Monday, November 12, 2012
Do these pictures look familiar to you?
Because it seems like every time I dance, I do so the exact same way, lol. I obviously have favored arm positions and poses.
Anyway, Saturday night went GREAT. My solo was very early on in the program, and I really liked it's placement. Our guest dancer danced, Claire danced, and then I was up. I felt honored to be included in such a group. :)
Our venue was a church hall this year, and it wasn't very large, so it got crowded quickly. I don't like to start out on the stage, so I waited in the next room until my music started, and then was faced with discreetly elbowing people aside ("excuse me, pardon me") to get out to the stage area. Which put my opening shimmy section right when I was still smack in the middle of transversing the table area. Happily, improvisation is on my side, so I just shoulder shimmied and kept walking out.
And even though I was still nervous, this is the *least* nervous I've ever been when I've danced solo. I actually felt *excited* to be doing what I love, and to be lucky enough to have an audience to share that with. That's the first time I've ever felt that way about dancing before, ever.
It was good. I hit all my accents, including a (for me) very dramatic pause in the middle. I watched Secrets of the Stage: Volume 1, a performance course for belly dancers recently. One of the featured dancers mentioned how it's a beginners mistake to think that you need to be "busy" all the time when you're performing. My favorite quote was:
"When you're on stage and the audience is staring at you expectantly, waiting for you to do something, and you choose to do nothing, that is a very bold choice."
Yes, indeed it is a bold choice! I just loved that. But you know, she's right, it makes your dance more interesting, and your audience more engaged, to pause at appropriate points in the music.
"Oh. What's she going to do next?!"
Obviously, you're not standing there nonchalantly. You're in a strong dancers pose, confidence oozing from your sparkly costume. :) And when you move again, suddenly everybody is very interested in what you're about to do. There was a very dramatic beat in my music following a drum crescendo, so I flung my hair forward and dropped down to a bent position toward the floor. I waited until the next strong beat (maybe 4-5 seconds) before flinging my hair back and shoulder rolling up. Believe me, that's a LONG 4-5 seconds when you know everybody is staring at you wondering if you're going to move again or if you've lost your will to dance. :) And when I came up, all eyes were firmly on me. :) I loved it!
This was also the first time, after I finished a solo, that I didn't feel really needy, hoping that people gave me compliments. I knew that I did my best, and that it went great. That's a damn good feeling. Am I the next Fifi Abdou? Good God, no. :) But for the girl voted shyest in her senior class, I've come a long way, baby. I'm improving every time that I perform, and that's all I could ever hope for.
Our group numbers went very well too. I'm happy to report that my gold costume stayed on my body. :)
Mostly. :) Mine were fine, although I was paranoid. Other costume malfunctions did abound. But the nice thing about belly dance (in my experience) is the Belly Dance Sisterhood that surrounds you like a silk veil. Come off stage panic stricken that your underwear was showing? A group surrounds you to reassure you that everything was in place and that you looked beautiful. Struggle with your sword? A quick conversation circle gathers to relate other sympathetic sword stories (mine included in this one :)) and assure you that you covered up the sword tumblings like a pro. A random woman you've never seen before enters your dressing room full of only partially clothed belly dancers? Everyone greets her warmly and asks if she needs help putting on her costume or needs any pins.
I left that night feeling very happy and content. I'm a very lucky belly dancer.