The Afterglow…and a request for feedback!

Wednesday evening brought out a heck of a pile of belly dancers and their supporters.  We all descended upon the Bronson Centre in Ottawa and danced and cheered and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I start the planning for the Ottawa Centre Class party-Holiday Edition in September.  At that point, I know my class schedule, and since I have been organizing these parties for a few years now, I have a pretty good idea of how things may go.

Unforeseen: OC Transpo Bus Strike hitting one week before the party!!!!

Damage: Somewhat affected the dancers lists for the student groups, and definitely affected attendance and last minute ticket sales for cheering fans.

While the ticket sales were in the 350 range, I know that not everyone who purchased a ticket was able to attend.  But the audience did it’s best to give lots of good energy to the dancers!

The flow was adjusted for this event as well.  More on that in a moment…

I am blessed with what I hope is a good rep for these parties, and thus am contacted by dancers directly who would like to perform.  It also might be the $5 ticket fee that everyone pays, but it makes it inexpensive for student dancers,frugalistas and families to come out and see what great fun and skills are found in our belly dance community.

Back to the flow:  with over 35 performances originally booked for the event, even with a 3-5 minute guideline for each performance, that’s a long show!  After asking the teachers what they thought, I had to make some choices and hope for the best. I organize, am responsible all the financial aspects of, and take most credit for the event; I could not do it without the support of my colleagues and friends who are also dancers/volunteers/teachers.

The choices involved imposing tighter time limits on the music choices and with only a few logical bending of the rule for combined classes, everyone seemed fine with the limits.  It also meant that I needed to deal with introductions of each group in a timely and efficient manner.  Dropping an official MC and choosing the “Voice from Beyond” method, I was able to share the task of simply announcing the group name before each performance without listing each of the sometimes up to 12 dancers who would be on stage at any one time!

If you were there, this is all pretty much: ‘Been there, saw that” and for you, I have more coming later in this post!

Back to the reflections…The dancers were all very organized and ready to go – AiWA!

There were a few on stage glitches, but this is a student show for the most part, so that is to be expected.  I have always tried to make my shows as welcoming and relaxing as possible for all dancers – from the first timers to the seasoned pros.  I would say, “Leave the judgements and egos at the door” – but really, I have never had to actually say that as people just seem to “get it”.

The Bronson Centre has a new sound and light system in place.  Dave, our sound technician for the evening, was fabulous!  This really nice, easy going and helpful guy made the evening so easy!!!!  Thanks Dave of Wall Sound!  Sorry I don’t remember his last name, but kudos will go out all over the place!

K was in charge of backstage as usual, Michele arrived with her gorgeous fabrics to decorate, and my new main helpers on the front lines were Katheryne, Cynthia, Rain and Chantal, along with Jocelyne helping once the show started!

Howard Sandler was our official photog for the evening and Darner Media shoots and edits the video for the performers!  

I am so grateful to all of these people for helping make the evening run smoothly, the dancers for taking the time to come out and share their talents with us, and the audience members for being so supportive as they watch the dancers develop their craft!

Three cheers for the Ottawa Belly Dance Community!!!! 

So, if you were there, and are therefore a part of the community, I am asking for some feedback.  Just a couple of questions and also if you have any further comments, you can submit them in the comments section!  Please note that i tried to create a poll but something is funky, so regular questions it is!

 And if you were not there but feel like voicing an opinion – go ahead!

1 – How was the “flow” of the evening for you?

a- Great – fast and fun!

b- Pretty good, but I felt I wanted to hear more about each group before they danced.

c-Good but still too long of an evening for me, I had to leave before things ended.

2-Did you get a sense that this would be/was a “community” event?

a- Yes, I had that sense when I decided to come, and that was why I came!

b- Sort of, though I had no real connection to the community other than a friend who was dancing in the show.

c-No, I did not really think of it as a community event.

3- Did you have fun?

a-yes

b-no { what?}

 

If you have thoughts you would like to share, please feel free!  

I do my best to make the evening run as smoothly as possible, and there are always new things for me to learn about audience perspective etc.

Thanks for reading! Pics will be up soon!

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16 thoughts on “The Afterglow…and a request for feedback!

  1. 1 – a
    I only have the last show to go on, but I much preferred last night’s format over June’s. As much as we appreciate the individual dancers, I think there’s a better flow of energy (lots of clapping in time with music, cheering) when things are short and sweet – and the focus is on the dancing. And of course, technical difficulties were hard to find at this show compared to last year’s.

    2 – a
    This holds true for last year’s event as well, although being involved this year meant I really felt included. There were no egos and lots of smiles! The finale helps get a sense of how much fun belly-dancing is, and the eclectic variety of styles (well-spaced throughout the evening) gave a taste of a diverse yet close-knit group!

    3 – a
    Straight A’s!

  2. 1 – a: not announcing the names and credentials of each dancer in a troupe really helped speed things up and created a nice pace for the evening.

    2 – a: being the husband of a dancer, I knew it was a community event, but at the same time we’ve been having fun inviting friends and other extended family to come and watch the dancing, and I think they’ve been enjoying it.

