This topic contains 16 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 2 years, 8 months ago.
The primary reason I didn't go to Tribal Fest this year is that I realized that it would've just been too much – too many people, too much stimulation. I didn't understand that until my introverted part pulled the emergency break, dug in her heels and didn't let me go anywhere this past weekend. The more I am dancing, the more I am “out there,” the more solitude I need to counter-balance, apparently… And yet, I feel sad that I wasn't able to be there for my fellow dancers! (I did watch the awesome FatChanceBellyDance Experience performance - from the comfort of my own home...) So maybe there are other ways I can be there: By calling out to fellow introverts to see how we can support each other. Maybe we can support each other in our choices to not watch (all) the performances (or not watch live and in person...) and support each other in going to these events, too, maybe strategizing together what would help us feel more comfortable, and ultimately be ready to perform if that's something we'd like to do (I am still a few years away from that one...).I experienced this kind of support from a couple fellow introverts at a Greek folk dance seminar and it made all the difference! It is hard to hold onto my sense of belonging to a group when I don't do everything the extroverts get excited about... And it helps tremendously to get a 'me, too' from other introverts. So let's see if we can get something like this together for ATS belly dancers! It could be online or with small group get togethers... We'll see what emerges... Looking forward to connecting! RachelP.S.: Here's the link to the performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7cYdjyAiYA. It is super inspiring! P.P.S.: I find it scary to post all this, so if you appreciated this post, it would be great to know 🙂
Hi Rachel, I am really shy and introverted too. You should have seen me at my first student salon! But the steps you take in coming to class and getting better are the steps towards pulling out of your shell. The better you get, the more confidence you have in your ability to put your art out there. The thing that helped me get through my first performance was to recognize that I was dancing with my friends and they were there to support me. I just had to look at them and smile and realize that I knew what I was doing.I also get really worn down by the social sides of performing. The amount of time I am out and "on", I require at least the same amount of time to be alone/quiet and recuperating/centering. As much as I love seeing and meeting people, I also am drained by it. Such a paradox.TF is overwhelming, even to a highly social person. There is a lot going on and if you don't have something to focus on while there, it can pull you in so many directions. The first time I ever saw FCBD perform, was at the height of Rakkasah popularity and I had no clue what I was getting into. It was a madhouse and quickly developed a migraine from all the stimulation of the vending, shows, people, egos, etc., I had to go sit in my car for a couple hours before going in to see the troupe perform in this small, hot, packed out room. It was a lot for me to stick it out, but was glad I did. I gained a whole new inspiration from seeing them dance, as I had no idea what it was supposed to look like. It was a magical moment - seeing them live. It's not the same as on a video. So, years later, going to TF I know to keep my focus on what I can handle. Just want to see a performance or two? Just do that. Know some people who are vending? Just visit with them. Want henna? Go do that and watch the bd world go by. Not everything needs to be seen and done. You know yourself, so make that list.On the "tough love" side of things, I will combine the wise words of Wendy Allen and Marsha Poulin, "Suck it up and just do it!" Sometimes you've just got to push yourself out there to know what you can and can't (will and won't) handle. I'll bet you find that it isn't as bad as you might imagine.
Hi Rachel,I am too an introverted ATS belly dancer, and it can be hard at times. I can not tell you how many times I have asked my husband to come with me to a dance event, because I feel my husband is the only one that "really knows me, and understands me". Another thing that works for me is I tend to gravitate to dancers that, how do I put it, have a little more life experience. I don't want to use the word older, because that make me old!! And I bet I'm one of the few belly dancers that is not of face book too. I am looking forward in meeting you Rachel and other introverted dancers and maybe we can all come out of our shell together.Michelle.
Thank you, Michelle & Sandi, for sharing your thoughts, insights, and encouragements! For me, my task is to accept my introverted tendencies while also pushing my boundaries, which are usually more "nurture" than "nature." In other words, there's accepting my limits and working around them by planning better. And also recognizing that there is learned behavior about not being "out there." I think that's where Sandi's tough love can come in handy :). I'd also enjoy helping each other "coming out of our shells," as Michelle put it. Any ideas on how we can do this?
I really don't have any ideas for us to come out of our shells; however, maybe talking to other introverted belly dancers that will give us the extra boost to open up to other dancers. Personally, that's my biggest problem is that I don't open up to people. I'm private, very private, too private. Although, I am a good listener 🙂Maybe other people will have some ideas for us.Michelle.
I have social anxiety disorder. It is actually why I started bellydancing, I was homebound for awhile and my therapist told me I needed to take a class or do something that got me out of the house. I decided to take a bellydance class because I figured there wouldn't be a lot of people (there wasn't) and I love to dance. It is a real balance struggle for me, because dancing brings me great joy, but sometimes it can be so overwhelming. I almost had a nervous breakdown at Cues&Tattoos this year, I only made it through the FCBD intensive before going home. Workshops and classes are a constant struggle for me. Oddly enough, I am almost always ok performing. There is something about being in costume that makes me feel safe. Sometimes I feel like an entirely different person/personality. I have joked about staying in costume all the time, and to a certain extant I do…I wear dreads frequently, tribal jewelry, andI have been living in my Bessie skirt. (Thank goodness there are so many ways to wear it!) The women I have met dancing are some of the kindest, most supportive people I've known, and because of all that love and support, I do try to push my limits.
