Gilded Serpent presents...
the “Agony & The Ecstasy”
This was a
challenging topic for me to write about because it’s obviously
a sensitive issue for performing artists in whatever medium of
show business. As an aspiring belly dancer, I became used very
early on to fellow-students, teachers and troupe directors “critiquing”
each and every dancer’s technique, stage presence and costuming
at rehearsals, student recitals and “open” performing nights at
clubs and restaurants.
an unnerving experience to be “critiqued” by your peers, but
my personal opinion then and now is that when you perform
in public, critiquing just goes with the territory of performing.
Granted, these unofficial critiques may not be a write-up
in a local paper or the Internet, but you are nonetheless
critiqued each and every time you perform.
I always felt
that critiques were a “growth opportunity” to learn from whatever
weaknesses and strengths the critiques unveiled (no pun intended!).
Many teachers and directors would tell students who were absolutely
dreading being critiqued or seeing themselves on a video that
they would be pleasantly surprised at what strengths they displayed
in performance and should therefore be encouraged to develop those
strengths and work on weaknesses.
now with the instant and far-reaching effects of the Internet
communications, critiquing has taken on a much wider and deeper
scope. It’s no wonder that performing artists react strongly sometimes
to what they may consider is not a valid perspective expressed
by the person critiquing. And I do realize what the potential
impact of critiquing is on a performer, but it should be put into
So, what should
the response be to a critique that a performer considers “invalid”
for whatever reason? Here’s one of my favorite dance teacher quotes
to us dancers shaking in our zils about performing and then being
bad or indifferent, your audience will critique you for that
moment in time – if the critique is that your performance
was less than stellar, learn from it and move on; if it’s
high praises, realize that performance existed for only one
moment in time; you may never be able to recreate it again,
learn from it and move on.”
this was very comforting to hear from a teacher who had made her
living as a belly dancer for many years! I hope that it helps
bring a slightly different overall perspective on the “agony and
ecstasy” of critiques!
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for other possible viewpoints!
More on Critique
Emperor’s New Clothes by Yasmela/ Shelley Muzzy
Until we see ourselves in the context of a larger society, no
one outside of our community will accord us the respect we desire.
Critic; Real Critics Don’t Mince Words by Najia El-Mouzayen
Either we are a sisterhood of ego therapists and our instructors
are politically correct in all they say and do—or we are
tough artists in search of ways to improve our art form by ruthlessly
weeding out the lame from our herd
Adventures in the Big Apple”
So there was really a “mystique” in the 1980’s
about dancing styles in other parts of the US, and especially
about the New York style, so different from what we were used
to in the Bay Area.
Rose by Any Other Name
Is this an identity crisis?
"...but was truly mortified all the same and swore
me to absolute secrecy"
Hawaii Workshop by
Floor Work is a moving Yoga, and as in Yoga, one must
let his/her body grow into more flexibility which develops with
God Belly Danced:
Biblical Accounts of Belly Dancing in the Ancient Near East,
Part 1 of 3, By Qan-Tuppim
While Yahweh is not female, the man may have given Chavah a name
similar to Yahweh because the woman and Yahweh had something vital