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  1. #1
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    Default Becoming a Professional Dancer (Age Related)

    I was wondering if one can ever be too old to begin aspire to become a professional bellydancer? For example, if you start dancing when you are 28-32, is it still possible to become a professional dancer? I know that in some forms of dance, such as ballet, one can pretty much count out wanting to become a professional if they haven't started in their teens, or early 20's. I believe the same rule applies to gymnastics (even younger for gymnastics), figure skating, etc. However, it seems that with ballroom dance and BD one would have the opportunity to become a professional if they had the drive and amibition to do so even if they did not start dancing until their late 20's or early 30's.

    What do you all think? I know that it takes years to become a great dancer and that individuals vary and learn at different speeds, but do you think it's possible for someone who did not start dancing until they were an adult to become a professional?
    Last edited by CurlyBellyGirl; 12-17-2007 at 07:07 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Member nitewindz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyBellyGirl View Post
    What do you all think? I know that it takes years to become a great dancer and that individuals vary and learn at different speeds, but do you think it's possible for someone who did not start dancing until they were an adult to become a professional?
    Yes you CAN become a pro belly dancer even if you did not start until adulthood. BUT a LOT will depend upon your dance skills and ... (slipping into flame retardant bedlah) ... your body type.

    Someone who's been doing other forms of dance or has a natural talent for dance will pick up on belly dance better than someone who's never ever danced at all before.

    I was over 40 when the director of a nationally known troupe encouraged me to try out for a spot -- partly because I am taller than her, and she needed taller dancers in the background. My body type (height) helped.

    For awhile I thought it was just a strange fluke based on my height, then a couple of years later another group offered me a spot. But I just can't go on tour, so I didn't.

    I can't comment on ballroom or swing because I'm not deeply involved in either one (my husband isn't much of a dancer).

    Women's gymnastics is -- IMHO -- almost ridiculous, in that only petite girls with pre-pubescent body types have any hope of succeeding, and even then as soon as they hit puberty they're pretty much washed up..

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    Nitewindz,

    When you say "body type" what exactly do you mean? I will assume that you mean in good shape and height:weight porportonate since you slipped into your flame retardant bedlah!

    BTW, I totally agree with the thing about gymnastics, which I had to stop when I was fairly young because I was already getting too tall even though I'm really not *that* tall as an adult (5'7 1/2) and was short until the end of high school. lol...

  4. #4
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    CurlyBellyGirl,

    As long as you have the drive to do something, you can do it. Even in ballet, if you start as an adult there is still a chance you can learn something and become a good dancer. Of course you won't become as good as someone who started at age 5, this is normal not only in dance but in any other field, just like you can't study two weeks before a "hard" test and expect to get the same grade as someone who has been studying the entire year. The beautiful thing about this dance is that it isn't all about physical or technical ability, but there is a mental aspect to it as well.There is also an emotional and cultural aspect that must be learned if you want to become a "great dancer", this by itself takes years and years to learn especially if you are not a native and was not born into that culture. The people, music and meanings behind it, language, customs and other things [about the ethnic culture this dance comes from] that you should have adequate knowledge about. This in my opinion is just as important as learning how to dance. Taking lessons and learning movement alone isn't going to make you a great dancer. Therefore, it isn't the same as, and shouldn't be compared to gymnastics, figures skating, or even ballroom dancing.

    If you are thinking about becoming a professional, the most important thing is that you practice this art with integrity and wisdom. And this applies to every other field, not only belly dancing. Today we see many intruders to the world of arts, music etc... people who try every means to become famous even though they don't have the required skills or talent. There are belly dancers who use the dance to become famous, fame being their end, not the dance itself. There are others who only care about making fast money, whether it is negatively affecting other people or the way dancing is perceived in the long run, it makes no difference to them. Bottom line, if you're thinking of becoming a professional dancer one day, make sure that you really ARE a professional and it is not just a label you attach next to your name.

