Bellydancing with Confidence
Having confidence is often times more important than being a skilled performer. We’ve all been there- you are in the audience, watching a group of bellydancers and your eye is continually drawn back to that one performer. What is it about her? They are all doing the same thing, dancing to the same song…but you just keep looking over to that one. The one. She makes it look easy, but she doesn’t look arrogant – more than anything, she is enjoying herself. And you are enjoying watching her! As a bellydancer, it’s what we all want. We want to be confident dancers, enjoying the moment. How do we do it?
This may seem like an obvious point, but it is entirely valid. Confidence has so much to do with knowing the material and executing the movements without thought. Having practiced to the point where you know the choreography like the back of your hand…it is at that point that where you can tap into your performing skills. If you aren’t thinking about what comes next, you will be much more in your dance moment (rather than in your head).
Know What Confidence Even Looks Like
From a physical standpoint, it’s carriage and posture. From head to toe: lift your chin. Draw your shoulders back and down (no hunching forward allowed, ever!) Raise your chest. Arms/hands are not stiff or floppy, but flowing and intentional. Abs are pulled back, engaged. Pelvis is neutral. Toes are always pointed (foot is not flexed…the audience shouldn’t see the bottom of your foot)! From a spiritual perspective, you personality flows through your face – it’s your comfort in being okay to completely give yourself to the audience, matching your expression to the feel of the song. Of course, a general rule is to smile and keep your gaze lifted…but think about the occasional wink. A little raise of the eyebrows, a quick head/hair toss, a wrist flick; all of these things will draw the eye your way. Next time you are performing, see if you can get your hands on a video of yourself so you can have a look and see where there is room incorporate some of these ideas.
Learn From Your Mistakes
We all make them. And, it’s likely that once you’ve made that mistake, you won’t make it again. Sometimes, it’s something you never even considered (like eating certain type of food before dancing is a horrible idea), or it could be something completely obvious (should’ve reinforced that bra strap with a safety pin…) Either way, know that in general the bellydance community (audience included) is very forgiving and supportive – they love you, they want you to succeed. In the moment, try to smile through it. Shake it off and come back strong to conclude your piece. Mistakes keep us humble and they help us grow. Embrace them, and try not to beat yourself up in the meantime.
Realize that the Audience Wants You to Succeed
They chose to be in their seats. They came because there’s nothing like bellydance entertainment- it’s glittery, exciting, and fun. YOU are glittery, exciting, and fun! Knowing this is a HUGE piece to your confidence while performing. You have practiced. Your hair and makeup is awesome. Your costume is fabulous. You are a beautiful woman dancing in a style created Just. For. You. You have every reason to be confident, so own it!