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How Do I Prepare for a Belly Dance Competition

So, you've been practicing and taking classes for a while now. Maybe you're not sure if you're ready to perform professionally yet. However, you've heard about an upcoming belly dance competition, and you're intrigued. Do you have what it takes to compete in the dance?

First of all, yes, you have what it takes. Competitions usually have different categories. So, if you're not sure you could compete in your technical skills, perhaps you'd be better suited for an artistic expression or costuming competition. That in mind, though, how do you prepare for your first competition?

Choose Your Best Piece

By the time you consider entering a belly dance competition, you should have an idea of where your passion is for the dance. Odds are, the aspect of the dance about which you're passionate is also your best type. Some people love the traditional style, others appreciate the creativity of fusion dancing. There are competitive categories for all of them.

Likewise, you know what your best moves are. Maybe you can shimmy consistently for hours on end. Perhaps your undulations are mesmerizing. It could be that your isolations have people wondering if your muscles are actually connected. Whatever your strength, play to it in the choreography. It's fine to experiment and use the competition as a reason to up your game. Just make sure the foundation is laid with your strongest moves.

Practice Your Tail Off

This one seems obvious, but a lot of dancers think they have the basics down and that's enough. You should know your dance in your sleep. In fact, you'll know you've almost practiced enough when your dance routine enters your dreams!

It may feel like your dance can feel too rehearsed if you practice a lot, that you'll lack spontaneity. The exact opposite is true. Once you know your routine inside out, you'll feel comfortable branching out a little bit. After all, you'll know your space and time so well that returning to any place in the dance is a breeze.

If possible, work extra with your dance teacher to get tips for improving your performance. If this isn't possible, ask friends to watch you perform and detail what they liked and what... let's say confused them. At the very least, record yourself and watch the video.

Prepare Early

There's no such thing as being over-practiced or over-prepared. At least one week before the competition you should be rehearsing in your full costume. If you're worried about getting the costume dirty, just put it on at the end of practice for the final run-through of your choreography.

Speaking of costumes -- more on how to select one in a moment -- keep every single item that goes with your costume together. You should have special underwear for performance -- store that with the costume. Before the day of the competition, place all the items in a dance bag. Then add the following extras:

  • Bobby pins
  • Safety pins
  • Cover up
  • Lipstick
  • Eye makeup
  • Deoderant

Every single one of those items will be worth its weight in gold the day of the competition.

Select a Costume

First and foremost, your costume should reflect your dance. So if you're entering under the Egyptian competition, the costume should be more traditional. (So should your choreography, by the way.) Fusion pieces give you more leeway. Costuming in tribal belly dancing is about as proscribed as for traditional.

Tribal Belly Dance Outfit

Next, select a professional costume. You are presenting yourself on stage in front of professionals -- they will absolutely be able to tell if your costume isn't quality. You don't have to get the most expensive, custom-made costume available. However, plan to buy a quality costume.

Finally, select a color, cut and style that is most flattering to you. You know what your best physical aspects are. Choose a costume the best puts them on display. Also, think about your choreography. Would beads hanging from the bra add to or detract from your moves. Would you like more emphasis on your hips? Your costume should make you feel confident because you know it complements your dance.

Have you ever competed in belly dancing? If so, what was your experience?

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