I was a judge for an online dance competition, whew…this last week had me judging 20 dance pieces for an on line competition…that was tough, really fun, mind boggling, enjoyable, serious, and tough (oh I said that)…watching, over and over again, 10 troupes and 10 soloists to give my opinion about who should win this competition.
First of all, let me say, for years, I never thought I would judge another competition. I have judged two in the past, and they felt really hard and demeaning to me, for me, and I had to put my name on it. After serious contemplation, when the person wins that you did not even think should come close to winning (because there are other judges), you shrivel a little inside. It had felt so wrong.
Truly, I had thought that in the spirit of tribal, there should be no competitions, as the philosophy behind tribal is that it is non-competitive. So why compete? I ‘ve always stated that to my tribal students. We are here to support each other, not try to out do each other.
But I also realize that many dancers make their name by participating in well organized contests. They need these contests to help put themselves out to the public, probably more so in the cabaret styles of bellydance than in tribal. And it is always a learning experience, in so many ways. Of course a big one would be to not have thin skin, so if you don’t win, try to really understand why. Which is why I took this task so seriously. To give good constructive, well-thought out critiques and also hightlight the good points. I also know that I am quite opinionated when it comes to performing. I have seen so many shows and different styles of performing, some outstanding, rock my world shows, and some embarrasingly awful.
I know what I want to see on stage, and as a teacher, I think I can have good advice for someone who wants to go on stage. I also teach Performance Preparatory classes to my dancers to learn how to watch for a good show, to trust what they love to see, to know what they want to give, and how to execute a performance. Especially since not everyone is meant to perform, or can make a good performer. Performing is about sharing your gift, after developing the skills, and entertaining an audience at the same time.
This online competition had some good and some great dancing, so it was a pleasure to watch, several times over, to assist in the process for these dancers who put their heart and soul on the line, online! Congrats to the winners as well as the non-winners. They are all winners to me, for doing what they love and following their passion.
To finish off the week, my Italian dancer, Cinzia, and her man, flew into town to visit and perform in the JamBallah Festival here in Portland, plus it was my birthday! So there was lots of celebrating for days… plus rehearsals, and sight seeing…and then my Tribal Trance workshop, which was fabulous. Then the show…a true delight. I love dancing with my Gypsy Caravan sisters—they are so full of positive energy, serious commitment, good hard dancing, willing to do the work, and have some good laughs too. Wow… I am blessed…
So that was a week in the life of me…now I’m off to teach in Boston and judge yet another competition. I”ll keep you posted!