Tribal Bellydance in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

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1 September 2013 – Performance ready.

After the fairy fun of the Oakworth Fairy Fest and an afternoon entertaining a Care Home in Haworth  (both of which I missed sadly) we had another great day of informal performances and workshop at the Orangery in Wakefield. Both events prove that the various groups can come together and perform (and have a good time) with class dances and improvising – and lots of costume glam to engage an audience. I feel very proud of you all; especially from the warm reports I have had from the Lancashire girls who were given a great welcome.

Once a group starts performing, the issue of who is ‘good enough’ inevitably raises its head. Tribal bellydance should be an inclusive dance style. For work in class and at beginner-friendly hafla performances, the rule (such as it is) is for everyone to be involved. Other dancers know and understand when beginners in a group are finding it difficult to keep up or don’t have the full costume – and make allowances. It is all just for fun and, even if a dance goes horribly wrong, we can walk away with a laugh.

However once we have a public audience things do change. The general public expects to see a more professional performance with confident, competent dancers and appropriate costuming. The stress of a public even has an impact on other dancers (even experienced ones) making everyone less tolerant of mistakes and muddle. We have to find a way of keeping up our standards, while keeping up our aim of being inclusive.

This is massively difficult to manage in a tactful way, especially in class where there is not much privacy. Some folk have a natural shyness such that, even if they are really good and capable, they want to hide at the back of class and will never put themselves forward to perform. My personal rule on this is simple - I will never make someone to dance if they genuinely don’t want to do it. However, if I think you are ready to perform, I may engage in a bit of gentle one-to-one encouragement.

On the other hand there are some who, in truth, need a lot of work before they are really ready to dance for a public audience, but have such confidence in their own ability that they assume they are entitled to join in. If I suggest that an event is not really suitable for you, please don’t be offended – there will be other events at some future date and you will get better. I will always try to find a way to have a private chat about what you need to do to get better.