Monthly Archives: September 2013

Other Bellydance Stuff I Hate

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Just so you don’t think I’m picking on Zills…

Here’s another list of my hates. I know a lot of other people feel the same way.

 

The 10+ minute long show solo.

Oh yea. I went there.

Fine in a restaurant, but on stage it tends to drag. Did you know the average attention span of someone in a captive audience is roughly 3min or less? Also, that 10 minutes could have fit 2 or 3 people into the time slot giving others a chance to perform.

Now, there are some exceptions to the rule…but you’d better be show stopping AMAZING. We’re talking Indigo or Unmata fabulous here.

There are other venues where this is the norm, like the larger dance fests or if you are the guest/spotlight performer/teacher, then go for it. You’re local shows/haflas? not so much.

 

No pants under gypsy skirts.

MY BIGGEST HATE. Even more than ZIlls. I hate when dancers don’t wear pants under their damn gypsy skirts. It’s a well known HIGHLY DOCUMENTED fact that when you spin in a circle skirt, the skirt lifts up and flows around you. Guess what ladies! That means the audience is going to see what’s under your skirt. If you’re on a stage it’s even worse, they’re going to see your underwear…or ass and vajango…depending on how much you were or weren’t thinking when you put your costume on.

PLEASE wear pants? Please? Show the audience some pretty fabric harem pants under there, or some sassy flares. The extra layer of fabric as dept and color to your costume. DO IT.

And if you’re thinking “Oh, but our skirts don’t come up that much…we’re fine.” NO YOU ARE NOT. Do you KNOW what we can see as an audience sitting on a floor? Or even worse, if you’re on a stage you’re elevated, which means if your skirt even lifts to your calves, we can see your ass. COVER IT UP.

 

No underwear under cabaret costumes.

Under any costumes really, but I’m talking here about the slit-skirts.

I understand it must be hard to find something to wear under a skirt hat is slit to your thigh, but seriously? They make costuming breifs for this reason. INVEST IN A PAIR. Nothing makes an audience member gasp faster than when a cab dancer spins and we see her bush. It’s tasteless and helps propagate the negative image people have on us.

This sort of thing…right here…is what gives people the idea that we’re trashy and easy.

I pick on the cab dancers because they’re the highest offenders of the no panties issue that I’ve seen. Tribal girls aren’t completely guilt free here, but the costume mechanics are very different and bottoms are usually covered up. I’ve even seen a gypsy dancer with no panties on…but I clump that one into the pants section above.

 

Broken beads on the stage.

If your costume goes fubar on stage, and you end up dropping beads/crystals/coins/shells on the stage ALERT SOMEONE RUNNING THE SHOW THE MINUTE YOU GET OFF STAGE.

Often times someone can run across the stage with a broom and clean up your mess. It takes about a minute. I promise no one is going to get angry, and other dancers will thank you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve danced on broken little beads. It hurts. A LOT. And it’s dangerous. Other dancers can slip or cut themselves.

 

Props left on stage.

You are not the queen of the world, and you should not expect someone to retrieve your props for you. This is not the responsibility of the people performing after you, nor should they come out on a stage and wonder what they should do with your fan/veil/cups/zills/chair/cover up/sword/anything you danced with.

Either choreo it so you remove it with yourself, or have a “stage ninja” who comes out after you and removes the prop for you after you’ve exited.

 

Divas* who feel entitled for XYZ reason.

I don’t care who you are, you don’t deserve special treatment. Sometimes it’s alright to ask for an accommodation. Like if you have a food allergy, it’s alright to ask if there’s gluten in something at a hafla. Or if you’re a breast feeding mother, it’s alright to ask if there’s a private place you can go to pump/nurse. It’s also alright to kindly request the show line up if you’re dancing more than once.

It’s not alright to demand two solo spots in a show, more show tickets, a private changing room, a special intro, special seating, classes be rearranged, the show to be rearrange, etc. etc. etc.

Please show some respect to people putting on the show.

*not limited to women. not limited to dancers.

 

People who rip vendors off.

Seriously. Just don’t do it.

