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  1. #1
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Default Entrances and Exits

    How do you like to enter the performing space, whether a stage or a restaurant? How do you like to exit?

    As a student of Egyptian Style Raks Sharki I was taught to follow the music and that for a lot of the classic Belly Dance pieces the first few bars (sometimes first few minutes) are an introduction that is not to be danced to. The dancer's entrance comes when the music changes, usually from the slow taxim type music of the beginning to a faster more structured rhythm and melody. The entrance is dynamic, covers space and is used to greet the audience and claim a space for the dance. A veil may or may not be used. The introduction (with the dancer still off stage) builds suspense and interest in the music and anticipation of seeing the dancer. I like these kinds of entrances, they are fun, and upbeat.

    When I studied American Style BD I noticed that this slow part at the beginning of the music was frequently used to make a slow sensuous entrance and for the dancer to set the mood for her dance.

    I found it a huge challenge to use this improvisational introduction for an entrance. Slow entrances are way more difficult to carry off in a manner that captures the audience's attention. I have seen few dancers that can accomplish a good entrance to slow music. I really like the Egyptian Style type of entrance.

    For exits I have been taught to end with the music, even if it has been faded and there is no proper end for the music and to stay on stage and take a bow to a slow count of three.

    I actually prefer to exit while dancing, maybe waving good bye, and stopping to pick up a veil and to skip the bow. However, I have been told that audiences prefer a distinct ending to the performance.

    I have seen exits that combine these aspects, a bow to music that culminates in a distinct ending, but then an exit to a short piece of music with lots of energy that allows the dancer to make a few turns on the dance floor and leave with a flourish.

    I don't like endings and have frequently flubbed them up.

    So how do you deal with entrances and exits, what works best for you, what have you seen other dancers do that you liked?

    Marya
    Last edited by Marya; 06-20-2009 at 12:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, AmCab performances consisted of five to eight separate pieces of music, each piece with its own dance purpose. I have done the slow sensuous entrances, but always preferred the upbeat "hi, how are you, aren't you glad we're all here" sort of entrance since it got people sitting up straight and in an anticipatory mood. I also preferred to end on a high note, with the fastest, most energetic piece left for last and a gala finish in sight of the audience with bows and waves. If necessary (and it sometimes was in the dim dark days of my youth) I did a shorter and much more mellow encore that soothed everyone back down and clued them in that the performance was now officially ending.

    But now I am old and if I dance at all, I dance at parties held for my classes and/or friends and occasionally onstage at one of the rec center recitials. I start out on stage, end on stage, and limit myself to a 3-5 minute song, after which some pretty young thing brings me my walker and oxygen tank and helps me limp off into the wings.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    But now I am old and if I dance at all, I dance at parties held for my classes and/or friends and occasionally onstage at one of the rec center recitials. I start out on stage, end on stage, and limit myself to a 3-5 minute song, after which some pretty young thing brings me my walker and oxygen tank and helps me limp off into the wings.
    LOL Shanazel, Funny as ever!!!!!

    I also prefer entrances to malfufs and a strong ending. Music says what kind of entrance and exit work for it. I don't like to enter together with the music. Recently I have done world bellydance day show with Bellyqueen and Tamalyn and zillion other local dancers. I was worried, if every dancer had an oriental piece and enters after part of the music gets played out....OMG that will be a bore for audience. Suspension only works once or twice in a big group show. If you are dancing by yourself, you can choose what ever you like and what works for music.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    I wanted to add that I particularly dislike entrances that have the dancer with her back to the audience. Or starting on stage with one's back to the audience.

    Some how I end up feeling snubbed when this happens.


    Marya

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    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    Hi Marya...i think that you realy have the correct way! what you are saying and feeling in my opinion is very correct....to come in when the rithm is changing to (malfuf) the faster rithm is very very nice...that is how it supose to be the slow bit before that is to make the audiance aware that the dancer is ready to come on stage... and yes it has to be full of movement and grace and fire....so people will say wowowowowow when the dancer makes her entrance...it is very important how you entre the stage your first 3,4 minutes are very important if you can not catch your audiance there and then ,forget it! the same for exit it has to be with fire and grace and movements people have to understand that you are done now...people remeber a entrance and a exit it is very imporatant...i have skipped a lot of music becaus e the end was boring and i was thinking no way i can end the show whit that so i mix another ending to it myself....also when i like a music and it has no good beginning to entre i will mix in a good piece...so i realy think that you are thinking and feeling correct! have a nice day and happy dancing

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    As an audience I think there is something wonderful about the entrances that some of the older dancers used to do - not a lot of veil, some great posing 'look at my costume, look at me!' and acknowledging the musicians.

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    V.I.P. alosha's Avatar
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    My entrance was one thing I got commented on in the competition. The comment was that my entrance should "own the stage" right off the bat, which I failed to do. And I believe the problem was trying to do a slow entrance. So for the performance yesterday I came in faster and then did my thing. I think the audience enjoyed that much more.

  8. #8
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    I think the entrance will depend totally on the music. I mean, many belly dance songs are really upbeat and call for more energetic entrances from off-stage, which are beautiful and fun (although the 1-2 minute waits I find a bit tedious). But some of the more deep, emotional and slower old-school pieces by artists such as Warda or Nagat...those definitely call for a different approach.

    For the latter, I like it the way I was taught by Sara Farouk -- when dancers doing an emotional piece start it facing away from the audience and let the energy and emotion of the music flow through them until they're about 10 feet tall. Up until then the anticipation of the audience is building and when the dancer starts to turn toward the audience on what feels the most appropriate moment or phrase, the audience sighs and gets drawn in to the story. I have an excellent example of this by Sara on video from her performance at JOY, but I haven't asked her permission to post it or I would.

  9. #9
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marya View Post
    I wanted to add that I particularly dislike entrances that have the dancer with her back to the audience. Or starting on stage with one's back to the audience.

    Some how I end up feeling snubbed when this happens.


    Marya
    I have seen dances that begin with two solid minutes of the dancer facing away from the audience. This is near the top of my list of Do Nots for Dancers. Nearer the top is the run on stage and proceed to run around stage for a minute before flopping into the splits or doing a turkish drop that looks like the dancer was pole-axed in mid-stride.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. alosha's Avatar
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    I think that starting with your back to the stage can be quite powerful if, and only if, done right...

    There's a great clip of Carolena with her back to the audience..... starts at 3:30



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