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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Sad What should I do?

    Ok, here's my problem:

    Just before the lesson, 2 fellow students that are best friends told me they are going pro. They are going to work together with a company (I forgot to ask what kind of company) and they're going to perform on parties (I forgot to ask what kind of parties).

    The problem is, those students don't know how to dance. I don't want to sound rude or arrogant and I'm also not claiming that I'm a fantastic dancer myself, but if I look around in class (we're dancing little over a year now) I can see at least 90% of the people there dances better then them. They hardly have a feeling for rhythm, they can't seperate dance styles yet and if you ask me I think they don't know much about the music and background of the dance, I guess they think looking good in a sexy costume is what counts the most. I know for a while now that they are very looks-focused persons, but I always thought they also knew they are not the best dancers yet. Now, I have little respect for them left.

    When they told me this, I was alone with them in the dressing room and all I could think was but instead I said something like, "that's cool, congratulations!", while my mind was screaming You Are Not Good Enough!!!.
    I guess I was affraid that I would sound rude or jealous if I would tell them what I was thinking. I hope you don't understand me wrong, I wouldn't even want to go pro at this moment, because I feel I have way way more to learn before I could call myself a professional.

    But now I'm so worried... they didn't say anything about it during the lesson but afterwards they were in the dressing room much later then the rest of us and I guess they talked to the teacher. I really want to know what the teacher said to them, because I like her very much, but I'm affraid she might support them while I feel she should at least warn students that are overestimating themselves.
    I really want to talk to my teacher in private about how she handles students like these, but I'm affraid I'll look like some jealous gossip.

    I'm desperate. I know people like these can't be really stopped, but the world is in danger of being enriched with another pair of incompetent "bellydancers" that give our art form a bad name.
    I was hoping someone could give me some adviced how I could best talk about it with my teacher?

  2. #2
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    Default What should I do?

    I will talk to the teacher in person or by Phone, will tell her that I have problem understanding how can she not stop then from going pro when they are not ready, I will tell her (the teacher) that I disagree with that, it is OK to disagree, we are free people and there exist freedom of expresion. if someone don't like what you said sorry for then, in our dance comunity honesty is a most. good luke. Marie

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Moon,
    Unfortunately neither you nor your instructor will probably have any leverage in stopping these students from taking themselves so seriously that they think they are ready to be professionals. This happens about every five minutes in the world of Middle Eastern dance. It is just one more reason why those of us who do respect the dance have to take great care with it. We have to deal with this all the time.
    Thank you a thousand times for being a person who respects the dance enough to wait until you can do it justice to become a professional dancer. You are the kind of student who makes it all worthwhile when it comes to passing the dance on to others.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #4
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    It is not anyone's business to tell them they aren't good enough unless they solicit the opinion.

    They will either get hired or not, they will get pushed into thinking or re-thinking it by that. You can't control what people want to see either.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    Please take comfort in the knowledge that students who begin their 'pro' careers too early (without enough training), often DO get hired...but often fizzle out quickly when their skills don't match their beauty. Most clients who are hiring dancers for their weddings and parties do NOT want a young "Belly Bunny". They want a seasoned performer who can make their party a hit...not an embarassment.
    Ditto with Middle Eastern restaurants. They want entertainers who will make their customers feel at home and create a fun atmosphere...not one who will inhibit them with bad dancing and inexperience.
    The worst part is that these poor misguided girls don't know that they impression they leave these customers now will follow them for a looooong loooong time...you have only one chance to make a good 1st impression!
    Gia

  6. #6
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Thank you for your replies. Marie, I will try to talk to my teacher privately. Even though I think they won't be stopped, I just want to know if my teacher respects the dance as much as I expect her to.

    A'isha, thank you, that was a great compliment. I can only wrok hard myself and hope people with knowledge and respect for the dance will see it and think it's done right. I hope these girls will never start teaching as ling as they're not ready yet, cause then I can't be polite anymore.

    I'm very happy I met so many wonderful people on this forum that understand my feelings.

    Gabi, I think the teacher has the right to say it when she thinks students are not ready yet. She can only warn them, it's up to the student if they so something with it or not.