    3 – a: yes!

  3. Hi!

    My answer would have to be “a” for everything. I liked the faster flow, enjoyed the sense of community and had a great time. AND my always-supportive “other” really enjoyed the pace too.

    I would say a good time was had by all.

  4. 1 – How was the “flow” of the evening for you? a- Great – fast and fun!

    – I much prefer a show that keeps things running. If people really want more info about the performers they’re seeing, they can consult the program.

    I notice that there were quite a few duplicate numbers from FLOD show just a couple of weeks ago; one thing that could help trim your length if you have too many dancers is to try to limit the repeat performances. If teachers want to showcase their students for a different crowd, perhaps they can choose one class to do so, instead of repeating all class dances that were recently in another show. This would also keep it interesting for those audience members who go to all the community events.

    2-Did you get a sense that this would be/was a “community” event? a- Yes, I had that sense when I decided to come, and that was why I came! –

    – always the case with your events

    3- Did you have fun? a-yes!

    – as always! 🙂

  5. That’s a really good point Jocelyne!

    I think I get torn between wanting to give great routines a chance to shine more than once, but at the same time, give new and exciting shows to the audience!

    I knew that at least three routines would be repeats from the FLOD show, and that some of the music choices were also repeats from previous shows. And the three routines – I think it was three, maybe four, were all so great, that I was happy to see them again in my show.

    But that does give some food for thought when I am trying to run a tight ship 🙂

  6. 1 – How was the “flow” of the evening for you?

    a- Great – fast and fun!

    2-Did you get a sense that this would be/was a “community” event?

    a- Yes, I had that sense when I decided to come, and that was why I came!

    3- Did you have fun?

    a-yes

  7. I much prefer this new “voice from beyond” format. It was better for the performers too. Waiting to go on and wondering when the MC was going to be finished always messed with my concentration.

    Not just the great sense of community but the camaraderie too was genuine. All the dancers help each other out with costume hook-ups, hair, make-up and moral support. It is such a good feeling to hear another dancer, that you respect and admire or a total stranger, say what a great performance that was.

    I had a blast

  8. 1) Flow was great. I agree that if people would like to know more about the dancers it could be placed in the program. If the information is put in the program then it would become a keepsake for the dancers and most likely kept instead of thrown out.

    2) I always find these shows really highlights how fantastic a community we have. Everyone is supportive even when a dancer didn’t feel she performed her best.

    3) I had a blast and can’t wait to get dancing again.

    Jocelyne had a good comment on trying to cut out repeat choreographies that were done in previous shows; this issue really was highlight between Jewel’s and Tracey’s shows last June unfortunately but not intentionally.

    I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of being in two of them for the Christmas show.

    The first was the cane dance from FLOD, which I had a better performance at. I quite kicked myself last Wednesday for a crappy performance but thanks to the girls in the changing room they brought a smile back on my face. But I must also say, besides just grabbing every opportunity to dance myself, it’s nice to know that Annie and Safiya love us so much that they just can’t help but try to show us off every chance they get. 😉

    The second was the silk veil routine. This dance was performed in at the student fundraiser in April as well but there was different people and the choreography was changed. In April, there was a solo portion of the dance with a group of six back up dancers. For this show, we removed the solo to showcase the backup dancers, two of which were performing for the first time ever; I was so proud of them. We also changed the choreography slightly so that it would be a little fresher for the show.

    I guess, maybe if teachers want to show case their students with the same choreography, perhaps they could find ways to change it a little, especially for shows that are so close together. I know, this is not always possible due to timing as well as I know the goal most often is to just have fun and get out there and dance.

    Overall, because it was a fast paced evening, it made the dances that many had seen more recently, easier to watch. Either way, I know I did a lot of cheering because I love to dance and I love to encourage everyone I meet to try this dance form. All hail belly dance and this wonderful community!!!!!! 🙂

    Thank you Tracey for your hard work and the volunteers that did a great job making things run smoothly!!!! Hip Hip Horaay!!!! 🙂

  9. Thanks Erika – good ideas to add some new dimensions to existing routines! That was actually done to two of my own routines for the show.

    Both of my intermediate classes performed routines that had appeared in the June show, but so changed that both were really new routines for each group!

    And yes, all hail us and the many volunteers!:-)

  10. 1 – How was the “flow” of the evening for you?

    a- Great – fast and fun!
    Even my family who had an hour and a quarter drive home stayed right to the end.

    2-Did you get a sense that this would be/was a “community” event?

    a- Yes, I realize people come together to show what they have learned and to pass it off to others. It is also a way to know other teachers styles if you are looking to expand and take classes with another teacher.

    3- Did you have fun?

    a-yes, I have and will always have fun at these events (ok I have more fun behind the scenes and enjoying watching the whole show on the DVD but that is just me)

    I realize how much you put into this and that it is not an easy task.
    Thanks for doing this Tracey!!!!

    My dad took 200 pics but cannot figure out where to put them (guess cause I don’t know if people want there pics posted.)

    Cannot wait for June (will have to get holidays again to come down to Ottawa).

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