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  1. #1
    Junior Member Alysha's Avatar
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    Default Do you need classes?

    I'm new to belly dance so maybe it's a silly question but do you need to attend classes to perform or even get good? I know there are classes around but we only have one vehicle and my husband needs that and we don't have the money for me to attend online classes, so I'm feeling somewhat discouraged.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    If you grew up from birth in a family that belly danced socially - maybe not unless you want to go pro. If you want to learn belly dance with little or no background - yes - at least for a few years then you might (if you have the right skill set) be able to get by with the occasional workshop, private lesson and DVD study. (Frankly online classes are not a real option either unless you have had a real teacher).

    Why? Firstly there is so much to learn. I pack in the absolute basics in my Introductory course in 10 hours. An average person probably needs another 50-150 hours to consider moving out of beginner level - and that is with a teacher. Most online or DVD courses are only a few hour in total.

    A live teacher should be able to give you feedback on your technique - but also guide your study of what belly dance is (and is not), the beginnings of what various styles are - basically letting you know what you don't know. If you try and do it on your own you simply have not idea what you don't know. (Last night I ran into a ex-student who was talking about someone who had been a student with her and found the next level - ie past the firts 10 hours - hard. The ex-student asked with all honesty - "what else do you need to know?")
    Last edited by Kashmir; 12-14-2012 at 03:13 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    Would you try to learn a new language without ever talking to someone who spoke that language? Dancing is like a language you speak with your body and it doesn't come easily to most people. Even if you are naturally gifted, you need a teacher. I hope you can work things out so you can attend a class.

  4. #4
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alysha View Post
    I'm new to belly dance so maybe it's a silly question but do you need to attend classes to perform or even get good?
    If you've studied other styles of dancing before, then you could learn to belly dance from a DVD and do well enough to get a job in some restaurants. Professional belly dancers would probably think your dancing sucks, but you'd get away with it.

    If you've never studied dance before - then no, not a hope. Without a teacher, you won't be aware of your mistakes. You need someone to explain, encourage and correct you.

  5. #5
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    ...do you need to attend classes to perform or even get good?
    The short answer is "yes." Don't worry, your time will come. Maybe you could carpool to classes with interested friends?
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #6
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    The short answer is "yes." Don't worry, your time will come. Maybe you could carpool to classes with interested friends?
    This---this, this, this, this (Shanazel read my brain! )! We, too, only have one car, and Hubby uses it to get back and forth to work in (he works swing shift, and it's just easier for him take the car). When I first started lessons, they were in my hometown, so either my daughter would get me there and back, or let me borrow the car if she didn't have some place she needed to be that evening. When my teacher temporarily stopped giving lessons right before she had her first baby, most of the girls in my class started going to her teacher's class in the City, which is a little more than 30 miles away. One of my friends from class offered to take me, since we don't live too far from one another. So yes, there are ways of working things out so you can go to classes. Where there's a will, there's a way!
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 12-14-2012 at 08:14 AM.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    There is a weird phenomenon that happens when people try to learn something in isolation. It's often called "thinking you look fabulous when you really look foolish."

    People are notoriously inept at actually judging their own performance. I can email you a research paper about this issue. Without the help of a live, well-trained instructor (and I'm not talking about the teacher who has no more actual training or performance experience than you do) you'll never learn how to accurately assess your own skills.

    I speak from experience: after a couple of years of no regular classes, I recently started doing online private lessons with a mentor, and I had the extremely humbling experience of having some OTHER set of eyes realize that I'm not as awesome as I like to think I am lol.

    A good teacher will do more than teach basic movements, musicality, and cultural relevance. A good teacher will not only point out what needs work, but he/she will also help you learn to assess your own skills, so that you can ACCURATELY judge your own performance.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Alysha's Avatar
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    Should I still practice at home then or will that just make it worse until I can get into a class? I don't think I could completely stop but it is going to be a while until I can get into a class.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    No, definitely practice at home You may end up having some habits to unlearn, but that's do-able.

    I'd really seriously check out the carpool situation -- or public transportation if you live in a an area where that is a possibility.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    If you've studied other styles of dancing before, then you could learn to belly dance from a DVD and do well enough to get a job in some restaurants. Professional belly dancers would probably think your dancing sucks, but you'd get away with it.
    Actually unless you are switched on any belly dancers or people who have seen the real thing will think you dancing sucks - but restaurant dancing is not about "belly dancing" - it's about eye candy and entertainment. I know of one very experienced dancer who lost a long term gig when the mangaement changed and the new guy wanted to see young flesh. The replacement "dancer" could hardly dance in any style but looked goood in a costume.

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