Some of us have one, or two or more and some of us have yet to find one. Your Bellydance Best Buddy is that person that gives you the “real” honest feedback after your performance, encourages you to just keep shimming and shares in the many adventures that come with being a dancer.
I met my BBB a few years ago and it was like meeting the bizarro version of myself! A bit shy, an affinity for sparkly girly things and a true geek deep down inside. We connected on many levels from our love of STNG to our shared appreciation of art.
As an artist I experience many ups and downs. I go through periods where I feel great and I’m on a creating spree. I get excited about a song, map out some choreography, work on a costume and develop a clear vision for a performance. Then there are other times where I go through lows. I hate everything I do, I feel like I’m wasting my time creating art that no one cares about and I just want to give it all up. That’s usually about when my BBB rolls around and gives me a kick in the pants.
She encourages me to get out there and keep performing and creating. Reminding me that what I have is a unique blend of bellydance that comes from my training in bollywood and flamenco, and to stay true to what I love and not cave to the pressure of being like everyone else.
I had received some really mean and direct comments on the last competition I did. One of the judges said my costume looked “cheap” and that was actually one of the nicer comments I received! Admittedly I made a serious mistake in how I sewed my skirt, which was a bit too short in front. Competitions can be brutal and they can wear a dancer down, but it also is a good way to grow if you throw out the extreme end of the scale and look for trends in the judges’ feedback. Which is something my BBB taught me! Nevertheless, tough skin is required, for sure! Having a BBB I trust allowed me to share that feedback. She immediately saw what needed to be fixed and helped me overcome where I fell short. She gave me much needed perspective on the feedback, pointing out where my technique needed improvement and helped me avoid future costume mishaps by showing me how to properly cut a skirt!
Now, I’m preparing for my next competition, Belly Dance Off at Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle on Feb 20. Honestly, I don’t think I would have done it again had it not been for my BBB's encouragement and helping me get back out there! I thought to myself that the only thing I had to gain from competing again is disappointment, but actually I’ve already gained a lot and I haven’t even stepped foot on the stage yet! She’s encouraged me to create my next costume and has provided useful feedback along the way and she keeps reminding me to practice!
I hate crowds and at parties I usually slink away to the corners, it’s fair to say I have a hard time making friends. However, when I do make a friend, it’s usually a good one and I like to keep them around for quite a long time! Some of my best friends have been around 30 or so odd years! I think my BBB is in for a long ride too!
Upper left: Silliness with frequent coconspirator, photographer and friend Jennie Lewis
Middle left: embracing our weirdness
Bottom: silliness in the desert, photo by Jeanie Lewis
Top right: Selfie with blingy mirror in blingy store in Miami