(originally posted on January 20th 2009, in my tribe.net blog)
Some dancers want to create a romantic aura about themselves, veiled in mystery and illusions of grandeur. Only ever to be seen in full make-up, dressed to the nines to their adoring fans. Everything is a performance, and rarely do you see what’s underneath the mask. I’ve seen people create the most amazing opinions of people without ever knowing what’s actually going on.
Me? I want you to know that I am a dork. And a geek. And a class-A klutz. I just like to think I clean up well. And I’m totally cool with people knowing that. Because that’s who I am, miss-wiring and all, why try to hide it? Of course, not everything is on the surface for all to see, and I often forget that not everyone lives in my head.
Some people think I have some sort of complex, trying to create rules for Gothic Bellydance. (Technically, they’re more like guidelines). Other people don’t think I stand up enough for what I’ve done. (I’m really a bit shy.)
Essentially, the reason for my writings comes down to this: I’m a Gemini. I’m ruled by Mercury, planet/god of communication, with my moon in Virgo (lists! details!) and Sagittarius rising (enthusiasm!). Which essentially means: I’m obsessed with learning, sharing, and exchanging knowledge and information. Bonus points if it comes with shiny bits. I don’t do it to be a know-it-all, to claim to be an authority of everything, or to make it seem I think I’m perfect. Far from it. I do it because I’ve done stupid things. A lot of them. And I’d like to think I know better now, but I’m pretty sure there are more stupid things to come. I’m actually at peace with that. It truly is inevitable. But I want to do what I can to help out my students and anyone else who wants to read/listen. To share my experiences, and help forge a better path with less pitfalls, better habits, and hopefully make things easier for other dancers, while bettering our art in the long run.
I think in discussing etiquette for Gothic Bellydancers, there’s something everyone can take away. Professionals, hobbyists, students, artists, everyone. Meaning, whether you do this with the intention of presenting yourself as a professional, or whether you’re just jamming in class or your bedroom – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the best experience possible. Some people will be oblivious, regardless of their intent, but I have to believe that whether someone considers themselves a pro or a hobbyist, they want to contribute to the art in the best way they can – not only for the art, but for themselves.
The secret to being a good dancer is not an illusive mystery, wrapped up and hidden. It’s about being direct, forward, and honest with yourself and others. It’s about being truthful to ourselves, mindful of our mistakes, and still willing to challenge ourselves and make changes as needed. Dance isn’t just about movement and music, it takes thought, it takes the whole body and mind to create art. Don’t be afraid to make a mess, but also don’t be afraid to lay down a tarp and have some paper towels handy before you start.