The fastest way to bring yourself down and destroy your dance career is to not pay someone for something, being it bouncing a check or screwing over someone who gave you something in good faith that you’d pay.

Everyone is going to hear about it sooner or later, and you don’t want that branding.

 

Fire dancers who don’t follow safety regulations.

This is everything from letting people smoke around open fuel to not being aware of your personal space when dancing.

The simple fact is, you’re playing with something that can not only harm you, but KILL you. Look at the bigger picture around you as well. You’ve an audience. You could harm or kill them too.

Wick off, cover cans up, pull your hair up, be aware of the audience and other dancers, have a safety, and for the love of Gods make sure there’s some form of crowd control.

 

Sky High Musicians

I know many an instance where the band might have been a wee bit not grounded. This happens all too often in drum circles. Musicians can be hard to deal with on their own, let alone when they’re high or otherwise intoxicated.

 

MC’s who don’t even try

I know some of our names are impossible to pronounce…but at least try.

I’ve gotten into the habit of writing my name down phonetically for shows, and it’s saved me about 70% of being annoyed and having to correct people later. I suggest trying it next time you’re in a show, it really works and I’ve been thanked a few times by MCs and band members for it.

But sometimes…there’s that one MC that someone had to bribe and beg to be the MC, and they just don’t care. They seriously annoy me.

 

DJs who don’t listen to instructions

Nothing like a DJ who can’t follow instructions on when to start and stop music, or when and how to announce a performer.

Even better are the DJs who work and announce at strip clubs that get part time gigs elsewhere. THAT was a fun show. Every act sounded like a stripper. Fantastic.

 

Awkward Prop Solos

When people perform with out having used a prop enough in practice and it’s constantly dropped or tangled. Just because your sword arrived in the mail the day before the show DOES NOT MEAN it needs to be danced with tomorrow.

 

So there I go…pissing off the world again.

I know I’m very much NOT alone in these peeves. I’ve had many dancers voice their annoyance or horrified-ness about the above offends.

 

 

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Confessions of a Zill Snob

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I have a shameful bellydance secret.

I hate zills.

I mean I hate them. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE THEM.

I know a lot of people are going to gasp and be offended by this. I’m going to post it anyways. Those of you who are real friends and shimmy sisters won’t hate me for my opinion, or take offense. It takes many to make the world go round, and there’s lots of people who love zills, so keep rockin’ them. This is just MY opinion.

I’m hoping to open people’s eyes a little bit about the Zilling problems in dance. There are many.,,and to those few very trusted dancers I’ve expressed my Zill-pinion too, they’ve agreed with me about these problems. I’m happy to know I’m not the only dancer in the world who dislikes zills…I’ve even talked to a few dancers who use them only because their restaurant managers wanted them to.

So here we go, the reasons I hate zills.

1. They are LOUD and OBNOXIOUS.

Even more so when they’re being played by 20 ATS dancers. I mean, ow. Yes, I’m impressed you’re all keeping RLR-LRL rhythm while moving, it’s a very cool skill that I don’t posses myself…but OW. I have sensitive ears, I don’t like high pitched noises or deep bass tones, and the ringing of zills in groups of more than about 3 just kills me.

At festivals, it’s pretty annoying when you’re watching another act perform and suddenly you hear zills ringing out from clear across the enter event. This has happened more than once. I understand the dance troupes aren’t trying to be distracting, but lets face facts. It’s VERY distracting, and sort of rude to the other performers. People can’t help but go “What’s that?” And yes, that’s the point, it draws attention, but it’s pretty obnoxious to others performing.

2. No one remembers their mufflers.

Whomever invets Zill-muffs should get a metal. I swear. The problem is the majority of people never remember them, or don’t know about them at all.

What are Zill Muffs? These… http://www.etsy.com/listing/23369436/zill-mufflers (I hope this random person on etsy enjoys the random plug!)

Zill muffs muffle the sound of your zills are are usually crocheted but can often just be fabric baggies. Either way, they’re ideal for studying zilling. I believe anyone who takes zill workshops should have them…even more so in a DANCE ZILL workshop where you will be moving and zilling. This is where I believe they’re needed most. It’s impossible to hear cues from a teacher over all that damn ringing and clanking…and lets face it, nearly NO ONE learning new combos is getting that rhythm right. It ends up being a ton of noise.