I'm also an introvert and definitely get pretty drained if I'm out and about too much without sufficient 'me' time. This summer I've seemed to find a decent balance-I'm pretty independent at work and get some good me-time when I'm home, which has served to balance my very busy weekends this summer. But most of the time it doesn't work out that way. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I look at my calendar (because I'm also an obsessive planner) and basically prioritize “Ok this event I definitely don't want to miss, this day is in the middle of a hectic period of time so let me reserve that as me-time, etc”. So for me, it really comes down to planning, that way if I'm feeling overwhelmed, I can assure myself I'll be able to rest the next day.I've definitely had my fair share of guilt trips because I've decided against attending some event in favor of catering to my introversion. It's a tough decision, but I just have to step back and think, which option seems better or worse? Which decision will make me happiest? Plus, I in terms of dance events, I always keep in mind that I dance for fun, so the second something doesn't seem fun, I find it's easier to let go of the guilt of not doing it.
Hey, me too! *waves, but doesn't actually want to be seen*I have no fears about performing, but every step up to that I am filled with best-case dread, or worst-case can't-leave-the-house terror. It took me two years to reach out to other dancers who I knew were into ATS to ask if we could dance together. This year I am going to Homecoming only because my burning desire for more information is currently pummeling my fear of meeting new people.Some people feel the costuming allows them the protection of another persona. For me, the dance feels so right that I experience a sense of belonging and feel confident and joyous. Big positive reinforcement for me. But up until the music cues... it's everything I can do not to run for the door. So I tend to arrive as late as I can and leave immediately after gigs, which comes across as antisocial, but it's that I can't take the energy drain.
It is so great to read this… I'm an introvert too and it is really comforting to know that some people feel the same 🙂 Sandi's words describe also my life perfectly:"The amount of time I am out and "on", I require at least the same amount of time to be alone/quiet and recuperating/centering. As much as I love seeing and meeting people, I also am drained by it. Such a paradox." - this is totally how I feel.I'm a full time dancer and dance teacher, so I have to step out of my comfort zone every day. I teach classes or attend rehearsals every day of the week for at least 3 hours - and I also teach/perform or study dance during all weekends (exept only Christmas etc). After teaching I come home feeling like my brain has been erased 😉 I usually need to spend a lot of time alone in silence in order to restore my energy. And travelling is even more exhausting, sometimes I'm not alone for many days... This job is really the best and I'm so gratefull that I can do it, but it takes all my energy and sometimes even maintaining a nice conversation with someone after classes is a huge challenge.I used to speak with a very quiet voice, hardly ever smile, avoid eye-contact, avoid big groups of people (especially women!) as a teenager. So I have to fight literally all my natural tendencies when I teach. But it is worth it!Isn't it great that we can manage to find the courage and go out there because of our love for the dance? Let's keep up the good work! 🙂 🙂
Interesting discussion! Thanks for posting your thoughts to initiate it, Rachel.I, too, am an introvert, needing lots and lots of private "down time" to re-charge for the "busy with peeps" time, as Sandi said.Just to add my $.02 to the discussion, it does seem to me that there's a difference between introversion and shyness. Introverts draw energy from privacy and find social situations taxing (though we may enjoy them greatly while we are fresh!). I suspect that introversion is not something you can get over. It's just the way you are built. Shyness on the other hand is a form of fear and is something that can be conquered. Once you do conquer it, the introversion is easier to manage. I always try to plan for quiet/alone time, be sure not to over-book myself, etc. If I give myself the needed solitude, I'm able to fully enjoy the people times!
I agree with you, Nancy!At weekend-long workshops, I'm never going to be the one staying out until all hours. Even if I am not that tired, I will go to bed just so I can re-charge in a bit of privacy before the next day's onslaught of people. And I will always try to get the following day off work so I can be blessedly alone! If I am out more than two nights a week I start to feel hunted, so I try not to book a catch-up with friends in the same week I have a performance *and* class.
Another introvert here. No advice, just empathizing. After two years of on and off performing, I'm realizing that I cannot put lots of socializing before the dancing, it has to happen the other way around, if I can at all help it, otherwise I am too drained to dance. -Monica
I am an introvert as well and find I need to back off. Fortunately for me I am retired and live on a dead end with 40 acres and can recharge home alone with my dogs most mornings. At workshops and such I am excited to see people I love but end up not doing most of the evening socializing (or curtailing it early) so I can have time for solace. It is just the way I am. For that “out there” time I need the “no one around” time (well, unless it is with my dogs, of course)! 😉
I am also massively introverted – I just play an extrovert in the dance studio.Something that is very helpful for me at TF and other places is having a job to do. If I know the rules of social interaction (i.e. "what does this person want from me in this moment?"), then I find events like TF much easier to navigate. Working the FCBD booth last year was great for me - I got to see the show, got to talk to some people in an environment that had a framework, and I got to hang out with cool people also working the booth.Perhaps this "knowing the rules" aspect is one reason why I really like ATS - it's a framework for interacting with other people, even strangers. 🙂
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