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  1. #1
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    Default Burning question - to pro or not to pro?

    Hello!

    I'm brand new here and so excited that I finally "woke up" to find a BD forum. I have danced this style on an off (mostly on) for the past 6.5 or more years. I still take instruction in our city's Rec. Ctr. with the same instructor as I began with. I love her style and the dance, am am looking to find ways to take this to the next level, though realistically being the mom of 3 young'uns who works p/t, I'm not expecting (or even looking) to go Pro anytime soon.

    Which brings me to my question - I'd love to join a more formal troupe for more performance opportunities...time will tell if this is an option. I've always been curious to know how a dancer goes "Pro"? I think I asked this question in a roudabout way to my instructor (who's a bit younger than I, but not by much) a few years back, and I received a somewhat vague answer. I guess in a way I'm sort of embarrassed to ask her again for fear in her mind she'd think, "oh honey, don't ask...you've got a long way to go/will never get there at this pace."

    Basically, she started BDing as a teenager, and her instructor was a well-known dancer in this area. I'm not sure but it seems she was "asked" to become professional. I probably have this wrong, but just how much work, training, years, etc. does someone have to complete (in addition to having innate talent, perhaps) in order to go Pro? I don't think BDing is like golf where, once you complete 18 w/a certain handicap/score at a special tournament, you get your Pro card.

    1) So, how does this happen (how does one get to call themselves a BD Pro), then?

    2) What other levels are there, if any, besides beginner and intermediate (and Pro)?

    3) Do dancers offer themselves for hire (or to teach) when intermediate, or is this reserved for a Pro? If so, do you bill yourself an intermediate dancer for hire?

    These may seem like stupid questions, but I'm so interested to hear some answers. TIA for your replies!
    Last edited by astro_girl; 04-06-2011 at 09:17 PM.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astro_girl View Post
    am looking to find ways to take this to the next level, though realistically being the mom of 3 young'uns who works p/t, I'm not expecting to go Pro anytime soon.
    Well of course only YOU know your time commitments and priorities, but there are some pretty successful pros in my area who have kiddos.

    I guess in a way I'm sort of embarrassed to ask her again for fear in her mind she'd think, "oh honey, don't ask...you've got a long way to go/will never get there at this pace."
    Understood, but too -- you gotta start at some point!


    Which brings me to my question - I'd love to join a more formal troupe for more performance opportunities...time will tell if this is an option.
    First of all, is there a formal troupe available for you? If so, do you feel like you're just not up to their standards yet, or can you not yet meet their time commitments? What's preventing you from joining them now?


    I've always been curious to know how a dancer goes "Pro"?
    It's different for everybody. Sometimes a teacher will "push you out the nest" so-to-speak. Other times you will advance through a teacher's ranks.

    Sometimes you'll just get good enough that a restaurant owner will ask you. Other times you just print up some business cards or make a web site and seek your own work.


    I probably have this wrong, but just how much work, training, years, etc. does someone have to complete (in addition to having innate talent, perhaps) in order to go Pro? I don't think BDing is like golf where, once you complete 18 w/a certain handicap/score at a special tournament, you get your Pro card.
    HA! I wish we had any kind of professional standards!

    There's no magic number of lessons or hours of practice. Some people can study for 20 years and still not be "entertaining" when they dance. Other people seem to pick up the performing aspect pretty quickly.

    Basically people have to want to pay to see you dance. This can be affected by both skill AND by completely unrelated things like skin color, height, weight, age, number of freckles, boob size, etc.

    In order to work with a live band, you need to understand the music and be comfortable improvising. Now, in my area, I get a live band once a year if I'm lucky, so I'm stuck with CDs. A lot depends upon the KIND of work you're wanting. Restaurant work is the most common, but I make a better amount off private parties. The restaurants here don't pay squat.

    My advice would be to make a list. Write down what kind of jobs you want to get (what being pro means to you) and see if there are any opportunities for you. Then you can do a self-analysis to see if you have what it takes for those particular jobs. Sound okay?


    As for labels like "intermediate" -- they don't mean much. Few students who are truly at the intermediate level really are able to self-evaluate. They either estimate themselves much higher in ability or much lower.

