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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 4: Content of Your Routine


By Saqra





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 third 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.




Content of Your Routine





      Variety of mood. Presents multiple moods.
      Variety of musical style. If the performance allows more than one song, varied music makes a routine more interesting.
      Variety in supporting a style. Use different techniques to show musical styles such as an appropriate change in prop, costuming, or dance technique.
      If using alternative music. Were lyrics understandable in places where the dancer was acting upon them?
      Supporting the alternative music. Was there a creative reason for the use of alternative music? Was it reflected in another way, such as through movement choices, prop, or costuming?
      Variety of movements. Dancer should have a good selection of both simple movement and complex and interesting special movements.
      Good use of stage or space. Dancer should use both stationary movement and floor pattern movement to create a variety of stage appearances.
      Freshness in choreography or improvisation. The dance should not look over-rehearsed even if it was.

Best Qualities of Content Used in This Routine?


Suggestions for How Content of This Routine Could be Improved?


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




Closing Thoughts

This is what I am looking for for the actual performance content. Your mileage, of course, may vary.




Related Articles

Saqra's Other Checklists

Other Advice on Content of Performance



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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