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  1. #1
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    Question How Long Did It Take YOU To Go From Amateur to Intermediate?

    I was just wondering, many people on here seem to have been belly dancing for YEARS. I noticed that especially when I looked at the performing section.

    But did it take years to become good enough to perform? How long was it before you moved past the 'beginner' stage and felt more like an authentic belly dancer?

    I'm starting belly dancing on Tuesday, and I'm extremely excited, but will it take months, or a year or two before an average person is good?

  2. #2
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    Default It takes a while...

    Hi,

    It's a good question. I've been dancing about 30 years, so I'm one of the ones who's been dancing and teaching forever.

    When I first started dancing, I really immersed myself in it and danced at home a LOT. One of my friends made me do a show with her when I'd been dancing about 3 months, but I really wasn't ready.

    The answer to your question comes in several parts: First, are you learning to dance in order to perform, or more for yourself? Second, how often are you taking classes? Are you studying any outside of class? Third, are you a natural dancer or have prior dance experience in another venue? Answer those questions and you'll start to see the answer to your question.

    I would say for most dancers, the earliest would be about 6 months. That doesn't mean you can't perform at student events before then, but I'd wait at least that long to perform in public. Lots of dancers perform way before they 'should', but then, who's to say what they 'should' do? I'm just meaning before they really start to look good.

    To really perform well takes about 1 - 2 years of experience for most people, if they are dedicated and spend a good amount of time on it. But there's nothing wrong with getting out there sooner as long as you don't represent yourself as a professional.

    In other words, it really all depends on you. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

    Jana "Amira"
    Essence of Egypt Dance School
    Learn How To Belly Dance with belly dance classes, belly dance videos and belly dance DVD's

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amira_116 View Post
    Hi,

    It's a good question. I've been dancing about 30 years, so I'm one of the ones who's been dancing and teaching forever.

    When I first started dancing, I really immersed myself in it and danced at home a LOT. One of my friends made me do a show with her when I'd been dancing about 3 months, but I really wasn't ready.

    The answer to your question comes in several parts: First, are you learning to dance in order to perform, or more for yourself? Second, how often are you taking classes? Are you studying any outside of class? Third, are you a natural dancer or have prior dance experience in another venue? Answer those questions and you'll start to see the answer to your question.

    I would say for most dancers, the earliest would be about 6 months. That doesn't mean you can't perform at student events before then, but I'd wait at least that long to perform in public. Lots of dancers perform way before they 'should', but then, who's to say what they 'should' do? I'm just meaning before they really start to look good.

    To really perform well takes about 1 - 2 years of experience for most people, if they are dedicated and spend a good amount of time on it. But there's nothing wrong with getting out there sooner as long as you don't represent yourself as a professional.

    In other words, it really all depends on you. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

    Jana "Amira"
    Essence of Egypt Dance School
    Learn How To Belly Dance with belly dance classes, belly dance videos and belly dance DVD's
    I'm dancing more for myself but I definitely want to show it off and dance for others too. I'm in highschool so I was thinking it would be really fun to show off at my school's dance showcase (which would be held around April of 2009). I don't know if I'm a natural but from what I've done in the mirror (without classes) I'd say I'm very mobile regarding my hips and stomach, as well as my spine, and that I look good doing it

    But I was curious as to if in that time I would be competent enough to really impress my peers and teachers.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    I really wonder about the amateur/professional staus in this dance.
    It also depends on you nationality. I would assume an American is more likely to earn a living as a belly dancer than a Brit.
    I know girls who call them selves professional because they have earnt £25/50$ and a plate of pasta at the local Greek restaurant and they are not a patch on some of the dance school students who trot our at local haflas.
    I suppose I can say I am pofessional because I teach a couple of classes but of course I aim for that money to finance my interest in belly dance. My real income is from 2 pensions. I don't kid myself.
    Aim for being the best dancer you can- forget labels and if someone likes your dancing, one day somone will pay you to dance.
    If you are young especially and have that "fire in your belly" then go for it and don't let labels restrict you.
    I offer a link to a British dancer who has made it by hard work and determination but she is one of a very small number who don't have to do any to back up their dancing in this country.

    The Cambridge science graduate who gave up lab work for a Bachelor in belly-dancing | Mail Online

  5. #5
    Member Lotus Dancer's Avatar
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    Go for it!!! I have lot's of school students in my 12 and under class, and also my Teen class. Both of these classes have performed at there schools and had a Blast!!!
    The audience loved it, and were absolutely blown away by the kids, and the dancers just rock'd the place.
    Find some music that you really love, and music that is relevant to your audience as well. e.g. school, find music that they might know. Or go the other extreme, find something simply amazing that they would never have heard before it will blow them away. (Snake-Charmer by Bass Nectar and Kraddy is a good one.)
    Good Luck Kiddo.
    My best advise is to choreograph your dance. When getting up in front of an audience, I need a structured routine, otherwise I find myself repeating certain steps over and over. Whereas with a choreography I nail it, and I'm confident I'm portraying the best of my dance technique. I come away from the show exhilirated!!!
    Good Luck
    Lotus Dancer

  6. #6
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    Thanks Lizaj for the heads up and Lotus for the encouragement.

