How’s Your Solo Game?

Sweating profusely. Sticky palms. Dry mouth. The sudden urge to pee. Performing in public can be a terrifying experience. The genre doesn’t matter. A person can have an adrenaline response to all manners of public exposure, whether she is a seasoned veteran or a complete newbie. For me, dancing in public was not rally a big deal. I am a bit of a natural born ham. (Shhh…none of my long term friends are allowed to weigh in on this.) The terrifying part was performing ALONE.

Yup. Being on that stage is no big deal to me when I have others there to share the experience. It is as if being a part of a group deflects the gaze of too many people at one time. When I am a part of the group, I am only representing one faction of a population. There are equal representations with the entire group being there. It is the dreaded solo that strikes fear in my being. I know I am not alone!


I find many western raqs soloists like to use props. I love props. However, I have been forcing myself to perform solos sans all props. If I have a longer set – let’s say a fifteen minute bar/restaurant set – I think utilizing a veil entrance, followed by zilling and ending with a hard core drum solo would be bad ass! However, in most stage productions here in the US, each dancer or troupe is allowed about five to seven minutes. I started to feel as if I had a death grip on my veil…or cane…or hat…or fan veil..or what have you. WHY??? Why was I clinging to these things? Props can be shields to keep the audience focused on something else besides my dancing. For me, I felt as if I was a magician, keeping the audience focused on my prop to mask my lack of ability to convey musical emotions. So…I have ditched them. I still love my props. Trust me! Nothing says cool and awesome quite like a huge scimitar on a dancer’s head whilst she/he moves about. However, sometimes I feel it is time to dance with feeling, and leave the props behind. I have a very long way to go in this area, but I’m working on it. How about you? How’s your solo performance?

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