You never get a second chance at a first impression, and the MC just blew that for you. What you needed was a postcard with your bio, ready and prepared ahead of time. Here is my advice : Every time you burn a CD or set up a play list, add your bio to your bag or the CD case. Write it today, and update it annually, but keep it in your kit bag, ready for every performance.
What should you write ?
There are two essentials that you must add to every bio:
(You may prefer "Turkish belly dancer" or "Fusion belly dancer". If your audience is the general public, belly dancer will do. If your audience are mostly other belly dancers, add more details to your description such as "Sara Shrapnell is inspired by belly dancers of the golden age of Egyptian belly dance.")
"Sara Shrapnell is a belly dancer" is a little on the simple side. Yep, they got my name and why I am entering the stage, but I don't sound very exciting... As we have time right now, lets try and turn that intro into three or four fascinating sentences.
This is a good moment to focus on perfecting the "elevator pitch". Its a couple of sentences that tell others all about you or your project. Do you teach, love to perform, are you the youngest, oldest, world record holding, award winning or new in town? What makes you memorable or stand out from the crowd?
I like to use the triple threat "Writer, Teacher, Performer."
"Award winning" is always good, but remember, you should be able to back up all your claims. If you are "award winning", what is your award? Do you have the award at home? Can they google the competition ? If you hold a record, be prepared to share a link to the web site. Much better to pick a phrase that doesn't need proof, like "Enchanting", "Captivating" or "Beautiful". From a marketing point of view alliteration is always appealing (wink) - "Bella the Beautiful Belly Dancer!" Have a try and see what works best with your name.
Its always hard to write nice things about yourself. If you are having a problem with finding the right words, ask your teacher, classmates or fans for feedback. Do they think you are the queen of shimmies, or are they amazed by your back bends. Ask others to point out your strengths and see how you can work them into your bio.
Ask yourself what you want the audience to do, now they know who you are. Perhaps you want them to sign up to your classes, or come back to the venue next week. If you are at a belly dance event, do you want the audience to buy your book, visit you at your booth, attend your workshop....
"Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance writer, teacher and performer. She is inspired by belly dancers of the golden age of Egyptian belly dance. Find her books on belly dance at her booth by the rest rooms."
"Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance writer, teacher and performer. She is teaching a workshop later this afternoon on improvisation and adding emotion to your dance. You can sign up on the door for just $15."
"Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance writer, teacher and performer. She has taught over 5,000 belly dance classes, and her new beginner course starts next Wednesday."
If you are in the business of belly dance, don't be afraid of a little self promotion!
If you like this blog, go back to my blog page and check out some others like:
I'm Perfect for Belly Dance (and so are you)
Why Belly Dancers need to Walk the Line
Teaching Belly Dance: Making Corrections
Being Part of the Solution
Or these Hubposts:
"Your First Belly Dance Workshop"
The Top Ten Belly Dance Tunes for Performance"
"Finding a Great Belly Dance Teacher"
Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance writer, teacher and performer.
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