    I think it's easier to ask what are the qualities that make up a pro dancer in whatever venue (private parties and weddings, restaurant work, local dance companies, etc.)
    Last edited by Daimona; 04-06-2011 at 09:45 PM. Reason: fixed a quote sign

  3. #3
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    (I messed up the quotes, so my replies are in blue)

    Thank you for your very quick reply and for your feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    First of all, is there a formal troupe available for you? If so, do you feel like you're just not up to their standards yet, or can you not yet meet their time commitments? What's preventing you from joining them now?
    Well, I've performed w/a group of girls under a troupe name, but the formality and frequency of it all leaves much to be desired. This is part and parcel to the fact that, to this point, I've only taken instruction from one instructor at our rec. ctr. Her style is more laid back, and I know that some of her own troupe sisters teach and are more proactive w/getting their girls performance time. I've just learned that one of my teacher's other troupe mates teaches a class (I've danced in the haflas she's organized in previous years) and has an apparently active troupe of her own. If I can convince DH to let me either join a 2nd class or switch class days w/our crazy schedule (I agreed to one "extracurricular" activity at a time), I'd join hers!

    It's different for everybody. Sometimes a teacher will "push you out the nest" so-to-speak. Other times you will advance through a teacher's ranks.

    Sometimes you'll just get good enough that a restaurant owner will ask you. Other times you just print up some business cards or make a web site and seek your own work.
    I'd have to be proactive in finding work, and become a bit more comfortable performing on my own. My own teacher does not have levels, so to speak. She does tell you once you can advance beyond her beginner class, but that's about it. Again, just her style and vision for her own classes.

    I probably have this wrong, but just how much work, training, years, etc. does someone have to complete (in addition to having innate talent, perhaps) in order to go Pro? I don't think BDing is like golf where, once you complete 18 w/a certain handicap/score at a special tournament, you get your Pro card.
    HA! I wish we had any kind of professional standards!

    There's no magic number of lessons or hours of practice. Some people can study for 20 years and still not be "entertaining" when they dance. Other people seem to pick up the performing aspect pretty quickly.

    Basically people have to want to pay to see you dance. This can be affected by both skill AND by completely unrelated things like skin color, height, weight, age, number of freckles, boob size, etc.

    In order to work with a live band, you need to understand the music and be comfortable improvising. Now, in my area, I get a live band once a year if I'm lucky, so I'm stuck with CDs. A lot depends upon the KIND of work you're wanting. Restaurant work is the most common, but I make a better amount off private parties. The restaurants here don't pay squat.

    My advice would be to make a list. Write down what kind of jobs you want to get (what being pro means to you) and see if there are any opportunities for you. Then you can do a self-analysis to see if you have what it takes for those particular jobs. Sound okay?
    Haha! I figured as much. So I'd have to gain my own comfort level then take initiative. I'm not sure how I'd approach restaurant owners, etc., but I could figure that out if that was the route I wanted to go.

    As for labels like "intermediate" -- they don't mean much. Few students who are truly at the intermediate level really are able to self-evaluate. They either estimate themselves much higher in ability or much lower.

    I think it's easier to ask what are the qualities that make up a pro dancer in whatever venue (private parties and weddings, restaurant work, local dance companies, etc.)


    Makes sense. I'd love to hear answers on this better-stated question, then. I'm still curious to know, though, for those who consider themselves professional...if they were told they were, or if over time they started to bill themselves as such. Again, not even considering myself in this arena...I'm just a humble momma who loves to dance, can keep a beat, and loves to shimmy my arse off (20 lbs. down...20 more to go!).
    Last edited by Daimona; 04-06-2011 at 09:47 PM. Reason: fixed your quoting code

  4. #4
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astro_girl View Post
    Hello!

    I'm brand new here and so excited that I finally "woke up" to find a BD forum. I have danced this style on an off (mostly on) for the past 6.5 or more years. I still take instruction in our city's Rec. Ctr. with the same instructor as I began with. I love her style and the dance, am am looking to find ways to take this to the next level, though realistically being the mom of 3 young'uns who works p/t, I'm not expecting (or even looking) to go Pro anytime soon.

    Which brings me to my question - I'd love to join a more formal troupe for more performance opportunities...time will tell if this is an option. I've always been curious to know how a dancer goes "Pro"? I think I asked this question in a roudabout way to my instructor (who's a bit younger than I, but not by much) a few years back, and I received a somewhat vague answer. I guess in a way I'm sort of embarrassed to ask her again for fear in her mind she'd think, "oh honey, don't ask...you've got a long way to go/will never get there at this pace."

