Bellydance by Amartia writes a response to help belly dancers react and deal with the audience in belly dancing restaurant in Maryland.
A lot of dancers who are new to the restaurant scene will wonder, why do people leave before my show? Or leave when they see I am performing? Or about to perform? This could be, as stated in my last blog post just be because they are uncomfortable with it. They might not know when your show is and/or plan to not be there when you perform. Not everyone is as crazy about belly dance as we are!
Why do people not make any noise for me or clap? This is hard habit for people to break. They have been taught that when watching a show, you stay quiet and only clap at the end, out of respect. Or it could be that they don’t feel that the venue, a restaurant, is one for clapping.
What if they don’t look at me? After having performed for a long time, I have learned that it isn’t always you. Try not to take it personally. It could just be that they don’t feel comfortable watching you. They may feel like they are leering if they stare at you intensely. I’ve had instances where people were staring at me almost glaring and I thought they were displeased with my performance. At the end of my show however, they told me how much they enjoyed it and were trying to figure out how I was doing those things with my body!
What if they won’t dance with me? Not everyone is into audience participation. People are shy or feel uncoordinated or are just not in the mood to dance. It’s OK! You can play with them and try to guilt them but if they stand firm. Move away! There is nothing more uncomfortable for an audience member than a dance who cannot read the table and sticks around when they are ready for her to move on.
What if they don’t tip me? Sometimes you won’t get tipped. This can happen. Tips are not a guarantee. They are appreciated, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t a must. It could be that the venue just isn’t the right one for tipping or they don’t know if they can tip you. Some people honestly haven’t a clue about tipping. They also may not tip for fear of making you uncomfortable. Maybe YOU don’t want to be tipped on your body. Either you don’t at all or you can gesture to your armband when a customer wants to tip you.
Hopefully this has been a helpful response for belly dancers. Feel free to add more to Bellydance by Amartia’s advice to belly dancers on how to react to audience members at a belly dancing restaurant