Audience Etiquette

The Audience’s Etiquette

If attending a belly dance show then it goes without saying that arriving late and disturbing other guests is considered unthoughtful. Mobile phones or other beeping apparatus should be turned off. Chatting or slurping on a drink is distracting to others’ enjoyment. Constant critisism of the performers can be extremely annoying to other guests within hearing distance who are actually enjoying the show. The performers themselves can even be distracted by audience noise as it is surprising how far it carries. It is also a good idea to use the lavatory before the show begins. Do not forget the cough drops if needed.

The most important point for a guest to remember, attending formal or informal belly dance shows, is that the public is there to see the performers and not another guest. Thus avoid drawing attention to yourself away from the performers by inappropriate behaviour. One example of this is to obviously talk loudly during a performance. At less formal occasions there could be children attending who can be restless. I have seen a performance made difficult by children who got in the way of the performer. Luckily nobody was tripped up that time but accidents could be caused by unruly children. It the case of our show, I said kids can come but I stressed the WELL-ATTENDED part! Don’t expect other audience members to be lenient about your children.

If you like what you see and you want to show your appreciation, you can clap (of course), hiss (I swear this is not creepy or inappropriate as some of my male friends seem to think it is at a belly dance show), OR, my favorite, you can perform a Zaghareet. This is that awesome ululating sound you hear so often at belly dance shows. It sounds like this….

The zaghareet is easy to learn. Just go “li li li li li” in a high falsetto voice. The faster the better. Place the edge of your open right hand on your face between your nose and upper lip, palm down, with the hand angled so that your fingers and palm cover the sight of your flapping tongue. Don’t overdo your zaghareets. Although it’s a wonderful way to show the dancer how much you’re enjoying the show, it can be annoying if done too frequently. Typically at the end of the dance is good.

Very often belly dance gatherings are friendly parties where people know each other. The above-mentioned etiquette can seem harsh for such a gathering, but the general purpose of etiquette is to respect the other. It is common sense then to ensure that the whole experience is enjoyable for performers and guests alike. Obviously at the friendlier gatherings a little more show of appreciation is acceptable and encouraged.

There is a good chance that dancers or guests might attend dance parties and dinners afterwards to celebrate the success of the show.

After our show this Saturday (which is more informal), there will be an after party courtesy of Lena and Josh at Borrowed Earth Emporium. BYOB and dress in full Halloween gear. dancing, beer pong, karaoke, and more! Essentially, most performers dance to have fun, and you should have fun with them, and getting to know one another after the show is over is all part of the joy! Some come have fun with us!

Hips & Shimmies!


3 Replies to “Audience Etiquette”

  1. Word, Britt! You know, during the arts fest, some drunk lady got up on the front edge of the amphitheater and started doing (drunken) impressions of the belly moves. While her enthusiasm is commendable (I guess,) it was kinda… distracting. And annoying. And histrionic 😛

  2. I wish more people knew not to overdo it. I was at a show once, with a woman behind me, just belting it out, beginning, middle, and end of just about every performance. It was right in my ear and most annoying and distracting. I would wince almost every time and was barely able to pay attention to the show while she was hollering.

  3. Yeah, it's great to participate. I actually get really uncomfortable if the audience is TOO quiet because then I'm thinking, "Wow, they are so not into what I'm doing," but if they clap or cheer or do zaghareets or hisses then I'm like, "okay, I'm okay." But people that are just going on the WHOLE time are a little obnoxious.

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