The CopycatAdd to favorites
Imagine this… you have a great idea, one that you have been thinking about for quite awhile. You’re excited about it and you feel it’s a good idea and one that will succeed. You mention it to one or two friends and before you know it, the Copycat took your idea, ran with it and now it’s a production, show or dance play in the making and you are given no credit. When this happened to me, first of all I was stunned, secondly I was angry and thirdly I wanted to kick myself in the booty because I had a big mouth. Maybe this can be called a guilt by association reaction because why would I even want to kick myself? The Copycat is conniving because they can make you think it was their idea in the first place leaving you feeling foolish and confused.
Sometimes I think it’s just par for the course with entertainment but there needs to be certain boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed especially if you are friends or dance acquaintances. But this is only the tip of the iceberg; let’s not forget choreography, combinations and verbiage. I don’t want this to be my rant on Copycats but I think it’s a discussion that needs to happen. I know dancers who have had combinations, parts of choreographies or themes from choreographies and productions copied. So I wonder what you all think and if it’s happened to you. What can be done about this and what do we do to stop it in the first place. Is this even logical or reasonable to assume there can be a solution for the Copycat problem?
Okay…here’s something funny…it’s actually in my book. There can even be Copycats in other areas of dance which include body image. Yes, I had breast augmentation years ago and I actually had a dancer acquaintance run to a surgeon’s office and get her breasts done right after I told her I was getting mine done. She became an expert within a few months and when she showed me her doctor’s work I realized how happy I was because I didn’t have bowling balls for breasts. There was a moment when I think the words bowling balls almost slipped off my tongue but it didn’t and I was grateful that I just smiled. I think the look on my face said it all and then I showed her mine, and I knew from the look on her face that she knew mine looked more natural. Sometimes even a Copycat can end up with something completely different and in my case with my breasts; they are original only to me and still happy to this day!
You have all heard me complain about being plagiarized in a dance magazine by a well known dancer. That was the first time I had ever seen Daniel upset to that degree and it was my first time finding out that even well known dancers don’t have any qualms about seeing what they can get away with. I think I was more shocked by this dancers audacity then anything else but today because I write so much and I’m out in the world more, I probably would do something about it. Back then, around 4 years ago, I was not as confident as I am now in my words and I feel words are as personal as the person speaking or thinking them even if they are typed in a blog or written in an article. Words can be taken and borrowed but the originator of the thought is the genuine creator. A Copycat doesn’t have the joy of being inspired directly by thoughts and ideas; they take what is already conveniently apparent and try to make it fit into an unoriginal concept. This can be said for studio curriculums that are personalized by the teacher instructing their class or choreographies that come from music then formulated into ideas and then put into movement and combinations. Each person has their own stamp on how they put together moves and those moves are original to their body. That’s why in workshops most dancers don’t look as fluid and at ease with the steps as the workshop instructor, the moves aren’t original to their inspired creativity. We can follow movement and try to feel the inspiration of various choreographies and for most of us there are moves that just feel awesome and others that don’t feel good in our bodies at all. But workshops allow for this. Taking a choreography and borrowing every step and taking credit for the originality of it, is (I’ll put it bluntly) stealing. Mentioning the name of the choreographer should be a given and if a dancer performs a choreography well then both the original choreographer and admiring dancer win. A dance performed beautifully is a symphony for the eyes. There is no better compliment to any choreographer then seeing her or his original thoughts and ideas come to life in a dancer who understands their inspired and original concepts. Troupes are the best example of this and when they perform well, there is nothing more breathtaking then seeing a group of women demonstrating their understanding of conceptual ideas and inspiration…together! A Copycat just doesn’t understand this.
There can be Copycats who dress like us and pretend they are us. I actually had this happen to me in my twenties when I was married to a cowboy/artist. I dressed in my gypsy skirts, bolero and cowboy hats and peasant blouses which for New Mexico is called the Santa Fe style. But I was born here so I was just dressing like my heritage. One day a friend came into a gallery I had at the time and told me there was a woman in town saying she was me and telling people about my lifestyle which included living in a teepee and my ex. Since he knew me he told her that she was not me and that she should stop telling people this. In the art world I am known as Rainbow (it’s my medicine name) so it was weird having another person going around telling people they were me, Rainbow. A few weeks later this woman came into the gallery dressed just like me all the way to the bolero hat and I confronted her with lying to people. She laughed and said she was just joking around but I told it wasn’t funny and that she needed to stop immediately. I had many friends who where police officers so I wasn’t too worried but she was fixated on me and wouldn’t leave us alone. We left for the winter to go work cattle in Mexico so after that I never heard from her again. I almost felt like I was in the movies called, The Body Snatchers and Single White Female, and to say I wasn’t paranoid is an understatement. I was always looking over my shoulder worried she was right behind me. This kind of Copycat is demented to say the least.
There is an unusual kind of Copycat, one who watches from the sidelines everything you do, then in a moment of opportune time they try to take away your thunder. I remember I was written up in the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the whole experience was just amazing. The photographer and writer came to the restaurant I worked at called Byblos and I experienced alittle bit of what it was like to be treated like a celebrity. The article came out two months later and right after it did I received a phone call from a dance friend telling me that all her friends called her to congratulate her on being in the news paper. She said they mistook my photo for her which I thought was strange since she was 4 inches taller then me and a different body type. A few days later after the phone conversation, we had lunch and the whole time she talked about how people thought she was in the paper. She didn’t say congratulations to me or say she even liked the article. Personally I was a bit mortified with the article because I sounded like an airhead and I don’t think I came across as having a very high IQ. But all I wanted from her was a congratulations and it didn’t happen. Some of my other dance friends didn’t bring it up until I asked what they thought of it and I got a few, “Oh, it was nice” or “I didn’t know you were in the newspaper,” those unfortunate kind of things that say so much with so little verbiage. The only two people who congratulated me that first week were the restaurant owner Marios and my daughter who was aged 4 at the time. I showed her the photo of me and she hit it with her wand and said, “Pretty Mommy.” After that I didn’t care if anybody else said anything, my daughter’s approval was more then enough.
Another example of this type of Copycat is someone who thinks they will let you do all the work and then come in and take credit for all of YOUR hard work and efforts. The Copycat hears what you did and then speaks to people with this inside knowledge leading them to believe that they were the ones who did all the work. This kind of Copycat is more prevalent in our business then you would think. One time I brought in two dance friends into an article that was going to be written in a local magazine just right after 9/11 and what ended up happening is one of my dance friends took over the conversation with the writer and ended up being the expert in the article. It was suppose to be varied view points, that’s why I brought them in. She made it clear to the writer she was the “more” famous dancer at the table and I remember just looking at her and wanting to wring her neck. At first I tried to make it okay but as I thought about it more, I felt it just wasn’t right. If a person is invited to partake in something like that, they should respect the person who invited them in. This is just another way a Copycat tries to steal your thunder.
So these are just a few of my experiences with Copycats…write in and share your stories. I know there are many of you out there who have dealt with a Copycat. I would love to read your experiences!
Trail Blazing Journey
Okay…doing pretty good this week. Daniel and I are implementing a protein shake into our busy schedules for one meal. I do this in the morning and we also add in a mineral complex from Youngevity into the shake. Just before we go to bed we take a cleansing pill that does its job in the morning! So I am thinking that it will take about 2 weeks before I see if there is a difference. I’ll keep you all posted.
On another note, I’m getting ready to do my videos next week. I’m hoping for an okay from my doctor which I think I will get. So I will be doing Thursday and Friday Training from home. In order to get the Training From Home videos go to www.bellydancevillage.com