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

Belly Dance:
Don't Be THAT Person in the Dressing Room!


By Shira






As young children, most of us were taught to clean up our own messes and be considerate of others. And most of us, as adults, would like to think of ourselves as considerate people.

Yet, once we walk through the door of the dressing room at belly dance events, it's amazing how self-centered our behavior can become! The problem is that we focus on our personal experiences in enjoying the event and we don't stop to think how our actions could affect others. Even people who are normally quite thoughtful of others can be completely oblivious to just how intrusive and rude some of the things we do can be.

Also, some of us work with belly dance teachers who have poor judgment regarding how to behave in public. We may assume that if our teacher thinks a certain behavior is appropriate, then it must be okay. But... some teachers are very self-absorbed or immature, and may be role-modeling behavior that others find rather obnoxious.

I'm certain that most people reading this want to behave as sensible, kind, mature people when we go to dance events. However, in the unfamiliar environment of a belly dance dressing room, a student dancer may be so carried away with the excitement that she doesn't stop to think about how to behave appropriately. So here's a little guidance on how to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision, Glendale, California.




The Dressing Room

Please be considerate of others sharing the same dressing room as you at big events, and follow these suggestions. If you're a teacher or troupe director, please teach your dancers these important points:

  1. Do not rehearse in the dressing room. If you don't know the dance by now, you shouldn't be planning to perform it. Even if you think the room is large enough for a run-through, don't do it!
  2. Do not spritz yourself with hair spray, deodorant, perfume, or any other substance. Some people may react with asthma attacks or migraine headaches. I'm sure you don't want to spoil someone else's good time by doing grooming in the dressing room that you could have taken outdoors instead. Such sprays can also damage other people's costumes.
  3. Do not block the mirrors. Don't stand in front of the mirror while dressing and undressing — do it somewhere else. Linger in front of the mirror just long enough to check what you need to check and make adjustments, then get out of the way to let someone else use it.
  4. Don't put your belongings on chairs that may be in the dressing room — people may need to sit on those chairs to put on their shoes, put on pants, etc. A dancer with a bad back or an injured leg may need to sit to rest her body.
  5. Take your trash to a wastebasket and discard it. Don't leave the dressing room littered with your used tissues, empty water bottles, etc.
  6. If you accidentally spill a bit of eye shadow, foundation, or other makeup on a table, clean it up completely. The makeup colors that look great on your skin won't look so great if they stain someone else's costume or clothes.
  7. When you're done changing clothes, collect your belongings neatly into your dance bag and stash it out of the way. Do NOT leave your items strewn about the dressing room, making clutter for everyone else.
  8. Don't take selfies or photos of each other in the dressing room. Those who are naked behind you don't appreciate that. I can't believe it's necessary to tell you this, but I have seen people posting photos on social media with a background of people who are naked or in their underwear, not realizing they were being photographed.
  9. Don't do yoga, stretches, or other warmups in the dressing room — these things take up a lot of space. People need that space to change clothes.
  10. If you drop something on the floor, pick it up and put it away. Nobody wants to step barefoot on your safety pins, sewing kit needles, or other debris.
  11. Respect other people's possessions. Don't sit on their items, set your heavy dance bag on top, or borrow without permission.
  12. Offer to help others (even people you don't know) hook their costumes, fix their hair, put on jewelry, put safety pins in place, etc.
  13. Do not invite non-dancers into the dressing room. Do not invite children, photographers, spouses, friends, or anyone else. Dressing rooms are already too crowded, and only people who are actually changing clothes should use them.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Kaylyn Hoskins, Solon, Iowa.




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