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  1. #1
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    Default What can a 36 yr. old woman expect...

    to gain from learning to belly dance? I doubt anyone really wants to be entertained by old ladies, but I would love to perform (for fun). Are there such things as dance troups where I could have partners? Am I just too old?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    You are not too old
    Most of the professional dancers I admire, are well into their forties.
    I think there is so much to gain from bellydance. Muscle control and toning, social enjoyment, new friends, a new hobby, gaining confidence etc etc.
    Depending on where you live there could be a troupe out there just right for you. If you start taking classes, the teacher could have a troupe or you could form a semi-sort-of-troupe with the rest of the class. Usually, where there is an active bellydance community, there is also some opportunities to perform, even as a beginner, at informal dance parties (called Hafla) or recitals at the dance school.

    Start investigating your area and find some teachers. Some will let you try it out for small fee without committing to the entire year or offer shorter sessions like 5-6 weeks.

    You should do it

  3. #3
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Motorcyclemama, I'm only one year younger than you, I'm overweight and I have no trouble getting gigs nor keeping up with younger or slimmer dancers. Bellydance is the one dance genre where it is encouraged to be older or have some padding (perhaps not as much as I do, but even more than I have is not frowned upon). Bellydancing comes from life, so like a painter or writer, the older we are, the more we've experienced that we can draw upon for our performance - whether that be in a classroom setting, up on stage, or anywhere in between.

    What you can expect from dance will vary according to each classroom you enter. It's probably best not to go in with any expectations about what bellydance is, to just experience it & form your own opinions. Be aware that you will be nervous, though. That's normal, and it last for anywhere from 30 seconds to 6 months, depending on what you are normally like in a new situation and what the classroom is like. I was going to give an age range of people who join bellydance classes, but again that varies according to location. In a major city, the average join age will be younger. In a more rural area, the average join age will be older. That said, even that generalisation can be turned on it's head and you may well find yourself being the baby of the group in the city, etc. Definitely understand that your first time will be unique to you - even the people who join your class on the same day will experience it differently to you.

    Bellydance is a strange and wonderful journey. I wish you all the best with it.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorcyclemama View Post
    to gain from learning to belly dance? I doubt anyone really wants to be entertained by old ladies, but I would love to perform (for fun). Are there such things as dance troups where I could have partners? Am I just too old?
    If 36 is "old" then I'm ancient - but I still get gigs. That said, if you start today don't expect to be dancing for the gneral public for a few years - there's lots to learn before you have enough skill or experience to "perform".

    In addition to performing though you get to learn about controlling your body; you can improve control, flexibility and strength; you learn about a whole new culture and new musical genres; etc etc

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorcyclemama View Post
    to gain from learning to belly dance? I doubt anyone really wants to be entertained by old ladies, but I would love to perform (for fun). Are there such things as dance troups where I could have partners? Am I just too old?
    If you are "old" Then I am more than ancient ... I am dust I am 63 in a weeks time. No I don't dance in restaurants, but within my bellydance community and I teach (at the moment mainly relief teaching) Teaching is my way of giving back to the community and I love it. One of my teachers has a 70 year old lady who began to learn bellydancing at the beginning of this year, she doesn't want to dance at student haflas or anywhere, she is doing it for fun and to keep active and she loves it! A lot of professional dancers are older than 36, a good friend of mine is 49 and teaches and dances professionally. Believe me, dancing keeps you young - Just go for it, have fun & enjoy. You can dance at local student haflas when you are ready within a group. Dance for your friends or just dance for yourself
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  6. #6
    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default If you think you are too old

    ...bellydance will probably will not change your mind, despite the good physical condition and stamina it will give you.

    But if you are just searching for compliments concerning age, here is a good one:
    No bellydancer is really good earlier than her 40 (this is what Arabs say).

    They mean, that experience of life before 40 is not really enough to make one a good bellydancer, as a bellydancer is expected to express life itself.

    So, you have 4 years to work hard and become a very good bellydancer, and yes, i know many dancers who are over 50 and still dance (in public) and teach.

    By the way, if your dream is to entertain people, go for it! I am afraid though, that people who want to be entertained might really not want to enjoy a bellydance performance. If you want to express yourself and share joy, then you are right in considering bellydance as your new thing... people around a bellydancer are not entertainment consumers (how can they be?).

  7. #7
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    I'm overweight and not much to look at but I love the costumes, even have a bit of affinity for the gothic style of belly dance. I have some DVDs I use, but I want to network with others to go further. I live close to Murfreesboro, Tennessee (a college town) and fairly close to Nashville. I just don't want to be in class with all 20 yr. olds. I appreciate a variety of ages. If I could ever get good enough to perform, that would be wonderful. I've worked and taken care of kids most of my adulthood and just want to do something for myself.

  8. #8
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    I actually really enjoy seeing older women enjoying belly dance as much as us young people do. Belly dance is great for your self esteem and it's a wonderful way to express yourself! I use my belly dance workouts to help take my mind off of life's troubles and to help me through an addiction.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorcyclemama View Post
    just want to do something for myself.
    THIS -- this is exactly what you can expect to get out of it.


    You certainly don't have to have "performance" as your ultimate goal for learning to dance. When I quit ballet I swore I was never dancing in public/performing again. The thing I liked so much about bellydance was how easy it was to just self-express with a limited movement vocabulary. You get some great music, learn 3 or 4 movements, and you really CAN express your self through movement. It's awesome.

    Mama -- do you need teacher suggestions for Nashville? I know some older (and by older I mean my age -- 40s) teachers in the area you would probably enjoy studying with. Also, save the first weekend of March of 2012 because the ever-fabulous Ranya Renee is going to be doing a workshop in Nashville, and you will LOVE her!

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Expect to have a lot of fun and meet new people... you won't regret it!

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