I’ve started a Challenge with Jaidra DuRant and Brandy White of Discordia Arts on Facebook. Part of the Challenge is having Tasks. Some of these Tasks are Journal Prompts. I intend to post the responses to these Journal Prompts here, in order to pad out this blog a little more. We’ll see how this goes over the next weeks. 😀
-How does dancing in public make me feel?
-Does it matter if there are people dancing with me, if I’m on a stage or not, or if it’s a structured performance or not, or whether I am in costume?
-Does the type of audience or group surrounding me make a difference to the way I feel when I dance in public?
I LOVE dancing in Public. I LOVE dancing in a Performance. I am not a real Fan of dancing in a casual setting.
As a youngster I didn’t really just dance. I was in Gymnastics from an early age and had regimented dance training during that time in my life. Then I transitioned to JUST Dance: Ballet, Tap and Jazz, as a Middle Schooler and High Schooler, I even added Ballroom in High School. When I was in College I started in with Hip-Hop, Modern and Belly Dance. I’ve, in the last five years, become a Burlesque Performer. All while taking as many different Dance Classes as possible. I Have ALWAYS danced. I have also ALWAYS Performed.
Even if I were at home in my house, if I were going to dance, I was going to Perform. I was going to take up the entire kitchen floor, or the foyer opening as a proscenium set. I was going to get myself an audience. EVEN if I’m dancing for myself, all alone, I picture an audience, I face them, I look for their applause in my head.
I went to a middle school that did not have School Dances. So I had no homecoming, no Winter Formals, until I was a Junior in High School and had a Prom. I’d never casually danced in Public. Consequently, as an Adult, dancing at weddings, in Clubs or at Parties is foreign to me and most usually makes me very self-conscious and uncomfortable. I never learned to just stand around in a group of girls, facing our shoes and swaying to the beat. NEVER. I’m into my 30s now and still don’t know how to do that.
It does not matter if I’m in a group dance setting or a solo dance setting. I will set myself up alone in a room and run drills of moves or make up choreography. I’ll attend a class and still get in the front row when everyone else tries to hide in the second or back. I don’t care if there’s an audience in actuality, because there’s one in my head. I don’t care if I’m wearing a costume of any kind, or just my favourite thing of comfy, stretchy pants and a long-line tank top. I’ll wear a hoodie and a leotard, I’ll wear tights and a Ballet Skirt, I’ll wear Melodias (hahaha that’s a lie, I can’t afford Mellows!) and a choli- I’ll wear a pair of pasties and a thong… and I’ll dance all the same. I’ve been known to get down in the shower wearing nothing but bubbles!
I’ve had really good Solo Performances, I’ve had really good Group Performances. I’ve had really bad experiences with both. I’m equally good with just myself or blending into the background of a Corps. No problem, just let me dance. Please and thank you.
I’ve found that when I perform a more Structured form of Classical Dance, the audience needs to be as respectful of the Art as I am. I dislike when audiences are not there to be entertained or to learn something, just to hang out in a space to say they were there.
In less structured settings, for perhaps Belly Dance or Burlesque, I LOVE Audience Participation as long as it isn’t Drunken or Inappropriate. I actually enjoy the most the dragging of the Audience into participating in a Burlesque Routine. I love pulling a laugh or a whoop or a cheer of applause out of them. It is the best feeling to have that kind of control over the audience and to help them realise their enjoyment even more fully. It is a great thing to pull one cheer out of a group of folks, or one good zaghereet and then have them spontaneously respond after that. Love it. I love hearing how much people enjoyed their experience because of something I participated in. It is the best feeling. But I’d dance for a stone-silent, unfeeling group of folks too. They need to know what’s up.
I think that covers this Journal Prompt pretty fully. I’m hoping that some more writing exercises will help me full up this blog over the next few weeks a little more than before!
xoxo- Princess Augusta