Floralia Workshop Sneak Peek: Restaurant Dancing Tips and Secrets

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Restaurant Dancing Tips and Secrets - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

Here is the  Floralia Workshop info for those of you who are interested in coming out to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico April 29th-May 2, 2010. Daniel wanted me to put in more detail in regards to what I will be teaching and I thought it was a good idea. I will blog again and give you all some hotel information so you will know where to stay and keep up with the busy schedule Selena Kareena has in store for everybody. I can’t wait!!

Restaurant Methodology

Restaurant dancing to me is really an art and if it’s looked upon as just another gig or venue then the outcome can be depressing and time consuming. The bottom line is if you are making money with your dancing then you have to figure out the best way to make the most out of each job you get.

It can be so disheartening to leave a restaurant gig with little or no tips and customers ignoring you. I can remember through out my restaurant years that if I left it up to the customers to make me feel good then I was setting myself up for disappointment. Most people who walk into a restaurant have one two things on their mind and that is to eat and relax. It’s our job to entertain them and how we entertain them is the key to making better tips and having an enthusiastic audience that wants to watch us perform.

Let’s face it, not everybody walking into a restaurant is going to be thrilled with our presence, dance ability or smile. As a matter of fact a few times I was an unintentional instigator to unwanted dramas and usually the culprit was what people thought I represented. Not everybody is going to walk into a Middle Eastern or Persian restaurant and be an expert in our dance field. I have found American audiences to be a bit more narrow-minded when it comes to our dance form only because of what they see on TV and lack of education.

People react to us based on self confidence issues, insecurities and phobias. I mean a couple can come in who had an argument just hours before walking into the restaurant and there you are dancing for them without a clue. They probably don’t like each other at that particular moment so this means that we have to either read minds or earn a Psychology Degree within a matter of minutes. But I have to say that as you dance for grumpy couples the clues do become obvious very quickly. The glare from the wife, the husband gobbling up his food in a very enthusiastic manner; making sure he doesn’t look at you, pretty much says “Go away!”  This is restaurant dancing and this is why it is not always the favorite dance gig to perform at. But Restaurant dancing can help you become  a more intuitive dancer that understands her environment and takes charge.  Add in my tips and you will be able to change the way you perform, relate to and engage your audience so that that not only do the tips get better but  you feel better about your dancing!

What you will learn:

In Place Dancing

1. How to make the most out of small spaces and how to work your body so that you can do “in-place” dancing. This will include “in-place” combinations/layering/speed change. Remember the opposition hips I talk about? This is when they come in handy and make the difference in tight spaces.

Body Positioning

2. Angles, turns and leg work that allows for awkward spaces or crowded rooms with no space between tables.

Arm Positioning

3. Arm work that works with small spaces so that the occasional smack or slap on the head doesn’t happen.

Restaurant Etiquette

4. Restaurant etiquette and people skills 101. Remember the two C’s; Compliment vs. Competition. People ultimately want to be entertained so if a dancer can approach a table with the knowledge of knowing important clues then the chances of making more tips will be greater.

Remember that you are a Performer who Entertains

5. Stage performing is different then restaurant performing so remember that you have to have a different mind set for each. I have seen dancers perform at night clubs and stage who dance the exact same way for restaurants and it doesn’t work. Not everyone wants to dance in close proximity to people so figure out first what type of venue you prefer; stage, night club or restaurant. Then decide what type of dancer you are which might include all three venues or just stage and night club. The best way to think of each venue is like this; they are 3 sisters, related but different. Each venue has a personality all it’s own so understand your environment first before you perform.

Restaurant Bloopers

6. The faux pas of restaurant performing can be unintentional but hysterically funny. Bloopers remind us of how human we are and they also remind us to stay grounded and laugh even if we are laughing at ourselves. Unfortunately for me, I have plenty bloopers to share with you all but fortunately for you they will give you a good laugh.

Workshop information:

Selena Kareena is the Floralia Belly Dance Festival Coordinator.                                                                                                  [email protected] www.myspace.com/floraliabellydance www.myspace.com/selenakareena 575-743-2048

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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"

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