Badmouthing dancers on the internet. Stop it.
Just a little note on something that bothers me.
We’ve all seen it: Someone posts an unsuspecting dancer’s performance on a bellydance discussion forum and other dancers jump right in to badmouth the performance as if the dancer in question has no access to the forum, and as if she or he would never hear that other dancers are trash talking about her.
The internet, with its convenient anonymity and inherent distance between users, is no excuse for demeaning or insulting language.
Under the guise of “protecting traditional bellydance” or “starting meaningful discussion”, I’ve seen conversations turn into bash-fests. Just because you don’t know a dancer and you think her performance was not good, lacking taste, or otherwise offensive, that does not mean that you should insult her on the internet in a forum in which she can read the comments. In my mind, this behavior is akin to schoolyard drama between pre-teen girls.
What are you doing when you bash a dancer on the internet? You’re probably trying to validate your own dance by putting down someone else’s performance. Instead of spending your time on the internet looking for what’s wrong with someone else’s dance, I say go work on your own. If there’s something about another’s performance that bothers you, and that person hasn’t solicited feedback directly from you or the internet forum in question, please don’t talk about that dancer as though they’ll never read it. And if it bothers you, don’t do it yourself. If you’re an instructor, you can teach your own students to avoid dancing like the dancer in question… but please don’t mention the dancer by name.
This sort of behavior does nothing to lift up this dance form. It isn’t professional. It just isn’t nice. I believe it does more damage to the reputation of the dancer doing the badmouthing than the one being badmouthed. But maybe that’s just because I don’t like bullies. And I know we’re not all nice all the time, but at least try when you’re speaking in public, especially in a forum that is searchable, archived, and available for anyone to read.