Choosing Belly Dance Stage Names
Belly dance stage names are often used by belly dancers in lieu of their real names. The tradition started in Northern America, Australia, and New Zealand, and the trend has now spread like wildfire throughout the world.
Do you have to choose a belly dance stage name? No, it’s not necessary. There are dancers who use their legal names, so it’s really up to you.
It may help to look at why dancers use stage names. Some dancers use stage names to remain anonymous when performing, some wish to make an artistic statement about themselves, while for others, it’s a business move to set them apart from the ordinary or to give them an authentic sounding Middle Eastern name. For many dancers, choosing a stage name helps them feel more glamorous or larger than life, which can be helpful on the stage, especially if you feel insecure or reserved in your daily life.
Here are some things to consider before choosing a belly dance stage name:
- Do you plan to dance professionally or to start your own business? If so, will the name you choose now, be appropriate then?
- Do you want to use two names /a last name? Sahra Saeeda, Ranya Renee, Suhaila Salimpour
- Do you want an Arabic or Turkish name, which are most common among dancers? Or do want to choose a name of Greek, Persian, Armenian, North African, or other origin?
- Do you want to use a name from mythology, science fiction, a book, or the Bible or do you want to invent a name yourself? Alternatively, do you want to use the name of a flower, a gemstone, or other names from nature?
- Who are you when you dance? What is it that you are sharing with the audience? What makes you unique? Will the name fit your personality? Is your stage persona an extension of the real you?
- For some dancers, they are given a stage name. Do you want someone to name you? Your teacher, a mentor, someone special to you whom you respect? It’s really your choice. Sometimes someone will give you a name without your request. It’s also your right to ignore this person. Just thank them for the idea, and go about your business of choosing your own name.
Now you’ll need to start searching for a belly dance stage name. Begin by searching the internet. You might begin by searching for “female Middle Eastern names” or “female Arabic names.” Search for baby names of Middle Eastern or other origin. Take notes as you might not be able to find the website again. List the ones you like the most and include their origin, meaning, and any other information that’s given. There are plenty of websites out there to keep you busy for hours, so you don’t need any recommendations from me.
When you have your list of belly dance stage names, consider these things:
- Is it easy to spell your name and/or pronounce it the way it’s spelled? It’s best if it can be sounded out the way it’s spelled, otherwise be ready for people to get it wrong.
- Is it a name people will easily remember?
- Be sure there’s no negative context or cultural reference associated with the name. You can find out by asking other dancers, asking an Arab or Middle Easterner and researching the name online. Does it represent you accurately?
- Be sure it’s not a name that is currently being used by dancers in your local area. Is it a name of a famous or well-known dancer, alive or not? If so, could you add a last name to it or change it a bit to make it different?
- Look up the name in three dictionaries, an Arabic, Persian and a Turkish dictionary, to be sure it doesn’t have any negative meaning that you wouldn’t want associated with you. Does the meaning work for your personality and appearance?
- Take your time. Try out the name for a bit and if it sticks, make it known!
Good luck finding belly dance stage names. If this article was helpful, please leave a comment and tell me which name you picked!
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