Stage presence – stop belly dancing and start show dancing

I was looking at some youtube videos today and as per usual I wasn’t agreeing with a lot of the fan-boys and the fawn-girls liking and commenting their praise because:

  1. someone is a superstar
  2. someone is part of their troupe
  3. they were family
  4. they were being paid to do so

One of the videos had a question posted that got me thinking a bit. It went:

This is a serious question. How does one differentiate between a good belly dancer and the best belly dancer?

And it was posted at this video: Shahla Belly Dancer at Saqarah Jan 2010

I’m sure she’s a great belly dancer and all that but if you ask me; she’s not as awesome as the comments predicted.. and that’s partially because she lacked the Show-Dancing aspect. She’s belly dancing ON STAGE without understanding show-dancing. Argh. Let me explain to you why this in my modest opinion, is wrong.

Warning: incoming pet-peeve:

I might be a complete, utter noob to belly dance but as a 6-year old girl I was dancing show dancing solo’s when none of the other girls dared to do so. I’ve had my share of performances and contests whilst I was growing up and was taught really well how to perform for an audience. Which stuck with me very well. Partially because I was so young when I learned it, I think.

Now with recent events, the auditioning and the upcoming Halloween performance all the old teachings about stage presence the parts to dancing of finishing moves and coming across to an audience seems to bubble all the way up again from that deep, dark place within where they were kept silent for years. And from that perspective I do not understand the praise to that video. I don’t care how Turkish you are; I don’t care how well you do belly rolls; I don’t care about the clothes you wear and I don’t care about the make-up you put on:

When you’re sloppy and don’t finish your moves, you’re a sloppy show-dancer. And when you’re a sloppy show-dancer you shouldn’t be on stage.

When you’re a sloppy show dancer, it doesn’t matter which sort of dance you dance, you’re not going to look pretty or convincing. You’re not going to entice your crowd. And you will simply not look like you’re good at what you’re trying to get across. They might cheer but it might not be because of what you think it is. Until you are able to dance -and- finish your moves you shouldn’t be on stage. Stage is for performing and entertaining. So make it count. You’re going to have only one chance to make that mind blowing impression so take it.

I’m sorry for sounding harsh there. But that’s just how it is. Not just for my stress levels but also for anyone who takes this advice. If you want to improve your dancing, do not underestimate stage presence.


After I’d done eye-rolling at all awkward comments, I luckily found this video that completely restored my faith in show-dancing.

Drum solo, Asena – Akustika, Dovile from Lithuania

Do you see what knowing your music, adapting your choreography to your music, listening and playing with your crowd and actually getting out of your shell can do for you?

So, please stop hiding behind all the techniques you learned during your dance classes. They might get you far but they will not do it for you. Technique and skill is one thing but believing what you do and making sure your crowd believes you is something entirely different. Don’t just dance to show how awesome you can move your body, dance because it’s the only thing you can do. Study your choreography like you are studying a new language. Learn to dance with the music instead of just with your body. Don’t be afraid of what I just said; don’t let it intimidate you. Don’t let any of this hold you back. But take it to heart before you decide to make your belly dancing performance a show dancing performance. Because it’s entirely something else to do.

When you decide to perform make sure you are prepared, get out there and knock. them. dead. Your crowd deserves nothing less.

Eager to see more another good belly dance performance? Look at this gem:

Cihangir Belly dance Parody as Sibel Istanbul

Do you see the difference between the first link and the last one? Apart from the obvious? Because -that- is the difference between belly dancing and show dancing.

Of course… if you’re solely dancing to display your techniques or aren’t interested in ever performing, then of course please completely disregard this entire post… 🙂

Coming to you from DancingSnobInc. this was Kim. Over and out.


3 thoughts on “Stage presence – stop belly dancing and start show dancing

  1. Ha! That parody gave me some serious laughs… But really, the least a dancer can do is smile. Too many times I’ve seen ladies that look miserable up there. Why are we dancing? Hopefully for fun, rather than your dance instructor forcing you. 😉

    • Hi Zahara, you are so right! It -is- supposed to be fun. Especially on stage; I can’t think of anything more fun then performing on stage.

      The only thing for not smiling on stage is having to concentrate so much. But maybe then you’ve not mastered the routine well enough, I think? Have you asked those ladies why they werent smiling? :p Maybe we should raise a Smile Awareness movement, hahah. That’d be fun ❤

      Thank you for stopping by and letting me know what you thought of it; I too thoroughly enjoyed that parody.. He's really good, isn't he 🙂

      • Yes! A Smile Awareness Movement! Brilliant!
        Ah, no, I don’t ask… cause maybe it’s a confidence thing?
        I sent that parody to my first belly dance instructor. I think she’ll have a laugh as well 🙂

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