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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PriscillaAdum View Post
    I've never heard of such a thing. No such "code" exists here, or in any place that I know of.
    Well, she specifically said this was the way dancers work in Argentina, so if there are any argentinian members on the forum, it would be great if you can clarify this....

  2. #12
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a 'code' here as such, although good business sense says to NOT set up on another teacher's doorstep if you can help it - in the same sense that there are no 'rules' about running any other belly dance event like workshops and haflas on the same data, but it is sensible to check around and make sure there is not a major clash.

    On the one hand it's detrimental to all parties to have deliberate, unhealthy, head-on competition with another teacher. On the other, there can be limitations that force you into each other's flight path! I think communication between the two would be the key, so that each other knows they are not out to compete directly. Otherwise you end up with petty rivalries.

  3. #13
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    Several years ago, my own teacher was told by a student that there was someone else teaching a new belly dance class very close to where she had been teaching for many years. Nobody had heard of this woman so my teacher went to see her after one of her classes, to introduce herself and, of course, recommend that they kept each other informed of their respective activities.

    The new teacher expressed complete astonishment that there was already a teacher in the vicinity, despite the fact that she had actually taken a workshop with my teacher at a festival and must have been well aware of where she taught from the festival information, and she had also become pally with one of my teacher's closest dance friends.

    My teacher informed her about her background, where she taught, when her annual hafla was (always the same weekend every year) and how she could provide a bazaar at events as she was a frequent visitor to Cairo and had a large stock of hip scarves, CDs and accessories.

    The new teacher said oh yes, of course they should keep in touch and keep each other informed as it was important to work together. My teacher invited her to perform up her upcoming annual hafla but she declined as she said she already had an engagement.

    So, roll on a few months and the new teacher had started another class, again five minutes from another venue where my teacher already taught. Hmm. Anyway, some time later my teacher received a phone call from the new teacher, to inform her that she was to hold a hafla and to "check" that the dates wouldn't clash. Ah. It was exactly the same weekend as my teacher's hafla (remember, she'd told her that it was the same weekend every year) and what is more, she had *already booked everything* and declined to change the date. Now, remember my teacher had said that she could provide a bazaar? The new teacher had booked a bazaar from a couple of hundred miles away as part of her attractions.

    So, my teacher was left in the situation where she obviously couldn't hold a major belly dance event in the same town on the same weekend and she was unable to find a venue for an alternative weekend as it was in the run-up to the Festive season. My teacher had to cancel her event which meant that a couple of hundred students and their families were left disappointed and she had no income for a whole month as she then taught for Adult Ed and the revenue from her bazaar and ticket sales would have provided a small amount to tide her over the holidays.

    The new teacher very graciously invited my teacher to perform at her hafla, which she did, although I can't imagine how she must have felt when she was expecting to be at her own event that weekend.

    So, the next year, the new teacher starts hosting workshops with high-profile teachers. My teacher finds out only after the first event so she asks the new teacher on the phone why she never sent her any flyers; the new teacher replies that she though my teacher would be away for the whole summer. Er?

    Anyway, the new teacher then holds another hafla, which my teacher hears about (although she isn't informed about it directly) so she asks one of her students who is attending if she'd mind taking some of her flyers to put out at the event, with the organiser's permission. After the event, the student returns the flyers to my teachers as the organiser refused permission, saying that my teacher was "direct competition"; this is after agreeing that they should welcome this at each other's events at their first meeting.

    Well, there is much, much more, not least the fact that this new teacher heralded her arrival with a newspaper article headed "A Belly Dance Teacher For 25 Years" when it emerged that she'd taught and performed belly dance in the UK for a year in the early '80s after working as an aerobics teacher in a Gulf country for a year, learnt "directly from the Arabs", had one lesson when she came back to the UK and then taught herself to dance from a book. She then had no contact with belly dancing for 20 years and decided to take it up again shortly before she appeared in the same town as my teacher (nowhere near where the new teacher lives, incidentally), by then taking classes with Jacqueline "Pencil In The Vagina" Chapman to "update her skills". This isn't hearsay, it was all in her own words, on another message board. Amazing how you can "teach yourself belly dance" by picking the brains of those with genuine experience on a message board. Don't know how to make a lesson plan (despite advertising yourself as a belly dance teacher for 25 years)? Ask the message board!

