Last week I danced at a great multicultural wedding fair in a beautiful new costume. The show inspired me to write about all the unexpected things that can happen, which are often hilarious and frustrating at the same time.
When I arrived at the location the staff lead me to the enormous dressing room, which was full of very nervous Moroccan and Indian models, getting dressed for the catwalk, which would also be my stage later that evening. It was quite a challenge to perform on that catwalk with the audience sitting only left and right, but not in front of me.
I always tell my students to practice their dancing centered towards every corner of the room, with and without mirror, if possible on different types of floors. I tell them to imagine the audience sitting at every possible side, or even all around. For example: Sometimes the audience is sitting in front of you and the wedding couple at your back. You have to practice this so you will know how to deal with this in your performance.
There are also so many unexpected things that disturb your performance. CD’s can bounce, assistants that turn off your CD in the middle of your act, DJ’s that start scratching your drumsolo and much more. What to do? You need to remember that we are entertaining our audience. If our audience has a good time, we are doing our job right. In general people love it when things go wrong. It’s entertaining and much fun and if you respond to this with your act (just make a little joke and continue your act), everything will be just fine and for the audience it might even be better because they also laughed!
Annoying and drunk male guests are the worst unexpected thing to deal with. The funny uncle starts to strip during your show or someone behind your back is having his moment of fame, in the worst case someone can get fysical. Here is my little secret: You have to be the mistress at this point and be strong but stay elegant. Grab the guy’s wrist so firm that it hurts. Smile friendly while you are doing it and no one will notice. You’re still entertaining all the other guests of course. Bring him to a chair and when he sits, do a little dance for him and get back to your stage. If you really feel intimidated you should stop your show immediate, but this never happened to me to be honest.
My two worst unexpected experiences: Once I planned to give a nice performance but when the music started everybody rused to the dance floor “Yeeeeh WE are going to bellydance!” When my show was finished no one noticed my ‘end pose’ and quietly I left, what was left of the stage. But the very very worst thing was the moment that my bra-string broke in the middle of my show. Suddenly my clients had a striptease for the price of a bellydancer, how lucky they were! I had to give a second show later that evening, for the same audience, awkward!
You will learn how the handle the unexpected, anywise. I just laugh about it and consider every new situation a challenge and a lesson.
This video is made at the catwalk performance: