Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is Part Five in my continuing series, Dancers Backstage Rituals, focusing on fabulous male dancer DaVid Baydal, aka DaVid Of Scandinavia.

DaVid has been dancing since 1988, and is the co-founder and artistic director of The Ethnic Dance Academy in San Diego. He specializes in contemporary dances of India, and brings a wealth of knowledge and culture to his dancing because of his Indian heritage. Along with that, he's proficient in many styles of Middle Eastern dance...I especially love his Shaabi interpretations! DaVid is also a fountain of knowledge about various aspects of the dance, and often posts thoughtful, well-researched pieces on many belly dance forums.

We have known each other for years, having met on his first trip to America, when he danced at my showcase at Moun Of Tunis Restauarant in Hollywood. The moment we met, we got along like gangbusters, laughing and joking backstage. But the moment he started performing, I turned into a swoony fan-girl!

DaVid brings an elegance and ease to his dancing, and it's also quite obvious that he enjoys himself immensely onstage, you can just see the happiness beaming out of him as he performs.

As you will see from what he says about preparing for gigs, on the day of a show, he leaves no stone un-turned in getting himself performance-ready. That sort of cool professionalism and preparation which is undoubtedly one of the key factors that allows him to be able relax into his dances....oh yeah, and his massive talent doesn't hurt, either!

Here's what he has to say about getting ready for gigs:

"I make sure to have had a healthy and good breakfast the day of my performances followed by fresh shave and a shower. I double-check that my gig bag contains everything I will need. Once at the venue I maintain a smooth breathing pattern and make sure to walk around and familiarize myself with the venue. I will start changing and getting my makeup on about 30 minutes before I dance and I do some yoga and breathing exercises once I am in my costume. This allows me to sync into how the costume moves and feels, and also make an effort to prevent costume malfunctions from happening. It also allows my makeup to set in and any adjustments needed can be made.

The most important thing for me is to keep a clear mind and keep my breath smooth. This helps me focus on the precision of each task I do before I dance, and this is a focus I can take with me on stage allowing the music to flow in and my mind and body to respond to each sound as it finds me. I try to experience the music as if it is the first time I hear it every time I dance. I try to allow a spontaneous reaction to the music to happen, which is of course supported by my practice. Your performance is a reflection of your practice - so lots of practice ahead of time is one of the best tools to help stay in control and calm when going on stage.

I have learned to keep well hydrated throughout the day so that I am not thrown off by sudden dry mouth. I also find that having a sequential order of how I take things out of my bag, in what order I apply my makeup, in what order I put on my costume and in what order I do anything else really helps me stay centered and focused."


DaVid's website: http://www.davidofscandinavia.com/


  1. yeah, David---good words to live and dance by!!!

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