The Camera Eye
A short post for a beautiful Sunday evening…
For new dancers, the next scariest thing to actually performing might be watching that performance on video. I have to admit that I have never been terrified of watching my belly dance performances on video, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve enjoyed the experience. Believe me. I’m not exactly a fan of watching my own performances, but doing so is like eating my vegetables: it’s good for me.
The video camera is perhaps the best tool by which to improve your technique, stage presence, and overall appearance on stage. It will show you all those things you never realized you were doing when you practiced your performance either at home or in front of the studio mirror. The video camera doesn’t lie.
A videographer at Rakkasah East once gave me some valuable advice about watching my performances. He said to watch my performance three times in a row. The first time, he said, is when you see everything you did wrong. The second time is when you see when you did things well. The third viewing gives you enough distance from yourself to start evaluating your performance with an objective and constructive eye.
The video camera doesn’t have to just be a tool for finding ways to improve your dance. It can show you how much progress you’ve already made.
If you’ve collected videos of your performances for several years, watching your older videos will show you just how far you’ve come and how much you’ve improved. We sometimes lose sight of our progress when we’re watching our most current performance. We pick it apart and see all the things we could have done better… but I guarantee that your performance this weekend was much better than your performance last year. Or last month. Or last week. The camera gives an excellent means of measuring our growth.
Video cameras these days aren’t so expensive. You can pick up a digital video camera for less than $300 (or less if you enjoy bargain hunting) which is pennies compared to how valuable the camera is to your progression as a performer. Being able to view your performance the day after you’ve taken the stage is invaluable, whether you’ve been dancing for a year or 20 years.