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

Belly Dance Tip: Publicity Photographs


By Saqra




What Does the Photo "Say"?

Take the time to evaluate what your photographs really say to the viewer. Make sure you are presenting what you want people to think of you professionally in the photos you use for your web site, flyers, social media business pages, and other places you promote your dance projects.

A quick snapshot for social media is usually a completely different thing from your professional portrayal, but you want to watch your overall trend there as well.

That sexy picture says come see the sexy dancer. That can be a valid advertisement for some dancers and some types of shows, but is it the one you intended?

For my publicity photos, I like action photos of me dancing, but I always weed out photos where I am wearing a bland costume, I look sweaty, my hair is in disarray, or if I have tip money in my costume. These ones are obvious negatives.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Sarah Selwood, Leeds, United Kingdom.

However, I also try to examine what each photo really says.


For Example...

I had one photo in which I had been using a really pretty and feminine gesture. It's hard to explain, but it goes something like this:

Put your arm straight up. Next, fold your arm over your head and stroke your finger from front to back, lifting your hair back while you drop your chin and look out the corner of your eye at your audience. It's a very wicked expression, and very effective when done as part of your dance.

Someone captured a photo of that gesture on a very high-quality camera, so I included it with my publicity photos. A few weeks later, when I looked at that photo, I realized that all the personality in that image came from the live gesture. The still image said something different, something more like a very simple "I got my head!"  Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Closing Thoughts

So what do you want to say? I'm sexy? (The easiest one) I'm a good dancer? (Graceful pose) I'm roller coaster of emotions? (Joyful or moody photo for the constipated or in pain expression in moody) I'm fun? (Playful, smiling) I'm a party dancer? (Money in your bra, pool table in the background)... Every detail makes a difference, so pretend you don't know the person in the photo and see what it really says to you.

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

You tell people a lot with the way you present yourself to them. And maybe it shouldn't matter but it definitely does.

Your mileage may vary.




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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

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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