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  1. #1
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    Default When are you ready to perform?

    Hi~
    Tonight I was at a local hookah bar and one of the men who works there overheard me talking about bellydancing. He told me he has been looking to hire a bellydancer and asked me if I was interested. I told him that sadly, I have only been dancing for three years and I'm nowhere near good enough to accept paying gigs (or non-paying ones for that matter . But this got me thinking- when is someone considered "good enough" to perform? How many years of dance training do you need? How much experience with student performances/ student troupes should you have? How intense should your practice be? What other experience do you need (i.e. makeup, business, etc.)? Should you first seek approval from professional dancers in the area? Are some gigs considered unacceptable for newbie performers (like really high paying ones)? Anything else I missed?

    Thanks!!
    ~Jen

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Ready etc.

    Dear Jen,
    I think "Ready to perform" can have many different meanings. Some people will never be ready, either because they simply do not have the talent for the dance or because they do not want to dance in public. I have a student who has been with me for 4 years. She is certainly ready to dance in public as far as technique and ability, but she is afraid and does not want to, so that's that.
    I have beginner students that I feel good about putting in shows where amateurs are allowed. For example, we are performing at the Fall Folk Festival soon and I will have several of my beginners, who have been in class for between 6 months to a year. One of them will perform the beginning class belly dance choreography. The other two will perform in a Saidi Reda style skit. They are all ready to do what I am having them do, but I might not have them choose their own performance or dance for very long or solo under different circumstances.
    As far as dacing solo in a restaurant, some people are ready at three years and others are not, for various reasons. Personally, I totally appreciate your honesty in this matter. it shows resepct for the dance, yourself, the owner, the audience and the culture! I wish everyone had your discretion and good sense in approaching performance!
    With respect,
    A'isha

  3. #3
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    Default

    My teacher always maintained you needed at least 15 minutes worth of good quality material before you went out into a public paying gig. You need a decent looking costume, good interaction skills (though they will get better with restaurant work) and the ability to think on your feet and improvise when necessary. That's based on here in NZ where the work (at least in my town) is practically non-existent and there's no live music situations. You need to know your music really well, know what it is and what's appropriate to do with it. Ideally (again, speaking from here) you have a full length orientale number you can pull out, though restaurants often like pop for getting people up to dance later. In my experience they generally want you to perform first, then do a second set where you get the patrons up and dancing with you.

    It's also worth checking you're not stepping on another dancer's toes, and also finding out what dancers are regularly paid in your area so you don't undercut, if you choose to take the gig.

  4. #4
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi,

    it's a great idea to start out performing in venues that are designed for all level's. Spend time developing your performance skills in a supportive environment. To start out with that I'd say a person needs to be a competent dancer. She/he should be able to dance for the alloted time of the venue, either improvising or choreography, should be at a place where they are able to bring some heart and feeling into it and engage the audience instead of doing dance like it's aerobics. Have appropriate costuming... That's a good place to start from.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    Default when you are ready to perform

    I very much agree with A'isha her mail above.....Lydia

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