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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Becoming the Best Belly Dance Performer You Can

Checklist for Assessing Yourself:

Part 1: Your Appearance

 

By Saqra

 

 

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Introduction

Sometimes it is difficult to know what you should work on to become a better performer, but I have a strategy to share with you for overcoming that!

I suggest you evaluate your videos and plan your performances with the following checklist in mind. I use this series of four checklists when evaluating performers I am mentoring. It is also the foundation for the judging sheet I use for my competition event, because it's very helpful in removing bias, educational differences, and stylistic differences between the judges.

This is the first in a series of four articles designed to address the components of an overall belly dance performance:

It is easy to feel drawn to develop an unhelpful idea such as:

  • Basing your performance on a desire to express yourself rather than considering your audience first.
  • Fixating on using props for pacing as opposed to allowing your pacing to have its heart in the interaction of the music and the dance content.

I'm starting to explain too much. All I'm trying to say is that it is easy to get ideas that unbalance your show or just plain detract from being an excellent performance artist. This series of four checkists can help you avoid focusing where you shouldn't.

Explore all four checklists! Your mileage may vary, but you are probably going to be a better dancer if you try out some of these ideas.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photograph by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.

Saqra

 

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Appearance Checklist

Consider the overall attractiveness of the performer, but ignore specific natural faults.

Costuming

These criteria would apply regardless of the type of costume and style. For additional commentary on these points, see Belly Dance Costuming Checklist, also by Saqra.

No

Yes

Yes+

Criterion

      Fits well. Clearly is the correct size for the performer.
      In good condition. Is clean and is in good repair.
      In good taste. Is appropriate for the type of venue in which the dancer will be performing (family restaurant, wedding, requirements stated by a show organizer, etc.)
      Good choice for the body type and style of dancer.
      Appropriate for the technical aspects of the particular dance it is being worn for. Does not expose the dancer, and does not fight the dancer while doing movements.
      Appropriate for the musical aspects of the dance. Costume reflects musical content in cases where alternative or specific ethnic musical choices are used.
      Does not distract from the dancing. Doesn't overpower the dancer, isn't too busy, doesn't make the audience spend significant time speculating about undergarments.

Best Qualities of this Costume?

 

Suggestions for How this Costume Could be Improved?

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Photograph by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.

Other Appearance Issues

No

Yes

Yes+

Criterion

      Makeup. Sufficient for the venue and lighting, sufficient for general interest, appropriate to costume and dance style.
      Hair. Appears to be clean and well groomed. Does not constantly detract from performance. Appropriate to dance and costuming style.
      Other details. Dancer has given care to selecting details as appropriate to dance and costume style such as fingernails, toenails, accessories, etc

Best Qualities of Makeup, Accessories, and Grooming?

 

Suggestions for How Appearance Could be Improved?

 

Saqra

 

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Closing Thoughts

The criteria above are what I am looking for when coaching a dancer on how to look her/his best for competitions or other performance goals. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photograph by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.

Saqra

 

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Related Articles

Saqra's Other Checklists

Other Appearance Advice

By Saqra

By Other Authors

 

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About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at www.saqra.net

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award

 

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