    Now this teacher has many classes in the same area, including one right next door to where my teacher currently teaches, in the very same room where my teacher used to hold her annual hafla (which she's now abandoned as the whole situation has made her so depressed).

    As far as I can see, the business of belly dance in the UK is thoroughly rotten, populated with two-faced megalomaniacs whom many people believe to be sweet, charming individuals and often the teachers with the biggest classes are those with the least talent or knowledge. Sorry for the long post, but I think the more we share these experiences the more people will realise what it can be like in the belly dance "community" and what you can find yourself up against if you're planning on becoming a teacher. Having talked to many people at many festivals around Europe, it seems that this sort of behaviour is everywhere.

  4. #14
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Sorry to say that I've heard many variations of that before and will undoubtedly hear them again (not about those particular people). That sucks!

    Jacqueline "Pencil In The Vagina" Chapman
    huh?

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Sorry to say that I've heard many variations of that before and will undoubtedly hear them again (not about those particular people). That sucks!



    huh?
    This thread! http://forum.orientaldancer.net/othe...ncil#post63373

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Suheir,
    You could be describing, almost exactly, what has been going on in my city as well!! The only differences are that my company has made a huge attempt to call a meeting with all promoters in the area, so that we could figure out how to divide up the calendar year among dancers so that we are not stepping on each others' events. We even promised to do only two events a year ourselves if everyone else would agree to share the market. The one in our town has been dancing about 4 years; a fact that she does not state in her bio, and somehow has managed to learn and TEACH an amazing number of dances in that time...(???). She also seems to purposefully plan her events at the times that we have clearly and often stared that we will be scheduling our's, in March and October. We have tried to reason with her to no avail. She just accuses us of all the things she is doing... We now just try our best to work around her and no longer feel bad if we have to schedule an event two weeks before her's.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  7. #17
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Blimey Suheir. If it's who I think, perhaps it's not so much a matter of the time spent in bellydance as the time spent in PR. I bet the ethics in the PR industry make bellydancers look like a bunch of lightweights.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Blimey Suheir. If it's who I think, perhaps it's not so much a matter of the time spent in bellydance as the time spent in PR. I bet the ethics in the PR industry make bellydancers look like a bunch of lightweights.
    I think you just about hit the nail on the head!

  9. #19
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    i don't know of any code, but maybe it's a matter of courtesy in small places where the market is limited. I mean, if it's a huge city with a large market, then i don't see any harm in having a different school every 2 blocks, no one is losing out in that case.
    Perhaps if it is a small place though, an instructors may feel that another might understand and show the courtesy of not splitting the already tiny market in that place and putting them both in a position of going out of business.
    I think as well that it depends on the "community" meaning what kind of relationship the instructors have. For example, my ex-instructor is insanely competitive - she has lost several of her more experienced dancers recently (myself included) for this reason. Two of the dancers that left now teach on their own - one actually started teaching in another city where she lives (on the opposite end of the island!), BEFORE she had joined our studio and another started teaching in a town outside of the city - a suburb if you will. This was a HUGE issue for my ex-instructor, even though these instructors weren't directly in her market space. On the other hand, the same girl teaching in the other city, teaches a second class now in the same studio that i do and we get along well enough.
    So, all in all alot of it depends on the individuals themselves and how much they're focused on their own success as opposed to being fair to everyone in the community.

    or maybe that's just the way i look at it.
    Mya

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mya View Post
    So, all in all alot of it depends on the individuals themselves and how much they're focused on their own success as opposed to being fair to everyone in the community.

    or maybe that's just the way i look at it.
    I think you're right, Mya. Some people just have those dollar signs shining in their eyes.

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