    Basically, she started BDing as a teenager, and her instructor was a well-known dancer in this area. I'm not sure but it seems she was "asked" to become professional. I probably have this wrong, but just how much work, training, years, etc. does someone have to complete (in addition to having innate talent, perhaps) in order to go Pro? I don't think BDing is like golf where, once you complete 18 w/a certain handicap/score at a special tournament, you get your Pro card.

    1) So, how does this happen (how does one get to call themselves a BD Pro), then?

    2) What other levels are there, if any, besides beginner and intermediate (and Pro)?

    3) Do dancers offer themselves for hire when intermediate, or is this reserved for a Pro? If so, do you bill yourself an intermediate dancer for hire?

    These may seem like stupid questions, but I'm so interested to hear some answers. TIA for your replies!


    Hello, and no these are not stupid question, I have been studying belly dance since I was a teen as well, I had a teacher for a year of my studies and then she moved back to turkey so I was on my own after that but she was my personal teacher so a year did wonders, I'm 26 now and I have studied 6 different styles, I in love with the style. I was around 20 when I started performing pro.

    1.There is Beginner, Intermediate, and advanced, Everyone becomes a Advance dancer at different times. I know some dancers that have become "Pro" after only studying for 4 years, so it's different person to person.

    I can tell you how to do it, if you think you are ready.
    What I did was register myself as a business, I'm not saying this is how everyone did it but this is what I did, it did not cost me much, only $25 to own my company name and I got a EIN# so win I pay taxes, But you see I did this mostly because I was teaching as well.

    I made up flyers, business cards, and a website. I searched the internet for events to perform at.

    I perform for festivals, charity events, weddings, birthday partys ect.

    2.As far as I know I would say a Pro would cover it, no one has come up with anything else yet, I gave myself the title of Performing dance artist for my business title.

    3. Yes you could, because everyones level at intermediate will be different, As far as I would say performing is part of going into pro, the experence is part of the training. You don't really need to put as such because you could be a amazing belly dancer and should get paid on your skill at performing.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    You know, at some point those who want to go pro will usually sort of "outgrow" our instructor and require additional instruction or a different kind of class. That doesn't mean you don't still need your original instructor, but you might need a different kind of "push" to achieve a higher level.

    My advice would be to talk with the other women who also teach and see what kind of possibilities are out there. Be aware that troupe work is difficult -- not necessarily because of the choreography but because you're dealing with other bodies on stage and other egos, and you might need to devote extra time to rehearsals. If you can allocate this time and energy -- and be honest with yourself! -- then troupe work can be very fulfilling.

    I had the advantage of being able to practice and rehearse 2 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now that I have a little one on the way, I know that time is going to diminish substantially. (Heck I'm already too tired daily for more than 30-45 minutes of dancing.) I think being honest with yourself and your schedule can be one of the most important things about going pro.

    So check with the other ladies and see if the troupe is what you want to do. You can get a lot of good feedback from troupe members, not to mention racking up performance experience! Good luck!!

  6. #6
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Hi Astro_girl, I fixed your quoting code.
    A quote must start with [ quote] and end with [ /quote] without the spaces within the brackets. You just missed the /.
    --
    Daim.

  7. #7
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    I told myself I was ready, I got into everything I could


    My states Fairy festival
    Events to raise money for charitys
    Art festivals
    Hafla's (these are good for beginners)
    Weddings
    Birthday partys
    Baby showers
    Openings

    The list goes on, I never danced with a troupe until I made one "The infinity Sisters" which are made up of some of my students, You kind of have to say when you are ready for sure I think, cause even when someone says your ready you still have to say when.

  8. #8
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    May I refer you to the words of the founder of this forum? See Belly Dance Professional - Primer and the link that it takes you to.

    Regards,

    Anala

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anala View Post
    May I refer you to the words of the founder of this forum? See Belly Dance Professional - Primer and the link that it takes you to.

    Regards,

    Anala
    Perfect! She covered some pretty important points.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daimona View Post
    Hi Astro_girl, I fixed your quoting code.
    A quote must start with [ quote] and end with [ /quote] without the spaces within the brackets. You just missed the /.
    Thanks!

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