Faking Confidence for Belly Dance
Faking confidence while performing can be extremely difficult. So much of your energy is focused in so many different directions that remembering to smile can sometimes be left to the wayside. You don't need to be an extrovert to show confidence! Here are a few tips on how to fake it till you make it in your dance performances.
1. Wear a costume that makes you feel good.
I cannot stress this enough. Bad or ill-fitting costuming can make you feel body conscious and stressed. Take the time before a performance to properly fit our costuming to your body. The fit of the costume can instantly change audience perception as well as yours.
2. Pull your hair away from your face.
It took me some time to learn this. In belly dance were generally fed the "long flowing hair" image. This isn't always realistic. Having your hair hang in your face is not only distracting but builds a barrier between you and the audience. It can also give the appearance that you are trying to hide. Pin your hair back or style it in a way that frames your face. You're gorgeous the way you are, don't hide it!
3. Pretend to perform in front of people.
Imagine the space your performing in or at least as best as you can. Imagine specific faces. Interact with them. Smile back, wink, or clap along. Give yourself a mental map of how your performance will go. When showtime comes you'll have already created a plan that can help ease you through your performance.
4. Breath deeply.
Sounds silly, I know. But deep breathing can significantly lower your heart rate and calm your nerves. Before going on, take 5 minutes to deeply breathe. Focus only on your breath. Try to do this in a semi-secluded area or backstage away from the hustle and bustle.
5. Slow down.
Adrenaline is amazing but it can sometimes work against you. It can make one-second feel like twenty and have you finish your choreography before the song is even done. If you are a soloist remember that YOU own the stage. This is your time and you are showcasing the choices that you make to the music. Even if the music is fast, take a moment to stop or slow down. The audience will go along with you. I do this often by turning away from the audience and doing slow and repetitive movements. I catch my breath, refocus, and continue shortly after.
6. Not everyone can do what you do.
Remember the first time you saw a belly dance performance? I remember mine. The dancer was smiling and graceful. Every movement looked effortless. I thought to myself "I could never be able to do that, she's so confident." Fast forward to the present where I perform on a regular basis. We all have been that audience member. The one who thinks that they could never gain the confidence and fearlessness that belly dancers often show. Remember that feeling. You performing may be difficult, scary, and clunky to you but to others is inspirational, confident, and beautiful. Your space on stage is valid! Be the dancer that inspires others to participate in our craft.
Kat teaches, dances, and produces shows in Tacoma, Washington. You can find out more about her belly dance classes, belly dance performances, and belly dance shows at www.tacomabellydance.com