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitewindz
    Someone who's been doing other forms of dance or has a natural talent for dance will pick up on belly dance better than someone who's never ever danced at all before.
    Hmm not always I think having experience with another dance form can work against you in some cases.
    I've only been bellydancing for almost 2.5 years now and ballroom & latin dancing for 1.5 years, but I already noticed I use a different technique for moving my hips than ballroom dancers do, because that's how I learned it at bellydance class. And I've heard bellydance teachers complain about "those annoying competitive ballroom dancers" in their class
    A little off topic though, I'm sorry. I agree with the others, you can become a professional at an older age. I feel a lot of bellydance movements are more "natural" than for example ballet movements. The emotional connection is more important than being extremely flexible. This makes the dance more suitable to learn at an older age than, for example, ballet.

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    These replies are really encouraging!

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    One thing for sure- you can't learn any younger.

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    V.I.P. chryssanthi sahar's Avatar
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    The age 28-32 is not too old to become a professional belly dancer, if you are talented and work hard on your dancing. But the question is, when do you become a professional belly dancer? IMO, you are a pro, when you make a living only with your dancing (performing and teaching, or only performing, or only teaching). If the money you earn with the dancing is not enough for living, then IMO you are not a professional, you are a semi-professional (half-professional). In order to be able to live from the dancing though, you have to start slowly as a hobbyist first. If you are successful and get enough performances (and/or students) you can go on as a half-professional. And if the performances and students become so many, that you don't have any time to do any other job and you also don't need to, because you earn enough money for living, then you are a professional. This is how I did it and this is how most of the other professional dancers did it (at least in the West. I don't know how exactly the career of the dancers in Middle East functions. I suppose kind of different). I think none of the pro-dancers just decided suddenly that she wants to become a pro. I mean, you can decide that, but it is not of much use, if you don't have enough people who would hire you for a performance or enough students who would visit your courses. Patience is very important!
    On the other hand, it is very difficult to become a fully professional dancer, when you start dancing over 40. It is quite unrealistic (even if not impossible).
    And a thing which unfortunately plays a role, is your looks. Of course it is relative what looks good and what not, but the whole picture has to be aesthetic somehow, if you want to make a living out of the dancing. This is not only a matter of the body type, but also a matter of the styling and of the radiation (I don't know if the last word is right in English, but I hope that you understand what I mean).

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Chryssanthi - by 'radiation' do you mean the power of the personality that shines through a 'performance' (don't really like the word performance, more interpretation - there's something of the flavour of honesty that I like in that latter word).

  10. #10
    Member nitewindz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyBellyGirl View Post
    Nitewindz,

    When you say "body type" what exactly do you mean? I will assume that you mean in good shape and height:weight porportonate since you slipped into your flame retardant bedlah!

    BTW, I totally agree with the thing about gymnastics, which I had to stop when I was fairly young because I was already getting too tall even though I'm really not *that* tall as an adult (5'7 1/2) and was short until the end of high school. lol...
    Well, that's part of what I meant. I'm not saying that people with other body types should not dance -- I think they should! A beautiful dancer is a beautiful dancer regardless of weight.

    But what's beautiful and what's marketable are two different things ... and weirdly enough, what the Media Industry considers "marketable" isn't always what people prefer...Lots of guys prefer women with flesh over the stick figure fashion models that dominate the media. But you won't see short or curvy girls on the catwalk. Look at the lead actresses in movies and TV, with very few exceptions, they're all slender.

    One of the reasons I enjoy Boston Legal is that Candice Bergman is not young or stick-thin, but the two lead male characters both have the hots for her!

    Our society is so weird about weight. Young girls are starving themselves in an effort to be thinner than they can ever be... I have big shoulders and no matter how much weight I loose I will NEVER be smaller than a size 12 on top!
    And on the other hand, medical experts are insisting that far too many people in our society are overweight, and that obesity is dangerous.

    There's nothing wrong with being slender or plump, or curvy or pear shaped or apple shaped or long and lean. The problems start when a persons weight is so far out of proportion (over OR under) to their height and bone size and body shape that it begins to endanger their health.

    But the Media Industry does not understand this and probably doesn't care to.

    And then, there's my own personal experience, where my height put me at an advantage over shorter girls who could dance just as well as me if not better. Body type gave me an advantage, and other girls a disadvantage. We can, to a degree, control our weight but our height is our height!

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