When you hold the Office of the Dancer, you are the most important person in the room.
No, I’m not off my rocker. Dancers struggle with this, I think, especially when we are new and inexperienced. We tend to feel less important than the audience or patrons, the musicians, the event organizers and club owners. And many of them like to keep us feeling this way – they get to feel more important by making us feel less important.
The flipside of this are the arrogant dance divas, who feel like they are always the most important because of who they are. And that’s not what I’m encouraging either, but I see it far less often than dancers who feel less important and don’t command the respect the Office of the Dancer deserves.
It’s like the Office of the President – when you are the Dancer, you are the most important person in the room not because of who you are, but because of the job you are doing. From the moment you make your entrance to the moment of your exit, you are holding the Office of the Dancer. During that period, all focus should be on you. The musicians are there to back you up. The club owner is there to facilitate your show. The audience collectively is more important, but each individual is actually less important, because you are there to be the focus and entertain everyone. The show belongs to you, and as the Dancer you have every right to ask musicians for something, ask the staff to move something, ask an audience member to stop doing something “so the audience can enjoy the rest of the show”. To command respect as the Dancer is to show respect yourself for the Office. You don’t want to disgrace the Office by allowing others to disrespect you, any more than you do by being a spoiled prima donna.
It’s very easy to be intimidated by musicians and club owners who are older and/or more experienced than you. If they are any good, they will support you out of their own respect for the Dancer’s Office. If they aren’t, just remember – they may or may not be older/wiser/more experienced/more skilled, but they are not, at that moment, holding the Office. You are. Honor it.