There are dos and there are belly dance don’ts. Here are a list of suggestions that can help pretty up your belly dance performance, keep you from offending the audience, and keep your dancing clean.
No Crotch Shots to the Audience
If you are bending at the waist, whether standing or on your knees, do it so that your waist faces the side or the back.
Keep Your Knees Together
There are few moves (like a wide hip circle) that require a wide legged stance. Not only will keeping your feet together give you better balance, it will reduce the sexual suggestiveness of your dance.
If You Are on a Raised Stage, Wear Something Under Your Skirt
People can see more than you think- especially if you spin, turn quickly or do kicks. You want to make sure that whatever is seen, it looks like a part of your costuming, not underwear or your body. Don’t wear flesh colored undies. It’s better for the audience to know that they saw cloth than to think they saw your butt.
Don’t Touch Yourself When You Dance
Lots of people have minds that are a step away from the gutter. Don’t take them the rest of the way by giving them that extra visual.
If You Must Have Cut Outs, Err on the Side of Modesty
I bought a costume with cut outs covered by flesh colored inserts once. I thought it was appropriately sexy, but when I saw one man’s reaction to it, I couldn’t wear it anymore. I was too self-conscious. That negatively impacted my dancing. Nothing could be seen, but the illusion of seeing something created the same impact as if I was exposed.
Make Sure Your Costume Fits Properly
I have seen more than one belly dancer who inadvertently flashed nipples. Most of them would be horrified to know that this happened, but if there is the slightest chance of that happening, wear something else.
Pin Your Belt and Bra
The closures on belly dance costumes aren’t always secure. Having a back-up will prevent the top falling straight down (seen that) or the back popping open (seen that too).
Other Than a Veil, Don’t Remove Costuming Items While on Stage
This is very suggestive of stripping. We have a hard enough time separating ourselves from strippers, so just don’t do it.
Don’t Simulate Orgasm on Stage
There are belly dancers who make these faces that look like they are having orgasms… and then there are those who imitate this who just look foolish. Don’t. If it works, you leave nothing to the imagination. If doesn’t work, you just look odd.
Maintain Personal Space
It’s often REALLY crowded when dancing in a cabaret setting, but you are generally in control over how close you get to your audience. If you violate personal space, you can make your audience very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are doing anything overtly sexy or not. To be safe, just don’t get too close.
Be Very Careful About Touching People
This goes along with the suggestion above. You are almost never going to touch people, but I certainly do to take pictures or have a little fun. Feel this out. Just don’t go up and touch anybody. If their body language indicates that it’s okay, proceed cautiously.
NEVER Take Tips in Your Bra
This tells your audience that they can touch your body in private places. I don’t think you want that, do you? It’s also associated with stripping. (Not to mention that it is illegal in some areas, like Virginia). If you see someone going for your breasts, turn away.
Don’t Use the Stage For Your Therapy
Belly dance is very therapeutic and empowering. They express and feel through dance things that are healing; however, it may not be appropriate in a public setting. If you are unsure about whether your ideas are right for your venue and audience, better to err on the side of caution.
You are not responsible for what other people think. You don’t have control over how anything is perceived, but the cleaner you keep your dance, the less chance there is for misinterpretation. It’s in the best interest of your audience, yourself, and the art form.