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  1. #41
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    I think Copeland is not aiming at the belly dancer audience, (though that is who usually seems to show up for BDSS events, nearly as I can tell),
    that's quite funny in a perverse way. Don't suppose he cares as long as they keep buying tickets though.

  2. #42
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    There's nothing wrong with young beautiful dancers. I think the objection is to young beautiful women with no dance experience or no experience in this field being given the preference over more talented, less conventionally attractive dancers. Copeland's main experience is as a rock promoter where the female dancers are often just part of the wallpaper and young and pretty is more valuable than skills.

    I live in San Francisco where you can't throw a rock without hitting a couple of young attractive TALENTED dancers so the supply is there.

  3. #43
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brea View Post
    In the bellydance world, a local pro dancer who has seen me dance wrote me a rather cryptic email about how she had some 'advice' for me and asked if I 'really wanted to dance in the restaurants'. I am going to assume that she is trying to be nice about telling me that I am too fat for professional dancing.
    I dunno who wrote you, but a local pro might have some good insights for you. No one has offered to give me advice regarding dancing in restaurants!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brea View Post
    The girls I HAVE seen locally are so thin you cannot see them when they turn sideways, and are also about a foot shorter than me. In one sense, at least if she tells me I'm too fat, it's better than her telling me I am untalented...but it does seem like the only way to become a full time pro in Minneapolis is to only eat lettuce.
    Well, there are lots of local restaurant dancers, and some are more slender than others. Some are average height (5'4"), and others are closer to six feet. I'm sure all the restaurant dancers either watch their weight, or have enviably fast metabolisms, but they also worked hard learning belly dance, and made the right connections. It's not all about the weight here, especially when you move away from the restaurant/mainstream venues**, into the belly dance community, which appreciates musical interpretation, audience connection, and technique more than a model's figure.

    And incidentally, I don't know any full time belly dance pro in Minneapolis who makes her living only by performing. Most of the pro dancers also teach. Everyone else has either a day job, or a husband to share the bills with. In fact, most of the teachers have day jobs, too.

    If you want to make all your money from performing belly dance in this town, you have to live very cheaply, be very determined, and also be very marketable.

    **I hope no one takes this to mean that I think the restaurant/gig dancers generally lack talent/technique/connection (quite the opposite), it's just that their appearance is more of a make-or-break issue than for dancers that attract a largely "dance-educated" audience to dance community events.
    Last edited by da Sage; 01-04-2008 at 04:25 AM. Reason: **

  4. #44
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    You're probably right, da Sage. I think my real problem stems from coming from a place where weight is lauded (Hawai'i) back to a place with more conventional ideas of beauty, particularly onstage.

    I have also worked a great deal as a dancer. I am a teacher too...I used to make all my money from these things but the move has done me in.

  5. #45
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    This is a great thread. I just turned 30 and I am was wondering the same thing. I took belly dance lessons a long time ago but was not consistent because I kept moving around. Now I am finally settled and signed up for Tribal style. I am very excited about this! It's good to know I still have a chance!!!

  6. #46
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    You know, you can dance at workshop shows and seminars too -- although they don't actually pay money, you can earn a lot of credibility and devout fans (LOL) by taking the opportunity to dance at those shows. For some people in rural areas, this is as "professional" as is possible.

  7. #47
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarobey View Post
    This is a great thread. I just turned 30
    You're practically a BABY in the dance world!! Most of my students started in their 40s and late 30s.

  8. #48
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Lisaj,
    I think Copeland is not aiming at the belly dancer audience, (though that is who usually seems to show up for BDSS events, nearly as I can tell), but at the general audience, where youth and beauty are the selling points. He does this on purpose. This is one of my issues with his shows; that they are very limited in their true portrayal of the world of Middle Eastern dance, and instead show a very white-washed, watered down version of what is actually a very complex dance form. But, if he wants to portray all young beautiful girls who are great dancers, I have no issue with that. I am over 50 years old and would not be able to get a job dancing in countries of origin to save my life, though I could probably teach. The way to put a stop to what the BDSS is doing is to stop showing up to watch the performances. If they do not sell tickets, they will not be there. I know I will not buy a ticket...ever... to see them, not because they are young and lovely, but because there is so little real talent on their stage.
    Regards,
    A'isha

    The opposite is the case with Raks B. and this was what I was discussing even though I have seen the "shows" on previous years ( and the audience was nearly all belly dancers even then)
    As far as we can tell he is now providing primarily for the belly dancers of UK and nearby Europe.There are very few other "types" in the audience. Raks Britannia is all linked up with a weekend of workshops and hosts a UK party night as well as the "show". This was where my comment originated.
    He just doesn't like our not so perfect bodies ( though some most certainly are ) and he made it very plain with overheard comment and his nasty glances.
    Maybe when he's in Las Vegas and pops off the Monte Carlo he puts on the show of showgirl belly dance and hopes to attract a more general audience and his glamour girls are what's most appropriate I suppose.
    I certainly wouldn't say there was no talent amongst the super-stars. Jillina is an excellent choreographer, Amore is a charming dancer and Bozenka a total delight- well they also thought so at Ahlan Wa Sahlan.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    You're practically a BABY in the dance world!! Most of my students started in their 40s and late 30s.
    Thanks I was worried that I was starting out late and would be somewhat at a disadvantage. But after reading these posts I can tell that it is never too late to start as long as you have passion and dedication

  10. #50
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chryssanthi sahar View Post
    Hey ladies, let a professional dancer who has been making a living out of dancing (performing and teaching) for more than 20 years now (this mean me) tell you one thing: YOU CAN ONLY BECOME A PROFESSIONAL, IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH ENGAGEMENTS (this means audience who wants to see you dancing) AND ENOUGH STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO EARN ENOUGH MONEY TO MAKE A LIVING OUT OF THE DANCING!!!! It is that simple! It doesn't depend on your decision to become a pro or not, it depends on what kind of work you do and on how many people find your dancing (and teaching) appealing. Of course the better the quality of your dancing, the better you chances. But on the other hand, hey, this is BUISNESS!!! If you live from dancing, you are not only a dancer and teacher, you are also a business woman, organizer, PR-person and manager (and in some cases even your own bodyguard). You have to be able to handle all of this at the same time. And you have to be able to handle the stress and pressure which is connected with it. So, as I already said, it is good to start slowly as a hobbyist, if you are successful enough become a semi-professional and if you go on been more and more successful drop your job and become a full professional. Everything else is unrealistic.
    I must agree with Chryssanthi's assessment! For me the key term is "professional". Based on Ms. Sahar's definition..I'm a semi-pro dancer. I started slowly as a hobbyist and performed in many student shows. I have over time accepted a few paid engagements and have taught dance to other students. I do not dance full time...I do not make a living as a dancer. I was 39 when I started dancing and being a mature individual...I realize that it takes hard work to become a professional and in my part of America there isn't enough gigs to go around anyway. The behind the scenes work is not as glamorous as the onstage appeal. It's just something to think about as one makes the plan to leap from amateur to professional.
    Yasmine

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