3. They make learning impossible.

Not only can you never hear the instructor, but no one ever stops clanking and chiming them.

I can’t tell you how obnoxious this is. STOP MOVING YOUR HANDS. Seriously. No need for that. I understand you like your new toy, but show some restraint please, others are trying to listen.

I AM BEGGING ZILL TEACHERS…please…PLEASE start telling people to knock off the in-between zilling while you’re talking. It’s RUDE. You have the right as the teacher to ask people to stop while you’re speaking, don’t let them walk all over you like that, you’re not being mean in asking them to quiet their fingers.

4. Too many people don’t know what to do with them.

I see so many dancers who get zills and go “WOOO!!!! LRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLRLR” and nothing else. There’s a whole world of wonderful rhythms out there to explore…and guess what!! You can play along with drummers using those rhythms! WHO KNEW?!?!?*

*Disclaimer, some people know. Mostly musicians, but some dancers I have found who are “of a certain age” or what I like to call “vintage” also know this.

My point is, not enough people want to spend time learning to zill along with middle eastern rhythms. Not enough dancers want to learn how to play along with a song rather than just act as an accent…which brings me to my next point.

Zills should accompany music, not distract from it…which brings me to…

5. Random Zilling.

I. Hate. This. Most. Of. All.

I’m sure this is where I’m going to make people the most angry…mostly because every dancer that’s ever attempted to perform with zills has more than likely started right here. The problem is when people never move on from this.

Picture this… the music plays. It’s a drum solo…(or the other big offender is the modern drum/vocal Arabic/Moroccan/Egyptian song, which I hate worse btw. The random is super noticeable in modern music.). The dancer comes out, zills strapped to fingers…and she dances…and dances…and dances…and she’s still not zilling…then suddenly…Cling cling. Cling. Cling cling…and dances some more. Cling cling cling. Dances some more…cling. Does a spin…ching ching…spins the other way…ching ching. Back to no zilling. CHING.

Zilling with no rhyme or reason makes me more annoyed than 50 ATS dancers at a festival any day. It’s completely unprofessional. It does nothing for your performance except show you have no ear for music. As a dancer you don’t want that. Either learn to zill rhythms or just put them down.

I’m going to be a bitch here and say this… If you’re a random ziller, you’re annoying more people than you think. They just won’t admit it.

6. Clanking.

I know, I know, some cultures it’s actually correct to clap or clunk your zills. Good for you, I don’t care for the clank/clack/clunk sound myself. I feel it’s like a dead note…like the poor little note curled up and died a painful death under someone’s foot. Much like a spider.

There are exceptions to my clanking reasoning, sometimes they do have a place in music.

7. Instructors who tell me my holding technique is wrong.

This annoys me, but I smile and deal with it anyways because it’s their personal technique. Not mine.

The simple fact is, I was taught to play zills originally by a musician, not a dancer. The way I hold my zills is to achieve optimal ‘Ching’ and ‘Ring’ from them. It gives for a more clear note.

I should also mention here, I only ever take Zill-dance workshops when they’re a packaged deal somewhere…because I don’t intend to actually ever play them in a performance, save for any ATS I may study in the future…in which case…I’ll have mufflers.

I think I’ve covered my personal Seven Sins of Zilling.

Now, I do own Zills myself. Two pair. One small and one “dinner plate” sized for drum circles.

I like going o drum circles with my zills, I feel like they make a nice accent, and although I couldn’t rattle off every name of every middle eastern drum rhythm, I can play along with every single one. I vastly enjoy sitting around and zilling with the band much more than zilling on my feet dancing.

Kudos to all those dancers who’s zilling has never made me angry. There are a handful of you that I do admire for your skills and talents. I know you’ve studied hard, and have come a long way from your early random zill days. The biggest part of any talent is learning and growing from your mistakes, thank you for not being forever stuck in the random zill stage.

Alright, rant over. I somehow feel better getting that off my chest! It’s been sitting there for years!