Eeek! What did I get myself into?
I'm SO FREAKING EXCITED AND TERRIFIED!
I haven't yet started to prep yet... well, I do have most of my costume separated from the rest of the clothes and hung up (instead of on the floor! Adulting, yay!), and I'm going to find my zills soon (meh, maybe ten minutes before I have to leave, who cares). I've run the music a couple times, and I'm feeling kind of okay.
Let's see how this goes on the Day Of.
Anyway... here's something more substantial than just "Yay, performing tomorrow! Oh noes!" One of the things I have always struggled with is looking stupid. I am not a stupid woman. I am very comfortable in my identity as a Smart Person. I am well-read, well-educated, and I have a lot to say on a variety of topics. I can do fractions. I can speak languages other than my native tongue. I understand Science.
But I hate hate hate hate looking stupid. Not knowing where to go, who to speak to, what to say, or how to begin. I once ducked out of a store because I accidentally addressed a customer as an associate, and I was too embarrassed to keep shopping. I avoid social situations where I don't know how things will go. I didn't dance.
Fortunately, because of my Meetup group experience (explicitly for nerds, by nerds, welcoming to any and all Awkward Turtles as long as they don't remind us why we Can't Have Nice Things), I am far more comfortable with admitting that there are Things that I Need To Be Told, and it may be mildly awkward to tell me, I am much happier dealing with 5 awkward points for having to be told, versus 67 awkward points for Fucking It Up in the moment. After a long discussion with our dear Grace, here are the things you (may) need to be told!
1) There will be a Dancer's Call at any and all haflas, events, etc. It might not even be an explicit Thing, but the time you may need to arrive could well be different than the time that the event will start. It doesn't matter if the event starts at 8 and you're not going on until 9:30, if the master of ceremonies (dance sisters/etc) wants you there at 7:30, your happy ass better be there at 7:30 or you might not be asked back.
2) If you are dancing, wear a cover-up. Something. Anything. Try to make it look nice, i.e. a scarf, veil, fancy robe, Ghawazee coat, etc. No matter how lovely, it will look Awkward As Hell to stop dancing and put on a pink angora cardigan with mother-of-pearl buttons, especially when you're in full tribal kit. Or a Bears jersey. You cover up before and after your performance. Grace mentioned that having street clothes or removing portions of one's costume after a performance is de rigeur, but I'm not going to be the one that codifies this as fact.
3) If there is alcohol at the event, it would probably be embarrassing or annoying to the other dancers for you to get pissed before (or even after) your performance. Same with any other drugs save for prescriptions. If you need to get baked, some venues may frown on that.
4) Zaghareeting, yipping, and hissing are all ways to show your appreciation. For those of us in the non-bellydance community, applauding politely is always welcome.
5) Along with #1, arrive 75% done, if not completely done. That is, costume on, makeup done, hair done, accessories on, cover on... all of it. You may not have a place to do your hair. You may not have a place to dress, or a mirror to put your face on.
6) This is one that even my awkward ass doesn't need to be told... Don't be a diva, a bitch, a stage parent, or a Wacko Meanie. Be nice, say hi, smile, compliment others' performances. If you have to say something nasty, do it in your car by yourself. Until then, greet and talk to other dancers. You never know... you might make a friend, find a new mentor, get inspired for a costume idea, or at least have a good story to tell over your next craft circle meeting.
I'm sure there will be more as I perform more, but that's a good place to start!