    Gia, I think you're right. It's just that won't only make a fool of themselves, but there's a chance they will make a fool of the art form, that's what makes me sad.
    Last edited by Moon; 12-01-2006 at 09:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    I'm afraid A'isha summarises it quite succinctly: if they have got it into their head that they are ready to perform, it's unlikely they will be deterred by anyone's opinion. However, performing takes so much more than a pretty costume, pretty face and body. And they'll probably get some bookings because hey let's face it, restaurant owners aren't always concerned about the cultural, artistic and historical context of the artform they sponsor...!

    But it takes a bit more than a pretty costume, pretty face and body to hold the attention span of your audience beyond the first 3 minutes.

    My friend and I started performing a year ago. I think it was a little too soon, unless the learning curve of performing is always this steep. We have been lucky enough to have each other, sheer dogged determination, and a passion bordering on obsession for this dance.

    For my part, I've had to provide a professional standard of performance on days when I've been shivering with 'flu, heartbroken as my relationship had ended two hours before my performance, exhausted having flown into the country with just enough time to grab a costume and some music, and drained from taking professional exams as well as balancing a fulltime job, and at a moment's notice with no preparation because the restaurant had forgotten to book the bellydancer (not all on the same day of course!). And I'm only a baby on this scene, I bet the experienced pros can fill out a hundred more scenarios like this!

    And my friend and I have regularly consoled each other when one of us has been racked with doubt as to our technique, our ability to interpret, to perform, to entertain, to enlighten, to represent this dance in a way that does it justice. The learning curve has been incredibly steep, sometimes painful, sometimes completely deflating. And I'm still on it! Every time I perform I come away with something new.

    So you need something "deeper" as a driving force than the chance to look sexy and be the centre of attention. And once they've got over the initial "ooh look, there's a belly dancer" wow factor, if you don't have anything more than a nice body, face and costume, you'll quickly find you're not the centre of attention anymore.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hi Moon, I have a different opinion to share. It's really out of your hands what other people do. I think so heartache occurs when we try to control other people, instead of ourselves. So what if they are not good enough to go pro or put in their dues. They will soon find out the harsh realities of professional dancing. Even if you spoke to your teacher how much power will she have to stop them?
    Yasmine

  9. #9
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabi View Post
    It is not anyone's business to tell them they aren't good enough unless they solicit the opinion.
    I do think that it is the *teacher's* business to tell them they should study/practice more, and give constructive examples of what needs to be worked on, before they go pro. I think it's also a teacher's business to tell a student if they *are* good enough to perform in non-recital venues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabi View Post
    They will either get hired or not, they will get pushed into thinking or re-thinking it by that. You can't control what people want to see either.
    Yes...some people don't appreciate good dancing nearly as much as they appreciate hot, scantily clad bodies.


    Hey Moon, I understand your polite response. I personally would have said the same thing. I might have followed it up with something else, though. Like this:
    "Wow, that's a big step."
    "What kind of shows will you be doing?"
    "Are you going to continue to study with (teacher)?"

    Of course, those are the same things I would say to someone whom I think *should* be going pro. It just opens the door for more conversation.

    And you can certainly go to your teacher and say, "Lisa and Lottie told me that they're going to do paid gigs now. Did they tell you? And what do you think about that?"

    You shouldn't use the conversation to get your teacher to "deal with" them. You should use it to feel out her opinions about students going pro, and decide how helpful/realistic her advice is.

    Keep in mind, your teacher probably won't give you all the details of what they talked about...because that's private business. If she gossips about it to a student, and it gets back to the "one-year-wonder twins", she will lose whatever influence she still has over them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    Gabi, I think the teacher has the right to say it when she thinks students are not ready yet. She can only warn them, it's up to the student if they so something with it or not.
    Sure. In that context your teacher and anyone for that matter has the right to comment. The question is what's more effective. Telling them, which may make you feel better, although it doesn't seem like it's going to change the course.

    Some people have to learn the hard way. I find that the people most interest in good dance will quickly express their displeasure one way or another; if these two are at some level dancers they will figure it out and go back to learning, if they are not they will get a few icky gigs and quickly find out it's not so glamourous when you are just a "piece" to oggle.

    Sometimes you have to let things fall where they will and not sweat it - doing it right yourself can make much more difference than trying to control other people.

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