Belly Dance Stage Names, How, Where & Why?
It has become a common practice for performers to adopt 'stage names' and belly dancers are no exception. A performer may take a stage name if they think their real name is dull or difficult to pronounce or spell. Some belly dancers may choose a name that is unusual and outlandish to attract attention or reflect their dance persona. Other dancers have said they use a stage name in order to retain anonymity.
Do your homework.
The number one piece of advice HipMix.net users have given us is to research, research, research! Don't just pick a name because it sounds pretty in your language, think about the culture you will be representing when you dance, popular culture around you, and the name’s meaning in other languages.
On Twitter, one of our @hipmix followers, @naqibabaila suggests going to the website www.babynology.com and selecting Arabic girl names. Based on your dance personality, you can refine your search by browsing unique Arabic names, cute Arabic names, or famous Arabic names. The site is easy to navigate, and provides a comprehensive overview of the names meaning, famous counterparts, and importantly, the correct gender.
Fellow tweeter and HipMix.net profile member @Xibalbadance suggests mythology as a source of inspiration. She says she picked her name because “Xibalba (I added the apostrophe) is the Mayan entrance to the underworld. AKA ‘the place of fear’".
Responding in Dilara Sultan’s Facebook Fan Page, Houston-based belly dancer Amber Duboff Vermillion warned that “A dancer here in Houston had a dance name that meant one thing in Arabic but something bad in Greek, so she stopped using it. There is also another dancer here in Houston who has a dance name that is probably something very pretty in Arabic, but it's also the name of a toxic poison gas in English.”
Make it personal, and make sure it fits.
Your stage name should reflect some aspect of your personality. Having a personal connection will make it feel more like “you,” and not some ill-fitting alter ego.
Amanda Duboff Vermillion adds, “I didn't feel the need for one (belly dance stage name) until I moved to Houston. I chose Chantal because it's my middle name and because I felt like all the good Arabic names are already taken. Also since there was a strong French influence in the Middle East, I kind of feel like a French name fits.”
Michelle Conway, a 30-year-old dancer from the UK, offers a different perspective. “Mine is Amira, my husband has always called me his princess. I suffered with severe depression and very low self esteem until I started belly dancing which totally changed my life.”
Terryll Rex, a 46-year-old dancer from Pennsylvania, said, “My stage name is Naja Haje. It's an Egyptian Cobra. I took the name from my first choreography which was done to the music "The Cobra's Dance" by Hossam Ramzy and Phil Thornton. My costume even sports a pair of cobras on the bra... The name almost finds you and it FEELS like it fits.”
Keep in mind that your stage name, like your given name, sticks with you for better or worse. Whether or not you decide to use a stage name is a personal decision, and unlike costumes and choreography - you can’t change your mind on a whim. Consider all of your options before committing one way or the other, having a change of heart a month or even a year down the road can confuse family, friends and even clients.
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