Photo of Shira



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

Dear Shira


Dear Shira:

Obligated to Share Music Information?



The Question

Dear Shira:

Am I obligated to tell other dancers about pieces of music that they too might like?

What if the question is, "Which songs should I use for a set at the restaurant or wedding gig I just got hired to do?"

What if the song is something I often perform to myself, or use it for a choreography that my students perform to?

— Wanting to be One of a Kind

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by André Elbing, Bärbroich, Germany, at one of Shira's performances in Egypt.




Shira Responds

Dear One of a Kind:

It depends. For me, it's not about "sharing" the music, and it's not about whether I'm planning to perform to it sometime soon.

Rather it's about sharing my knowledge. I made an effort to go out and discover music to inspire my dance. I spent a large amount of money on building my music collection, and I spent many hours listening to the songs, organizing them into sets, and choosing which to use.

So, for me, the question is really this: How freely should I share knowledge that I spent a large amount of time, effort, and money to acquire?

Questions I'd consider before helping the other person:

  1. Is this person one of my students, someone who pays me regularly for access to my knowledge?
  2. Does the person plan to go out and buy the music from an appropriate commercial source, or does she expect me to give it to her for free? If the latter, the answer is, "No."
  3. Did someone ask me for the song information after seeing me perform to it? If I used it in a performance, then I feel I should credit the musicians. This is especially true if I have posted a video on the Internet to promote myself. In fact, I would put printed credits on the video itself identifying the source of the music.
  4. Was the person who asked someone that is generous with others? In other words, does she routinely share with others information about which music she uses, which designers made her costumes, etc? When she goes to dance events, does she applaud every performer, and does she stay late to help clean up? If she's generous about sharing information with others and supporting other dancers in the community, then I'm more likely to share with her. But if she tends to be selfish, well....
  5. Was the person who asked someone who goes out and makes an effort to grow as a dancer? Does she spend many hours watching video clips, taking classes, reading books, participating in social media groups, and attending workshops? If she's working hard on developing as a dancer, then I'm likely to share with her. However, if she sits around and waits for others to spoon-feed her their best material, well....
  6. Does she give credit to other dancers who inspired her? Does she identify which teachers she studied with, which performers she borrowed signature moves from, which workshops, books, and blogs have inspired her growth as a dancer? If she performs somebody else's choreography, does she identify the choreographer? If she doesn't give credit to others, well....

So for me, my willingness to share depends on whether I feel the other person has made me feel good about the idea of helping her. I help people who have earned my trust and respect.

— Shira

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Lina Jang, New York City, New York.




About this Column

Shira has received many questions from readers over the years related to various aspects of the dance. In this column, she picks some of the more interesting ones to answer publicly. Details contained in the questions are sometimes removed or disguised to protect the anonymity of the person who asked the question.



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