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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 2: Technical Skill


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 second 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.




Technical Skill Checklist





      Posture. Head should be over the body. Shoulders should be down and relaxed, but not curved forward. Lower back should not have an excessive curve (butt sticking out) for that body type (which would indicate locked legs or an overly relaxed abdomen).
      Use of body parts, isolation. Dancer should use more than a limited number of body parts in a performance, and should be clearly in control of each.
      Apparent ease of executing movements. Dancer should never look like s/he is struggling for the motion or working too hard too produce it.
      Smooth transitions. Dancer should move smoothly from one movement to another, and should complete all motions.
      Good presentation and framing of movement. Attention should be paid to the angles at which movements are attractive. (Most dance movements look better with a slight diagonal presentation.) Arms should not detract from what the dancer wants the audience to focus on (e.g., avoid random waving).
      Gracefulness and sense of control. Confidence.
      Skill at handling any props used. Tip: if you drop it once, pick it up. If you drop it twice, leave it there and finish your dance without it.
      Skillful use of finger cymbals. Finger cymbals should be in time with the music. They should not start or stop mid-phrase unexpectedly, unless being used as an accent. If playing a rhythm, cymbals should be playing the actual rhythm that the drummer is playing, and not lingering on a rhythm that the drummer is not playing.
      Quality entrance and exit. Entrances should allow the dancer to greet the audience, so people can get a sense of the performer. It is not necessary to dance your way in. Exits should clearly acknowledge the end of the dance and acknowledge the audience. Dancer should stay in character until completely out of sight of the audience.
      Overall impression of dancer's technical skill.

Best Qualities of Technical Skill?


Suggestions for How Technical Skill Could be Improved?


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




Related Articles

Saqra's Other Checklists

Other Advice on Technical Skill

By Saqra

By Other Authors



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