Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Giving a Soloist Her Due

Recently someone asked me whether a dancer may have been insulted or upset when her group started doing a tribal improvisation behind her performance at a hafla. Not being there, I couldn’t really say whether she left because of them or whether she had an urgent phone call to make. However, in her place I think I would have been at best annoyed. Here are some of the reasons that I can think of:  
  • If you are going to do this, first ask the dancer if she is okay that you do this.
  • A soloist is performing to an audience – asking her to share its attention with a group moving behind her is at best rude.
  • Worse, this dancer was doing an orientale piece with a lot of emotional connection and display of technique which deserved the audience’s full attention.
  • The (beginner) students had lots of friends and family in the audience which made it all the worse as they cheered on their mates.
  • At the best of times Orientale and Tribal don’t really mix.
  • Similarly, it is tricky to mix professional dancers and students. It can work with a teacher and her students if she adjusts her technique to fit with them – some times.
So, no, I have no idea if the dancer was upset – or if she was, if any of my reasons overlapped with hers. But I would strongly suggest, even in an informal hafla situation, you don’t show your joy of the dance by getting up uninvited and boogieing along behind a performer.