Respect for the Audience?

Kartane

New member
I am not sure where this belongs, so please move it as needed.

This is something that has been on my mind for several weeks now and I feel the need to knock it around.

I have noticed, recently, a trend at a couple of shows that I find really disturbing. (Perhaps it has always been there and I am just noticing it, but it feels new to me.) That trend is an extreme disrespect for the audience -- as in dancer self-esteem overload -- as in 'we are on stage and you are lucky to be witnessing us, bow down and worship us or get out'. I have seen it taken to the point of MCs and dancers actually cursing at and deriding the audience. My skin was literally crawling to witness that, but it happened.

It seems to me, that, as a performer, if "I" don't give a damn what the audience thinks because "this is MY ART", then "I" should be dancing in my living room in front of a mirror or all my best friends who already love me.

:think: What is the point in performing in public if, as a performer, you don't give a hoot what your audience gets out of the experience? Or worse yet, you have no respect for the audience to the point of calling them stupid?

Is it just me, or have others noticed this happening? :(
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I am not sure where this belongs, so please move it as needed.

This is something that has been on my mind for several weeks now and I feel the need to knock it around.

I have noticed, recently, a trend at a couple of shows that I find really disturbing. (Perhaps it has always been there and I am just noticing it, but it feels new to me.) That trend is an extreme disrespect for the audience -- as in dancer self-esteem overload -- as in 'we are on stage and you are lucky to be witnessing us, bow down and worship us or get out'. I have seen it taken to the point of MCs and dancers actually cursing at and deriding the audience. My skin was literally crawling to witness that, but it happened.

It seems to me, that, as a performer, if "I" don't give a damn what the audience thinks because "this is MY ART", then "I" should be dancing in my living room in front of a mirror or all my best friends who already love me.

:think: What is the point in performing in public if, as a performer, you don't give a hoot what your audience gets out of the experience? Or worse yet, you have no respect for the audience to the point of calling them stupid?

Is it just me, or have others noticed this happening? :(
I did it once - it was a ploy to sucker people into paying attention (and it worked!) - I convinced the audience that I was debating whether or not they were worthy of my performance, and then, coming to a decision, I stayed and danced. I did it to a crowd of my peers and they loved it, because after I "decided" to stay & dance after all, I was a warm & sweet dancer and not at all the drama queen I was pretending to be when I walked out on stage. That said, the beginning of the song called for some drama and the choreo was meant for a troupe of at least 4, so I ramped up the drama queen action to give the song what it needed from one person. It also helped a little with my nerves. I'd do it again, but ONLY for an audience of my peers and ONLY if the song required mondo amounts of drama to begin with.
 

Aniseteph

New member
All I've seen is the usual talking up of dancers by MCs, maybe a bit of "you aren't making enough noise" banter. I can't imagine anyone publicly slagging off an audience and meaning it - why would anyone think that was a smart thing to do? It makes no sense. Instant massive self-entitled diva rep, and a public admission that you failed and know it.

If the audience is not as appreciative as a performer would like, then either they are the wrong audience for the act, or the act just wasn't that great. Or that there's a mismatch between the amount of adulation the performer expects and what happens IRL. Or was just too avant garde and envelope pushing... :rolleyes: Whatever, it's for the performer to deal with it.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I can't even IMAGINE a performer cursing at the audience! :shok: Someone who would do that needs a SERIOUS attitude adjustment!
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Tsk. This is what comes of doing belly dance high up on a stage and separated from one's audience by bright lights and distance. One really needs to come down to earth and dance where the whites of one's audience's eyes can be seen.
 

Amulya

Moderator
Only the occasional diva, but they weren't nasty to the audience, only to the organisers. But I don't understand why people would be nasty to the audience, aren't dancers there to share their love for dance with them? I always thought the performer dancers FOR the audience, not the other way round, like the audience being there for the dancer (ok the audience is of course also there to see the dancer, but the dancer is dancing for them)

ETA: when I saw the title I was thinking of other things, like when dancers lie on the floor with their crotch to the audience or wear costumes without undies etc, that sort of being rude to the audience, that sadly happens a bit more.
 

Kartane

New member
ETA: when I saw the title I was thinking of other things, like when dancers lie on the floor with their crotch to the audience or wear costumes without undies etc, that sort of being rude to the audience, that sadly happens a bit more.
Amulya - Yes. I agree that those things are part and parcel of the same issue. I have also witnessed, of late, some dangerous prop behavior -- sword specifically -- that made me fear for the safety of the audience. Maybe the stars are aligned just so right now?:think:
 

Roshanna

New member
I have never seen open disrespect (e.g. cursing!). But I do sometimes sense an attitude that the audience's time isn't valuable, that the performers are terribly important, that the audience should be happy to sit there and watch and applaud any old thing that's put in front of them, and the audience and organiser should be grateful that the group has deigned to come to their event. So basically, pompous self-importance combined with a lack of realistic self assessment and a lack of awareness of others.

