Being part of a dance troupe is a unique experience, especially when you and the others know nothing about each other, except belly dance. You and the others share that only interest, but there is much to learn about one another.
You have seen belly dancers that have been solo throughout their professional career. All their performances are about the solo dancer. Nothing more nothing less. Although the performances are amazing, there is something dynamic about the dance troupe.
When you do become part of a troupe, you are either starting the troupe at the same time with the others, or you are a new member. The others may have danced together at several performances or not. What you have to realize is that although you are part of the troupe, you have a uniqueness about you. You bring to the group what others don't have. It may be the special way you do your figure eights, versus the others.
Some members may observe this right away. It is called critiquing, so to speak. You may not like what you hear, but try to understand the critique. For the most part, when a member of the troupe is telling you that you need to emphasize a certain movement, its for your own good and that of the troupe. Go with it. Chances are that if you get it down as explained to you by the other member, you show others that you are cooperative and attentive. If you really like how you do a certain move, then choreograph some solos at home; you don't have to give up your uniqueness.
In the troupe, there are a variety of women. All ethnicities, different shapes and sizes, different skin tones, make up the troupe. Some women have great smiles, while others have perfect dance posture. I have yet to see a troupe where all women are exactly the same, unless it is the Radio City Rockettes!
This diversity is what makes a belly dance troupe so beautiful and majestic. Belly dance troupes are about the natural feminine beauty that is in each and every woman. When you see a troupe on stage, you are looking at a group of women who are proud of their body.
Speaking of performances, when you are in a troupe, you are automatically going to be compared to the rest of the women. It is a natural thing that audiences do when they see you on stage with others. After a performance that I did last year, my friend commented how I danced in comparison with the others. When you watch other troupes perform, you will find that you do the same. During a gala, I and my troupe members observed a dance troupe on stage. We commented how one woman was not into the dance, in comparison to the others.
On a personal level of the dance troupe, you will find that outside of dance, other things matter. Do most of the women have kids? Married? Who will you bond with? It is part of the natural group dynamics. In order for a group to survive, there has to be some level of conformity. More likely than not, you will have to conform to the ways of the others who have been in the troupe longer.
And then there are the different schedules that affect the troupe as a whole. Isn't it true that when the troupe is coming up with future practice dates, there is always a "I can't make it on Tuesday because...."? No matter how tough it is to schedule future practices, the troupe finds a way. In a previous article, I encouraged dancers to come up with a dance planner. Make sure you know what is coming up in your own world, so that you can plan accordingly.
There other little quirks about dance troupes. So many and I'm sure you can think of others that are unique to your own group. Understanding the little things, make the big things easy to handle.