—even when you can’t see them due to theatre lights or studio filming with no live audience (in this case, the camera becomes your audience, and you may look directly into it). Having fun showcases your personality, takes the pressure off, and makes the show more enjoyable (and memorable) for the audience.
2. Use slow motion and stillness. Most of us are so worried about boring the audience that we throw in every move we can think of. It’s exhausting for us and the audience. This dance is all about joy and ease. So take your time. Enjoy your moves. Repeat them. Do them very, very slowly, while smiling wickedly—or expressing the sadness of a time gone by. Or whatever the music suggests to you. Dance a whole song with only 3 moves and explore the brilliance of our dance’s infinite variations.
3. Use your eyes. Gaze direction is great way to express emotion to your audience. We have three gaze levels—eyes lowered, centered, and raised. Each of these levels is amplified by sliding the eyes left or right. Each eye position changes depending on the head position. Each gives a profoundly different feeling, both to the performer and the audience.
Any one of these practices will give a whole new dimension to your dance. Experiment! Try one, two, or all three at once. And while you are at it, breathe in time with the music. Exhale on the 1. That will help you feel more relaxed, confident, an in the moment.
Want more? Check out the Kickstarter for Alia’s new book, Midnight at the Crossroads: Has belly dance sold its soul? http://BellyDanceSoul.com
About guest blogger Alia: An Arab-American and Vermont Juried Artist with four decades of intensive exploration, Alia champions creativity and self-expression grounded in traditional Oriental dance values. Alia believes that each of us is filled with our own unique beauty and magic, treasure waiting to be found.
I hope you enjoyed this guest blog by Alia. Do you have some suggestions that you would like to add to this topic? Great! I would love to hear more... just share your thought(s) in the comment box below. See you there :)