For example, a self-directed (teacherless) amateur troupe who refused to shorten a very long and monotonous piece of music (which was just barely within our official maximum time limit, but much longer than I felt this group would be able to hold the attention of the audience for), in a showcase where we were struggling to fit performers into our available time slots, because doing so would "compromise the integrity of their dance"!

Or a number of "comedy dances" I've had to sit through, where the participants clearly thought that calling themselves "comedy" was a free pass to present an unrehearsed, unfunny hot mess. If an actual comedian tried that they'd get heckled off stage :mad:

I feel like this is the dark side of having a culture of supportiveness. It's great to support students who are genuinely doing their best, but it means that those who are not making any effort or not respecting the time and money that the audience have put into coming to watch often get a free ride.
 
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Salome

Administrator
I feel like this is the dark side of having a culture of supportiveness. It's great to support students who are genuinely doing their best, but it means that those who are not making any effort or not respecting the time and money that the audience have put into coming to watch often get a free ride.
It's great to support students, or a dancer at any point and place in their path, doing their best. I've had lot's of support myself and appreciated it. But I agree that there is another element to that culture of supportiveness. Or maybe it is more that some people use it or interpret it as a means other than intended. And in those cases it feeds into bloated ego and bad attitudes and a lack of real trying...
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Amulya - Yes. I agree that those things are part and parcel of the same issue. I have also witnessed, of late, some dangerous prop behavior -- sword specifically -- that made me fear for the safety of the audience. Maybe the stars are aligned just so right now?:think:
W-what sort of dangerous behavior? o__0
 

Roshanna

New member
It's great to support students, or a dancer at any point and place in their path, doing their best. I've had lot's of support myself and appreciated it.
Ah yes - I realise that when I wrote that, I was kind of thinking of everybody who is making an effort as a student, regardless of level :)

Or maybe it is more that some people use it or interpret it as a means other than intended. And in those cases it feeds into bloated ego and bad attitudes and a lack of real trying...
Exactly!
 

Kartane

New member
W-what sort of dangerous behavior? o__0
Oh lords and ladies - wild whirling of the sword in one hand at high speed in the direction of the audience, and -- different dancer same show -- a dancer finishing with her sword section and tossing her sword to the stage where it bounced a couple of times toward the audience before it stopped. I am NOT a sword dancer (I have old tendon injuries in my arm that make the weight of a sword really hard for me to handle), and I don't claim to be an expert dancer, but I know better than to grab the blade, whirl a blade or throw down a blade. Scared me to watch!
 

Aniseteph

New member
Apart from the horrors if something went wrong with a stunt like that, I suspect you could kiss your public liability cover goodbye. Ouch, in lots of ways.

Ugh, there's a fresh vision of hell - organisers having to do formal risk assessments for haflas. OTOH you could include useful sections - is your costume risqué enough that sensitive types might get the vapours? Has everyone and his/her dog done your music to death already, and if so, are going to bring anything new/interesting to the table, be honest. And for the self-directed teacherless troupes, when did you last have a reality check? ( please supply written evidence). Oh, the possibilities, he he he.;)
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Oh lords and ladies - wild whirling of the sword in one hand at high speed in the direction of the audience, and -- different dancer same show -- a dancer finishing with her sword section and tossing her sword to the stage where it bounced a couple of times toward the audience before it stopped. I am NOT a sword dancer (I have old tendon injuries in my arm that make the weight of a sword really hard for me to handle), and I don't claim to be an expert dancer, but I know better than to grab the blade, whirl a blade or throw down a blade. Scared me to watch!
@_____@!!!

I'm NOT gonna say it, I'm NOT gonna say it, I'll be nice and NOT say it... >.>

Scimitar shaving one's legs on stage... without shaving cream.

O, the humanity!
Ew. Just. Ew. -_-;;;
 

Roshanna

New member
And for the self-directed teacherless troupes, when did you last have a reality check? ( please supply written evidence). Oh, the possibilities, he he he.;)
:lol:

If I may go off on a tangent, what do you think would constitute an effective reality check, if anything?
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Your audience a) falls asleep; b) walks out en masse or c) throws spoiled vegetables at the stage.

Actually, only c would be a reality check for a truly oblivious troupe. ;)
 
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