Let me explain… I was talking with a fabulous belly dance instructor friend of mine after teaching a workshop, and I was quite surprised by what she told me:
”the 2 girls who had been hesitant to take your workshops were super happy they did. They couldn’t believe how nice you were after having felt you were a bit disconnected and cold before your performance (going to call Event X) at Event X.”
I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or angry. Are people judging me by how I warm up before a show? I was taken aback to be honest. I don’t know about you, but the hour or two leading up to a performance, much like an actor, it takes me a bit to get into the “zone”. Gone are the days when I could just get on stage and dance without a care at large galas. Now I am at the point where I feel it is expected of me to perform well at big shows, and with that comes the practice and discipline beforehand with my “ritual” to get myself ready before I step on that stage.
Many a belly dancer will always do something to get pumped or ready to perform, a “ritual”. Since when does that mean you are a “disconnected or cold person”? So this got me thinking… this must surely not be the only time this has happened.
Yes, I need an entire hour at least a lot of times to sufficiently warm-up, stretch, go over the parts of the choreography that are the most difficult, tap into a tough emotion, and often for me that does not entail chit chatting.
For the many who have taken the time to talk to me at events, or have gotten to know me, they would say im a pretty nerdy, silly, yet driven person. I LOVE to talk, but the hour before I hit the stage, sorry, but I have found that when I am mentally prepared, calm my nerves and just separate myself from the chaos around, I perform 50% better if not more.
Not talking does not= that I am mean, or a diva, or anything ridiculous like that. I simply have to get into a specific frame of mind and get in touch with the emotions, memories, and story of the piece, so that there is an easy transition once I step on stage.
So Moral of the Story…do NOT judge a belly dancer by her pre-performance ritual
Sometimes I am chit chatting and my normal self, but as soon as I stop talking and go to a quiet corner, it is not anything against anyone, I frankly just need to focus and get ready for the emotional piece I am about to perform.
Some emotions are by far more complex and difficult to call upon on the fly than others as I am sure most of you know, so hence my quiet demeanor. Quiet is what allows me to focus.
What is your pre-performance ritual? Ever had someone judge you on that? Feel free to share, this is a no judgment zone belly dancers