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Belly Dance Behind the Scenes: Dress Rehearsal


My days teaching high school theatre serve me well in belly dance!


I know and embrace the importance of the full dress rehearsal.


Briefly, here are five whys and hows of our dress rehearsals.


Note: We were in the fortunate position of having class in the venue we're performing in, so we had access to the stage/lights/sound.


The Whys
  1. Dress Rehearsals Provide Confidence

The Unknown is its own source of fear. Dress rehearsals give a sense of the real thing and take away one element of anxiety.


2. Dress Rehearsals Provide a Sense of Pride and Professionalism

Something changes when everyone sees each other in makeup and sequins and full regalia. "We look like professionals!" several women exclaimed when we held our first dress rehearsal ever on Wednesday. They began to fully realize how much work they had put in and how amazing they were as they sparkled under the spotlight.


The Hows (This changes depending on situation)

1. Hair, makeup, costumes!

Feeling the costume before performing is important. We danced in our full skirts for a few weeks, but putting everything together allows dancers to see if elements of the costume need adjusted.


I also firmly believe that hair needs to be done to make sure it isn't an irritant. For example, our skirt dance has several places where we bend over. I wore my fascinator to make sure it wouldn't fall off.


2. Three time's the charm

By dress rehearsal, the choreography should be set/ready, so there's no reason to over-beleaguer the run-throughs. We had to make some changes because three performers were out with illness, but these were minor tweaks.


I ran the song once with the troupe, then they danced without me. I gave some feedback, and we danced one final time.


After that, we got a drink, changed outfits, and followed the same procedure. Although I had scheduled two hours, one was enough, and we were finished!


3. Entrances and Exits (Gallumphing will not be tolerated!)

Entrances and exits are incredibly important--these are the first and final times the audience will see the dancers and leave a lasting impression.


My philosophy is that the performance starts as soon as the audience can see the dancers, not when the music starts.


I also know that often at least one performer will be missing for a major performance, so I set the entrances/exits the day of the dress rehearsal based on the final structure of the piece.



Dress rehearsals are also a time to encourage your people!


They've put in a lot of time and effort and money, and they need to know what they do matters!


Are you a theatre/dancer type? What helps you in dress rehearsals?







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I've always had this love for dance while I grew up in a home that didn't understand my relentless passion for it. I don't believe I have a natural gift for it, but I am deeply drawn to it and to express myself through it. It began with tap and ballet when I was about 4 or 5. I performed on a little truck stage in Omaha, Nebraska. I felt like a princess in my little pink leotard. When moving to Michigan, my mother wanted to well-round me so I spent the next 10 years trying to love classic sports. When I was old enough to drive I secretly spent almost every weekend at dance clubs in Detroit that wou…

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Replying to

I will check you tonight on those dates!

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Guest
Jan 08, 2022

This was such a fun read for me. Firstly because I briefly took belly dance class as a form of exercise many years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's definitely a work out. Secondly, I enjoyed this read, because it brought back SO MANY wonderful memories of dress rehearsals and final performances of my theatre years. The excitement and thrill of making sure everything was in place and ready for the final performance. It was often the first time, the music was in full play (whether live or not), and standing behind the curtain waiting for our cues. Ahhh... Thanks for that memory. Break a leg... :-)

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 08, 2022
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I'm glad you enjoyed the dance form and the blog post!


Theatre is such fun. I would love to be part of Kismet or something similar and do a mix of belly dance and theatre.

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Guest
Jan 08, 2022

As someone who doesn't perform on stage it's interesting and admirable to learn how much preparation goes into every aspect of the program. (Tamara)

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 08, 2022
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I think that's part of the love of performance--so much work but such a tangible reward!

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Guest
Jan 07, 2022

I took belly dance classes for approximately five years. Great source of not only fun, but also kept my waist small 😄

~ Rachel Lavern

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 07, 2022
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It does work the oddest muscles!

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Dominique Brooks
Dominique Brooks
Jan 07, 2022

I remember the importance of dress rehearsals! It has been a while since I participated in one. Typically we had them when I was taking dance classes as a young girl and teen. We didn't do them often when I was on the high school and college dance teams.

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 07, 2022
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Dress rehearsals with adults is so rewarding!

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