How important is a dance name in performance?

Tanglefoot

New member
I understand the reasons which may exist for a professional for having a dance name but for the amateur I used to think such was pretentious, but now I am not so sure. I am not so sure because well performance is acting where a dance name is a character to be played whilst performing. I am thinking this because I suffer somewhat from social anxiety where my usual remedy is alcohol, but for performance alcohol would perhaps be a negative influence not the positive it usually is, so I am wondering about other methods of overcoming my performance fear and so I come to the idea of acting. that of creating a character to dance who is not me.

So those of you that have dance names, why do you have them and what influenced your choice of dance name ?
 

Daimona

Moderator
There are several reasons to choose a name differing from your own:
- Performance. If a character or performance persona help you perform better (even when being an amateur), why not?
- Security. It could be from security reasons. Lots of strange people out there.
- PR and marketing. If your accepting gigs and such and don't think your own name is exotic enough.

I've used a dance name from all three reasons above and started using my dance name rather early (can't remember the reason it became what it was anymore). The hardest thing about it was actually making other dancers to actually refer to the dance name when a gig comes up because they know me by both my dance persona and my mundane name.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I got one because I kinda thought I had to. I'd applied to dance in my first hafla and they asked what my stage name was so I put a few different choices up on my livejournal and my friends voted on it. I ended up with the name I was going to give my next cat. No, true story, for serious!

Anyway, when I get ready for performance I call it 'putting Darshiva on'. And I have found that Darshiva has a totally different personality to meatworld me. She's a lot more confident and aloof than I am. She gets stage fright which makes her a little hard to talk to at times, but she's generally cool to be around. If she has a big show, her nerves drop considerably between sets and she's a lot of fun backstage. She also has no qualms about telling other people off for drinking backstage - even big name celebrities cop it. ;)

It's amazing what a difference it makes to put on a character with your costume & makeup. ;)
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
It's also fun to choose a name for yourself. Why the heck not? Welcome back, by the way. I've missed you.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
So have I! :D Welcome home! ^^

I use a stage name for the exact same three reasons as Daimona, but I didn't come up with my name. You lovely people did! :D <3<3<3<3
 

Amulya

Moderator
It depends on which style you do, but most cabaret dancers use a stage name when they do paid gigs, I think it's a good thing in regards to privacy. Tribal dancers don't often take a stage name, not sure why the difference there.
I have used different names, but got stuck with Amulya and it's been my regular name for ages (so not much privacy anymore haha, but I am retired ATM) I never put on a different persona as my 'dance character', my dance persona is just me. I also don't look very different as a belly dancer from what I look in daily life, just the costume is different of course.
 

Mao

New member
Interesting thread! I still use my real name, but if I decide to take a stage name, it sounds like it's important to get a stage name that suits your stage character... and it probably helps to get opinions from other dancers who know your style well.
 

Aniseteph

New member
As a non-pro I feel a bit weird about using one, and for a long time I thought no, I want to dance as me, not someone else. But I've come round to the idea that it can be a very useful tool for putting mundane you aside and letting your inner diva out. Mundane names can have a lot of baggage attached. And what fun to be able to invent a new persona.
 

Amulya

Moderator
Interesting thread! I still use my real name, but if I decide to take a stage name, it sounds like it's important to get a stage name that suits your stage character... and it probably helps to get opinions from other dancers who know your style well.
Style will change over time, only very few dancers stick to exactly the same. I mean they can stick with one dance style over life, but their personal style will generally change a lot. So you got to find a name you will still like in many years time, and that's tricky!
 

Daimona

Moderator
And if you don't like your dance name (or dance persona) after a while, it is easier to change that than your mundane name.

Even if it is fun to have an exotic dance name, don't make it too exotic. Too exotic names are difficult to remember, write or pronounce for potential customers and you are bound to have errors.

IIRC one of the top dancers in Norway used to call herself Sherherazade, a name with a lot of connotations. Unfortunately this is a name that could be written and pronounced in so many ways in Norwegian that she eventually gave up and started using her mundane name instead. I don't know if this was the only reason, but at least it is something to consider when choosing yourself a stage name.
 
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Amulya

Moderator
True with pronouniation and spelling. (I ended up for a while with a name that no one could pronounce right, that name didn't last long haha)

Also check on the meaning and what names have already been taken in your country, so you don't end up with the same name as someone else. In Holland at a certain point there were so many Azizas and Sameras, very confusing.
 

Tanglefoot

New member
It's also fun to choose a name for yourself. Why the heck not? Welcome back, by the way. I've missed you.
Yeah, I am back sort of, and I am still dancing twice a week, where I am going to try for my first public performance in November for the class has started to have Haflas every six months and I chickened out of the last hafla and two whom I have given tickets too, close friends expect me to be dancing, where one of them is on at me already to find a pattern for a dance costume, as she will make it to make sure I no have practical excuses to chicken out again. Hence the idea for a dance name, not specifically to be known unless I can get over the embarrassment of having done created one for myself of which others may also see as prententious, but for my own purposes, that of, well as another said, creating a persona, where hopefully I may be able to separate the normal me from my dancing and so perform, much as actors do where there are actual celebrities that also suffer social anxiety, but when they act they are not themselves.

I have an idea for a name from a book I read which basically made me think about a lot of stuff that needed to be thought about, where the name applies to a concept in Arabic philosophy of which might apply to much that I deal with, where it is I have to research the name first to make sure I have the interpretation correct and more importantly, it doesn't offend anyone, particularly Muslims.

And I love the sound of the intonation of the word.
 
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Tanglefoot

New member
Dance name sorted, it's not only of Arabic Philosophy it's also a male fist name of which loosely translates into ''Blossoming''

And a description of a person that would bear this name is strikingly similar to my own stuff.

And even the etymology fits my understanding of my purpose

First step completed, dance costume next.
 
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Tanglefoot

New member
You're making me curious! Tell us the name :)
Zahir

http://www.first-names-meanings.com/names/name-ZAHIR.html

Thanks really to Paulo Coelho, his book of the same name made a bit of an impression on me, where I bought the book because of the name Zahir, the name caught my mind and I even took the book on a 120 mile lightweight cross country mountain bike cycle tour, where luxuries were an absolute minimum.Everything with me has got to mean something to me for it to mean something to me or I end up hating my choice.
 
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Bast

New member
I think stage names are a good way to keep your private life a little more private. I thought maybe having one would help me get into character. I used to be very different on stage but the more I do this dance the more me is coming out on stage and more dancer is coming out in everyday life and for me that's been a positive thing all round, so I don't really want to go back to thinking of myself as a character on stage.

I am an amateur and I don't yet have a stage name. Perhaps one will pop up when the time is right, but when it does it will need to be a part of me, something I really connect to and not something separate.

I like a lot of the stage names in my city, I prefer the ones that aren't prefixed by a title, "princess, queen " etc but that is purely personal taste.
 

Safran

New member
I think that if you have a name that already has a meaning for you personally, it is very good. This way you won't force yourself into having a name just because you think you need one, and might end up with something you are not happy with me. I remember when I was determined that I need a name, and spent hours going through websites with Arabic names and realising that none of them feel quite right. So, after all that agony, I decided to give up, and in a few years my name kind of found me itself. Now I react to both equally - the one that is in my passport, as well as the one that I use for dancing.
 

Tanglefoot

New member
Knowing you from the boards, that name really suits you. :)
Yes and it has connotations in another direction as well given the stuff I have been through in the last three years of which really made me question my place in this world for I know why I am here now, I am here to help and the name I have chosen, or did it choose me it is said means helper or supporter.
 
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