Saturday, July 08, 2006

Allergic to newbies

From my observations, I've noticed an ongoing syndrome among restaurant & club owners/agents in New York City. A syndrome I like to call "Newbie-fear."

Newbie-fear is when managers or agents refuse to book "new" dancers. The booking people are too insecure to try new talent and only want to recycle their "safe set of dancers". (Here I use the word "safe" to refer to the word "ordinary" in case you were wondering)

The problem with this phobia is that only the same dancers are booked over and over again. These dancers are recycled continuously, while the talented new polished dancers have a harder time getting booked or worst...they don't even get a chance to audition.

There is a wide variety of dancers in the city and I think it's about time we see more of that. Although like many, I love to watch the most popular Bellydancers perform in New York from time to time... sometimes I get a little bored with the well-known. I crave to see new dancers, new performers and unfamiliar faces. I believe everyone is entitled to shine once and while.

Food for thought:
New York City actually has the biggest (or one of the biggest) population of bellydancers in the US. Because New York City alone has a population of about 8.1 million, we have just about too much of everything. But what makes New York shine, is the fact that variety is so popular. Life is filled with choices and people crave the idea of being able to chose what they want.

Yes, we have more than our share of wonderful bellydancers, but unfortunately less than half are consistently performing at local venues and so the general public never have the opportunity to get a glimpse of the other performers.

If you take a close at your local listings page of bellydance performances scheduled throughout the city you'll notice the same faces over and over. You'll see:
*It's always dancer ____ who performs at ____ on Friday nights.
*The Night club ____ will only book_____ for their venue.
*The popular____ is dancing at ____, ____, ____ three times a week next month.
I noticed there too much same-ness posted, we have too many available dancers to only use a selected few. It doesn't seem right.

One must not forget that not all bellydancers want to perform at nightclubs, restaurants and lounges, some dancers prefer to be booked as instructors or as performers for exclusive private parties. But remember this portion of dancers only makes up a fraction of dancers in the city.

The portion I'm trying to defend are the new performs, the stars of tomorrow and the ones who will pave the way for dancers after them.

I've both seen and heard of managers/agents who refuse new dancers a chance to audition because the dancer is too new as a performer. Even when the new dancer has had her share of experience dancing at other places, the bottom line is--- if that manage/agent hasn't seen that new dancer perform they will refuse to even bother with the new dancer. It a real shame if you ask me, they could be turning down the next Suhaila Salimpour--- who knows!

On the bright side, new dancers are still able to get a chance to put their foot in the door by their own dance instructors. Many dance instructors are now having student halfa's at venues all over the city. It's a great way to see students grow and discover who they are as dancers.

This city has too many wonderful bellydancers who are hidden behind lack of opportunity. Hopefully diversity will continue to improve in this city and everyone will see more new uncovered talent. This city is rich with jeweled dancers for everyone to enjoy, let's welcome them all.