Keep Your Private Stuff Private
There are as many reasons for dancing as there are dancers. Most of us know that belly dance can be very healing from things like sexual assault, domestic violence, heart ache, lack of self-love, and loneliness. If healing is what brought you to dance, be sure to maintain professional boundaries in class and your performance.
Unless you are a class or show that is designed to promote healing and self-discovery, it may take away from other people to demonstrate how your self-esteem is growing, how you are becoming stronger, or how you are struggling with your inner demons. Here are some guidelines that may help you maintain appropriate boundaries:
* When in doubt, ask your teacher whether or not something you are thinking of works with the class or performance venue.
* Be aware of the line between assertiveness and aggression. You don’t want to turn your audience or classmates off by coming on too strong with your body language, make-up, costuming, or verbal language.
* Keep the level of intimacy appropriate to the venue and company. It’s fabulous to watch a highly emotive performer on stage, but there is a difference between a performance and a personal cathartic experience. The people surrounding you should not be put in the position of guarding their own feelings and space. If it helps you to work things out through movement and dance, do it in private. If what you are working on is emotionally raw for you, it’s probably not something you want to do in public.
* Keep it family friendly. Unless it’s a burlesque class or show, everyone there is expecting things to be rated G. It’s not fair to ask your audience to go along on a journey they did not sign up for. Expressing yourself in new and overt ways may be liberating for you, but consider the venue.
* Does your style tend to lean towards the political? We’ve all heard the advice to refrain from talking about religion and politics in mixed company. The same applies to dance. There is a high risk of offending someone if you go down that road. Best to keep that to yourself.
Dance is a WONDERFUL way to expand your horizons, learn new things, and express beautifully, but as with all things, there is an appropriate time and place for everything. Your dance class or dance venue may not be it.