This week Bellydance by Amartia features the lovely Sa’Noorah as her guest blogger. Enjoy!

Although I have always liked to dance, I will admit I never woke up one day and said “I need to dance as a career” let alone belly dance. When I first started taking belly dance classes it wasn’t what I had in mind. However, as time has gone on, I’ve switched from just taking classes to performing at haflas as a soloist and as a troupe member and now I provide entertainment for private parties. During this transformation, I have noticed and find it slightly amusing how the people in a dancer’s life react to them being a belly dancer. Throughout the years I’ve gotten some off the wall comments and requests by family and friends, some which I wanted to share with you.

1) “Oh, you get paid for that? I thought you only did it for exercise and fun”

This happened while talking to my parents last year in regards to a Corporate Christmas party that I performed at.  My response to my dad was “yes, dad, I have been for a while now”; my Mom chimes in and says “Yeah hon, where have you been?”. Love them!

2) And my dad’s response “Oh, that’s cool”. 

I get this often too, usually with an odd look from the person that basically says “I don’t know what else to say, hmm, how should I respond further.”  Depending on who it is and how receptive I think they will be I may continue, if not, I just move the discussion towards a topic that is about them.

3) “You can come and perform at the party tonight, right? …… Oh, I have to pay?”

….Yes you have to pay, just because you are my family or my friend  doesn’t mean you are going to get a free show. If you had a special skill or talent that you got paid to do, then  I would pay you so I don’t see the distinction.  In addition, you would pay someone else if you hired them as entertainment. I am an entertainer as well.

Bellydancer NJ, Baltimore bellydancer, bellydance by amartia

4) “I have this great friend who is an awesome belly dancer, she dances in the NJ and NYC area”

I usually overhear this at parties. It’s nice to hear what your friends really think!

5) Those same friends will ask, “So, how’d it go? Which costume did you wear?”

Yay! Not only do they speak bling, they know I will instantly answer and go on about the gig for a bit. At which point I know I’ve monopolized the conversation enough and ask about them.

6) “You’re dancing, again?” Followed by “What time will you be home? Oh, never mind, see you tomorrow”

How many of you get this response? At this point, your loved ones know that whether it’s a hafla or solo private gig, you will probably be home later than you originally stated. They also know that you are not coming home in time to do anything together.  And although it bums them out, they get it and then know you will make-up the time the next day.

It’s truly fascinating to me that when I look at those  in my life that I’m fairly close with  they are on either side of the spectrum. Either they have no clue that I am a professional belly dancer in the NJ and NYC area or they expect me to arrive late to any of their parties with full-on performance make-up, glitter and sparkles. These are the same people who ask what I wore,  how’d it go,  and let me talk for hours about it.

Truth be told, these reactions bring me both joy and amusement. I think I am truly luck to have  people in my life that overall support my decision to dance on a professional level and allow the “belly dance” craziness to seep into their lives as well.

Whether you are just starting out or are belly dancing professionally, how do the people in your life react to you dancing and performing? What off the wall comments to you get? What responses? Please feel free to share them on this blog!

BIO: Award winner Sa’Noorah is an up and coming Belly Dancer and performer in New Jersey and NYC.  She is often performing at various functions, both public and private such as festivals, restaurants, and private parties to name a few. You will find her performing throughout the area as a soloist and as a member of the New Jersey based troupe The Caravan Dancers.