Well, it wasn’t that dramatic, but you should have seen the looks on the mall security officer’s faces when I showed up at the Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto, California with my giant scimitar (sword).
I was there to promote my business, Belly Dance Brilliance Event and Wedding Entertainment, at the Party and Wedding Faire along with DJs, wedding dress shops, florists, photographers, wedding planners, and more.
One particularly interesting booth featured custom made bibs for the wedding party. The last thing you want happening at your wedding is spilling all over your beautiful white dress! The owner, Sandi, of Bib 4 Brides provides a pretty solution to that problem.
Although the mall was alive with commerce, many people were just passing by to quickly collect information (or free candy) before continuing on their shopping expeditions. I was a little concerned that no one would stay long enough to see my live belly dance demo.
I feel the best way to tell someone that belly dance is great entertainment for all ages is to show them! Many people (Americans especially) have only seen belly dance in a seductive context in movies like James Bond or Charlie Wilson’s War. That is absolutely not true and I was determined to show that to the brides and their families.
By noon there was still not a considerable crowd gathered, but I started my demo performance regardless. Opening with a flashy Isis wings dance, I was happy to see a large group of people walking through the booths stop dead in their tracks to watch. Within minutes of starting my 15 minute demo, people started gathering around the stage and the upper floor over looking the stage. By the time I got to the sword dance, the upper floor had a significant gathering of viewers and the area by the booths was crowded as well. For any of you wondering if one dancer can keep attention of a large group of people, see the videos below.
Start of the show:
10-15 minutes later:
It made me very happy to show so many people how belly dance can be enjoyed by everyone. Many of the viewers came by to ask questions about belly dance and learn some more about the dance history and culture. Surprisingly, many also said that was the first time they had ever seen a live belly dance performance and were surprised themselves that they stayed to watch the whole show and enjoyed it. While it is sad that so many people see belly dance as a sexy and child-inappropriate dance, I was grateful for the chance to show that belly dance can be family-friendly, joyous, and elegant.
This just goes to show that if you are planning to hire a belly dancer, but are unsure of what your guests will think, make certain to do your research and hire a belly dancer who upholds professional qualities. Watch demo videos for “family-friendly” style, read testimonials to see what previous clients say about the show, and talk to her. Professional belly dancers will have good answers to your questions. Don’t be afraid of offending the dancer with your concerns. A professional belly dancer understands the stereotypes and anticipates those kinds of questions.
What was your opinion of belly dance before you saw a professional performance? Has your opinion about belly dance changed? Please comment below.