Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Choosing a stage name

What?! This isn't a post about practice! What's going on here? So, for a bit now I've been wanting to start including some extra posts on this blog, separate from recording my daily practice goal. These posts will cover a wide array of topics, from product reviews to my musings about dance-related topics, and maybe someday even interviews. I'd like to make this blog a little more well-rounded and interesting, and also, since I usually practice at night, I generally don't want to sit here and spend half an hour on my blog, so it makes more sense for me to write this stuff during the day when it's too hot to dance.

So. Stage names. I think I want them. Not to protect my identity, or to pretend to be a different person, but because I like names. And I don't like the one I was given at birth. When I was 11, I decided I was tired of my first name and I chose to go by my initials. 18 years later, I'm pretty bored with "AJ" too. I don't want to go back to my given name, or use my middle name, and I want something prettier than my initials for when I dance. After all, I eventually want to go pro, and I don't think "AJ" says "glamorous belly dancer" to prospective customers. Honestly, I'm pretty sure "AJ Reardon" sounds more like a mystery author than a dancer.

I'm running into a couple of problems with choosing a stage name, however. The first problem is that I really like names. There are so many names that I love that it's hard to narrow it down to just one. The other problem is, well, to put it perfectly bluntly, I am as white as the day is long. I would feel a little ridiculous taking an Arabic stage name, especially since I don't even dance in the Egyptian style -- I'm very much an ITS/Tribal Fusion sort of girl. I have a great respect for Egyptian, Turkish, and American Cabaret dancers, but it's just not my personal performance style. So I want something that sounds pretty and a little exotic, while not feeling entirely out of place on a pasty, freckled American girl.

Here are a few of the names I'm considering:
Sophia. I simply love this name, I've used it in my fiction writing and in gaming, and if I was going to have children, I'd want to name my daughter Sophia.
Nerissa. Also a pretty, slightly exotic name. I also used it in gaming and writing.
Kadath. A Lovecraft reference and the name of my Guild Wars character. My goodness, I am a nerd.
Niamh. From an Irish faerie tale.  Of course, the problem with Gaelic names is the weird pronunciation.

Thoughts, suggestions? Although I'm not performing much now, I'd really like to settle on a stage name so I can use it in on-line belly dance communities.


  1. Nerissa and Kadath are very awesome!

  2. Google those names to see what sort of websites, etc. show up. I know there is a swimsuit model by the name of Nerissa, and also some sort of all things organic website by someone named Nerissa Irving.

    Also, try to go with something that is easy to pronounce and spell and easy for audiences to remember.

  3. Nerissa and Kadath and Niamh!!!!! LOVE THOSE

  4. Thank you all for weighing in! Nerissa seems to be winning the popular vote, though my husband is pushing for Sophia :) One friend on FB suggested Sophia and a second name meaning green, so I'm leaning towards Sophia Hariti (Sanskrit for Green, and also nice because it reminds me of Mata Hari). Opinions?


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