    In reply to both of you, how long though did it take you before you were good enough to impress people and get out of the beginner stage?

    I've seen some people my age belly dance before and compared to what I've seen from performers in Arabian restaurants and on Youtube, they seemed pretty new to it, had very few moves with uncomplicated beats, and so on.

    I want to avoid putting myself out there like that if I'll look back at it later and realize how much skill I lacked. So I'm very curious as to how long it takes for people to get to the Arabian restaraunt/show-off-and-make-people-envious dancing level.

  7. #7
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    One thing that separates beginners from decent performers is musicality. Spend a lot of time listening to Middle Eastern music and understanding the emotion behind it, and that will give you something that many dancers just don't have.

    You can also videotape yourself, that way you can see where you need improvement. It's one of the best tools you can make use of.

    But I think April is probably a doable goal as long as you're willing to invest some time into it. You can't do one class a week and be a pro in 6 months, but if you dance most days at least some, and you take as many classes as you can, you could be really stunning.

    Hey, if you need a choreography to learn and perform, I have one on DVD I could send you - it's really cute. Just let me know. If you're going freeform, then practice to your music (and lots of other music too!) a lot. Get to know where the changes are and have at least a few basic moves planned. Then just play with the rest of it.

    Just remember, it's got to be fun, too, no matter how much work you're putting in.

    Jana "Amira"
    Essence of Egypt Dance School
    Learn How To Belly Dance with belly dance classes, belly dance videos and belly dance DVD's

  8. #8
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I want to avoid putting myself out there like that if I'll look back at it later and realize how much skill I lacked.
    No matter how good you are when you start, if you continue to learn, you will someday look back and slap yourself on the forehead and utter some version of the phrase, "Uff Da! WHAT was I thinking?"

    My husband is a musician who says to improve your performance, you must first start to perform and work your way from there. That is NOT to say you should perform from the moment you can manage a decent hip lift, but it does mean to cautiously put yourself out there in student performances and build up to more critical performances. It is a very different matter to perform in class for fellow students, for a small group of friends, and for a critical audience.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I've been learning for about 18 months now, and I'm definitely a beginner - loads and loads to learn, and so much fun to be had! Personally, I think it's like learning music, I played both piano and clarinet (and few other bits and pieces) all through my childhood and teens, and I got 'reasonable' - well I could play some quite difficult pieces and have my letters (LTCL and LRSM) in piano - but I'm still an intermediate player, not at all ready to play piano professionally. You could say I have been playing piano for 35 years... in terms of where I'm at with dancing, I'm starting to feel like I enjoy performing, I love the music - but I'm still a newbie. And that's OK. I've done a couple of performances, but that's a long long way from thinking I'm anything but a newcomer. And again that's OK - the real question is, are you enjoying yourself? Are you progressing? Do you feel the music? Does your audience feel the music with you? If you can answer these questions, it doesn't matter how technically difficult your dance is, you're doing what dance is all about - communicating the music through your body.

  10. #10
    Member Lotus Dancer's Avatar
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    Default Yes I couldn't agree more

    [QUOTE=Shanazel;83513]No matter how good you are when you start, if you continue to learn, you will someday look back and slap yourself on the forehead and utter some version of the phrase, "Uff Da! WHAT was I thinking?"

    Absolutely I couldn't agree more!

    Take your time, get some music, and practise.
    Video yourself and see what the audience will see. No one will critique your dance like you will. No one knows your choreography, only you. It's just practise.

    I danced for about 12 months before I did a troop demonstration, and it's so much fun. But I had the confidence to do it, because I was with a troop.
    I only started doing solo's after I began teaching. And dreaded it to start with. I hated being the absolute centre of attention. (OHHH BUT HOW THAT's CHANGED!!!! Little Miss Extrovert)Hee hee

    I guess it's different for everybody, and only you know when the time is right for you.
    Get the video, and see what others see.
    Maybe do some stuff for mum, or your friends just to start with.
    Good Luck.
    I think I now dance for the joy and the emotion of the dance, and my audience's see that and comment everytime.

    The best dancers I have ever seen in my life have shown emotion and evoked emotion within me, with there dance. They feel IT! They transport themselves somewhere else, and take you on a ride with them.
    That's Dance, that's performing, that's magic!!
    Good Luck
    Lotus Dancer

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