Be a Well Behaved Audience Member

As the Bellydance event season comes out of its Winter slumber you may have the opportunity to be part of the audience of a show. It could be a hafla, a large festival, a fundraiser, or other dance community gathering. As dancers dust off their sparkles for your viewing, there is something you can do as one seated in the audience. Actually there are several somethings.

1. Not interrupting a dancer in progress. This means if you come in late, wait to get to your seat in between performances. Especially if you have to cross the dance area to get there. Others want to watch and not have their attention diverted. The dancer is entertaining you all, let the focus be on the dancer(s). Your chair won’t go anywhere.

2. Silence Your Phone. If you are expecting a call, stay near the door so you can duck out. Talking on your phone while someone is performing is distracting to everyone else. Also please avoid texting or other distracting behaviors with your phone. Enjoy the show and put the phone away.

3. Let the photographer/videographer do their job. Don’t walk in front of the photographer or videographer while someone is performing. Keep quiet if near videographer. Some embarrassing conversations have made their way onto performance videos. This leads me to the next part.

4. Keep your opinions to yourself. Snark and jugement are not appropriate at a performance. EVER. Dancers are presenting themselves in a vulnerable way and don’t need additional unnecessary commentary happening in the audience. If it’s not your style, aesthetic, or musical taste, fine. Keep quiet and discuss later in private. Part of being in a dance community includes not being rude about other dancers. Having an opinion is fine, it’s not needed to always share your opinion the moment you feel an impulse. So much drama in the Dance community could be avoided if people remembered this. Remember – It almost always gets back to people. Don’t be that guy/gal.

5. Show appreciation! Cheer, whistle, zaghreet, clap wildly. Do this as it feels appropriate while the performance is happening. This is an interactive dance. The more the audience gives, the more the dancer gives.

6. Be professional. If you are a Bellydance student, you represent your instructor/troupe. The above guidelines are part of what will help you present a dignified face to Bellydance. Keep past drama and petty spats out of the performance space. Don’t spread gossip and play nicely. If it’s not your battle, stay out of it.

I’m sure there are more things that an audience member can do to be well behaved.