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  1. #51
    V.I.P. chryssanthi sahar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yasmine Bint Al Nubia View Post
    . 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
    Very well said Yasmine! Many people don't realize that it is not only fun to be a professional dancer. One has to be able to stand a lot of stress and as I said in my former posting, you are many persons in one: dancer, teacher, choreographer, organizer, PR-agent, manager, book-keeper and in some cases tailor and even bodyguard

  2. #52
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I'm 57 started last year and am determined to be a good dancer in another2

  3. #53
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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.
    Well said, but all this applies only if a woman is not my age correct? That being 53.

  4. #54
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna marie View Post
    Well said, but all this applies only if a woman is not my age correct? That being 53.
    Nothing is impossible if you've got what it takes and is willing to work really hard to achieve this dream. Of course, you also need to consider if you have got what your local market/community wants from a bellydancer.
    A friend of mine started bellydancing in 2002 (iirc, might have been later as well). She is now in her mid-50ies and has worked her way up to become a professional bellydancer (although starting her bellydance career rather late, she did have a lot of previous dance experience in other genres).
    --
    Daim.

  5. #55
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    I would say it depends on what you define as "professional." I started ballroom dancing as a student (amateur) in my mid twenties, and then became a teacher (professional) of social level dancing...it was my full time job and how I made a (meager) living...but on a professional competitive level I couldn't hang with dancers who'd started when they were very young OR who'd had a lifetime of ballet, tap and jazz behind them.

    That's one of the many reasons I'm starting to love belly dance so much! I think the community itself is much less ageist and less competitive, and focuses more on the love of dance, curiosity of different cultures, and sharing of knowledge.

    Professional doesn't always equal better, in my opinion. When you are a professional, you have to focus on your students, customers, etc first and foremost. As a student/amateur, you are allowed to put yourself first, and I personally relish the training I get as a student. Also there are performance opportunities for students, not just professionals.

    So I guess it all just goes back to what exactly you mean by "professional"? Teaching, performing, selling...? Or just dancing as much as possible?

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna marie View Post
    Well said, but all this applies only if a woman is not my age correct? That being 53.
    I turned professional when I was 39 and continued in that field up until 51, when I decided I'd had enough. I still do the odd gig upon request, but to be honest, I've more or less lost interest in performing professionally, and one does have to have the sense to know when to bow out from that arena. Being a good professional bellydancer is dependent upon several factors, not just dancing ability, but looks and presentation also. Luckily, ,this is a dance that embraces more mature dancers, and many remain at the top of the field well into their fifties. But the reality is, that gigs such as restaurants, do generally prefer younger, more nubile dancers.

  7. #57
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    I have a different view on who I call a belly dancer or a professional belly dancer:

    I don't call all people who do belly dance 'belly dancers', only the ones who teach or perform (pro or non pro) I call belly dancers*, professional dancers to me are the ones who get paid for teaching/performing and a good dancers. They don't necesarily live from it, they might have another job.
    I think there are only a very very few who can live from it. I would find it strange to call all the amazing professional dancers (who are in my eyes pro) 'semi-pro' or not pro at all (

    *so hobbyists or students I would call a 'belly dance student' or 'belly dance hobbyist'. Otherwise is gets too confusing for the GP, they think 'belly dancer' is a professional belly dancer.

  8. #58
    Member Avariel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyBellyGirl View Post
    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?
    I think you've gotten a lot of really great responses already; and the "line" between professional and amateur or someone coined "semi-professional" is always a little fuzzy, in all manner of work, not just dance. I didn't consider myself a creative professional or professional graphic designer until I was hired to work full time by an agency that specialized in such things.

    I DO think that you can turn bellydance into your career even if you didn't start dancing until age 29. I didn't start until age 22, myself, but I also had a nice juicy 15-year training background in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, etc, so I did pick it up faster than someone who has no basic training on body movement. So it's possible, but like becoming a professional at ANYTHING, it requires a lot of work, dedication, and aspiring to the standards set for you by other professionals. This does not mean that you can always look at other dancers in town who may be getting paid and simply dance at their same level; sometimes restaraunts are willing to show somewhat shoddy performers because they think there's nothing better out there, or they rely on the mythical unicorn mystique of "bellydancer" on their billboard to draw in customers, even if said customers never come back again after a horrible show. Look to highly acclaimed professional dancers, those who have made a living off of their dancing, who have a serious following of students and have a long repetoire of performances, companies, and shows to their name, and accept that as the standard that you should be shooting towards if you're going to start charging for a show. Even if you may not get there right away or at all, even, you've set your standards high and this will ensure that, whether you're charging for shows or not, people will see you dancing at a "professional" level of skill and talent.

    I think the body issue is a reasonable one; I love that bellydance allows all ages and sizes to participate, practice, and grow as dancers, but as a professional, you are representing to the general public this beautiful art form; what you do and look like is going to give them an impression of bellydance, and all other bellydancers. I would say that it's less about "be as thin as possible" and more about trying to show the world your healthiest, most glowing self. I don't believe you have to have a perfect body to perform professionally; but if you radiate health and confidence, that is truly beautiful, and I've seen audiences become captivated by regularly shaped women of varying sizes who look like they take care of themselves, love their bodies, and let it show on stage. That's truly what attracts people to beautiful dancers; not that they fit within some "mold" but that they radiate a vitality and a life that is harder to see in performers (men and women) who look like they don't care or don't take care of themselves.

  9. #59
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    It was such a nice experience to read this thread!

    I started to take bellydance classes at the age of 24-25, 4 years have passed and i'm currently the 2nd oldest member of our dance group. This seriously made me doubt in myself. I found it very frustrating to see other younger dancers developing themselves much faster than I could develop. What made my frustration even bigger is, that in dance competitions there is a "senior" category for dancers above the age of 40 or sometimes even 35+. Unfortunately there is almost no events apart from competitons, where it would be possible to perform (apart from restaurants of course, which would not really be family friendly job).

    On the other hand, I have a good job, I have a husband and a dog. I accepted that if I had started as a student, probably I would have had much more time to practice. In the end I came to the conclusion that I dont want to be a professional in a strict meaning of the word, I just want to reach a point where I feel that I am able to fully express my feelings through dance, that would mean pro for me.

    After reading all these comments my frustration really appears ridiculous to me. So, thank you

  10. #60
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Letti View Post
    It was such a nice experience to read this thread!

    I started to take bellydance classes at the age of 24-25, 4 years have passed and i'm currently the 2nd oldest member of our dance group. This seriously made me doubt in myself. I found it very frustrating to see other younger dancers developing themselves much faster than I could develop. What made my frustration even bigger is, that in dance competitions there is a "senior" category for dancers above the age of 40 or sometimes even 35+. Unfortunately there is almost no events apart from competitons, where it would be possible to perform (apart from restaurants of course, which would not really be family friendly job).

    On the other hand, I have a good job, I have a husband and a dog. I accepted that if I had started as a student, probably I would have had much more time to practice. In the end I came to the conclusion that I dont want to be a professional in a strict meaning of the word, I just want to reach a point where I feel that I am able to fully express my feelings through dance, that would mean pro for me.

    After reading all these comments my frustration really appears ridiculous to me. So, thank you
    If you don't mind me asking, where are you from? Where I'm located I have always been the youngest person in my class since I started belly dancing when I was 20, now almost 5 years later I am still usually the youngest in my class. My friends who are closer to 30 are also among the young ones.

    I got the impression that this was the case in a lot of the US, so I'd be really surprised if they had a "senior" category starting at 35! I could see that happening in other countries where people typically start belly dancing at a younger age, though.

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