Before the show:
I know it is so hard to commit in advance but it is even harder to hold a show if you aren’t sure if anyone is coming. I talk about that more here in my blog post discussing how waiting till the last minute kills events.
I can’t count how many times I see people ask questions that are already answered, ie: what time does it start, how much is it, where is it etc. (I have been guilty of it too). 9 times out of 10 the organizer has the information plain as day if you take the extra minute to look for it instead of adding another item to someone's to-do list.
Be on time
This one is a huge one. Nothing kills or delays a show faster then half the audience strolling in 30 minutes after show start time. The poor dancers who are slated to start the show end up dancing to emptiness. Also I have seen this spin into a crazy cycle where the organizer starts the show late because the audience shows up late. Then because they start late dancers start showing up late (because who wants to wait 2 hours in costume). Then because the dancers are late the audience comes on late….etc…and the next thing you know you are starting the 7:00pm show at midnight.
Hey you are there to have a good time right? Nothing wrong with that. This is belly dance so clap, cheer, zagareet, enjoy yourself and be part of the moment. I know hearing the crowd with me engergizes my performances.
Don't over photo/video
What I mean by this is don’t be a distraction. I have seen people cause disturbances and issues trying to be the next Nat. Geo. photographer. I know people love their tech but take a minute to put the phone down and enjoy the show person to person as it was meant to be.
Play nice/speak nice
People can hear your and your words effect others. You don't have love every performance but if you cant say anything nice then keep it for outside of the venue in your own private space. I once had an audience member of a belly dance halfa loudly discuss how fat I was and how much I sucked loud enough to be overheard on the other side of the auditorium...lets just say I wasn't the only one looking bad there...
Think, share, tag
If you take photos/videos take a moment to think. Consider sharing them privately with the dancer, they will really appreciate it as it is near impossible to get photos and videos. Also if you are posting online take a moment to consider if you would want yourself tagged in that photo. My personal favorite is people uploading videos to Youtube and sharing before I have seen the video or known of its existence.
Thank you for taking a few moments to read ways to help a support great shows as an audience member. I recently danced a hafla that had a wonderful audience. Everyone was kind, on time and really into being an amazing crowd to connect with. It is one of the special things about this dance, no 4th wall. What are your favorite tips for the audience? Let me know in the comments, until the next long island belly dance post, (and hopefully part 3 wont take so long to post).
Tips, Tricks and Life of a Long Island Entertainer