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  1. #1
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    Default when will bellydancing ever be accepted

    I am so angry, I have tried to organise a show in my home town for weeks, weeks of aidvertising and hosting some of the best dancers in the area, spent weeks getting people to buy tickets etc..had to cancel at the last minute just couldnt get people interested, I was very angry, I know its a small town, but they have, ballroom classes, tap, jaz, salsa, you name they do it, when it comes to bellydancing, its a No, I have tried to advertise it as Arabic dance, Middle eastern dancing you name it I HAVE TRIED,must be something with this part of the world, had no problem when I lived in Germany, they supported anything that was to do with their own community, here it seems to be a subject of derision...why???? I have been organising shows for over 10 years, this place must be the worst.

  2. #2
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Oh dear, what a shame, and how frustrating.
    they have, ballroom classes, tap, jaz, salsa, you name they do it, when it comes to bellydancing, its a No,
    Is it that they don't want classes? Or that people who do those other classes aren't interested in a belly dance show?

    Round here I think a show would fall flat on its face unless there were already enough established belly dance classes around to have student support. I don't think the general public would be that interested, any more than they'd go to see a whole evening of ballroom dance unless they had a personal connection. And that's before you add in some people's strange ideas of what belly dance is about, or if they've "already seen it" at local restaurants.
    Last edited by Aniseteph; 11-13-2008 at 05:27 PM. Reason: clarifications

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default When??

    Dear Luisa,
    It seems that the other dance arts have the same issues. It really is not just belly dance. When I go to shows sponsored by the ballet teacher at our school, the people who turn out for those shows are either other teachers at the school, or the families of the ballet students. When my dance company sponsors a show, it is usually belly dancers from our immediate community who show up for them, not the general public. The same thing is usually true even when the BDSS comes to town. The average person is just not so interested in
    belly dance that they want to spend their $$ on a show, especially if dancers are doing a lot of events for free, as they usually are. It is just like I usually do not go to bull riding competitions, or spelling bees, or golf tournaments. These are also all niche markets and only people who have an interest in that stuff or someone in the event usually attend. And, since so many dancers are willing to dance for free, why should people pay to see what they can see for nothing? Belly dance is a very niche market. It is also a market where there is a lot of competition and market glut is a problem, so that many teachers do not want to spread the word when anyone else is having a show or workshop.
    I wish it was not like this but these are the cold, hard facts. Every time we do anything around here it is a struggle. I live in a pretty repressed area, but I have heard that even in bigger cities people are not turning out the way they used to.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 11-13-2008 at 06:15 PM.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Let's face it. Those of us who wish to put our dance on show have to rely on friends and family for the main bulk of our audience. Ths has to be the same for many local dance shows- you have the committed and their friends and getting any one else is the struggle. And if your BDcommunity is not established in the area to be begin with, attracting Joe and Jan Public is even more of an up hill struggle. Our show was months in the making but we knew from the start we had a job on our hands. Local newspapers and radio came on aboard far too late in the day and our audience was at break even in the end. However not only they enjoyed the show but so did we and we are being encouraged to take it to another town in a community theatre.
    I do believe you have to be sure of a core audience of supporters before you have an event. It isn't even that you can rely on fellow dancers in this game as most want to perform. I find there is a great reluctance from a largish section of our comrades-in-dance to go along to watch others dance unless you are performing yourself .
    And for many they have a one-dimensional view of the belly dancer and if they are not intigued enough to find out more, they are not interested. To the GP she's that glittery gal at the restaurant who you either think is great fun or you try very hard to ignore. Belly dance into mainstream.mmmm.
    Some of the best support comes from the "Arts " theatre who can be made to appreciate that this is the dance of a culture but therefore you have to be very careful what aspects of the dance you present and how you present them. In otherwords go for the night -club orientale and you had better make it classy!

  5. #5
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    I have tried it before, made it a mixed dance of the world show, we sold 20 tickets, cost us more to pay for the hall, tried to set up bellydance classes, had 2 people turn up. I set up workshops thinking that perhaps that may be better and they don't feel tied to a class weekly, nothing, the only response I got again was from other dancers who recognised the teacher as excellent and I managed to get a full house, but as for educating Joe public to the fine art of bellydance its a nightmare hand up all the dancers that have come accross people saying "ohhhh ye I have the belly"wrong wrong wrong,,,,but these pople I just ignore and move on...I will still put on workshops as I really enjoy them and I have a lovely hall, but as for support from them when i comes to organising shows, non existent, only interested if they are performing...that is so sad....I travel all over England to do a workshop with aparticular teacher, and I go to shows, how else can you improve????

  6. #6
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Location?

    Quote Originally Posted by luisa View Post
    I have tried it before, made it a mixed dance of the world show, we sold 20 tickets, cost us more to pay for the hall, tried to set up bellydance classes, had 2 people turn up. I set up workshops thinking that perhaps that may be better and they don't feel tied to a class weekly, nothing, the only response I got again was from other dancers who recognised the teacher as excellent and I managed to get a full house, but as for educating Joe public to the fine art of bellydance its a nightmare hand up all the dancers that have come accross people saying "ohhhh ye I have the belly"wrong wrong wrong,,,,but these pople I just ignore and move on...I will still put on workshops as I really enjoy them and I have a lovely hall, but as for support from them when i comes to organising shows, non existent, only interested if they are performing...that is so sad....I travel all over England to do a workshop with aparticular teacher, and I go to shows, how else can you improve????


    Dear Luisa,
    Is it possible for you to team up with a teacher in a bigger town or city where there is more action on the dance scene? Offer to do a co-teach in a workshop situation and pay half the expenses, etc?? I did this for some years with Ne Kajira Janan and it worked out well for both of us on many levels. She is retired now and I do miss her.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  7. #7
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    That is a thought, but unfortunately most of the teachers that were teaching around this area have given up for the same reason, lack of support and interest, I think some dancers think that once they have had a couple of lessons thats it they can go out and prform and unfortunately it really doesn't help when you get some local restauranter who are not interested in the bellydancer been a good dancer as long as she is young and pretty. There has also been that around this area, so I think I am fighting a losing battle, I have tried to get a little group together so we can do performances, but we all live too far away from eachother, to some of these people 5 mils is too far away. So sorry if I sound bitter, its just that I am a bit sore at the moment and I am thinking perhaps I should hang up my belt and leave be...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Here in my little town in NE Oregon, USA I only put on shows every few years. It is a lot of work and the market is very small. I have done one belly dance show and one ethnic dance show (Persian, Armenia etc). I have found that personally inviting people is the best approach. My dance partner knows tons and tons of people and she is my best marketing tool.

    I have only sponsored one workshop which was successful. I sponsored Aisha Azar who is well known here in the Pacific NW and I had dancers come from 250 miles away to take her workshop. But since I live a long ways away from everyone, I have not tried workshops again, it is just too risky.

    I sometimes only have 2 students in my classes too, I go ahead and teach the class anyway because those 2 students have friends and maybe they will bring them next time.

    Marya

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by luisa View Post
    That is a thought, but unfortunately most of the teachers that were teaching around this area have given up for the same reason, lack of support and interest, I think some dancers think that once they have had a couple of lessons thats it they can go out and prform and unfortunately it really doesn't help when you get some local restauranter who are not interested in the bellydancer been a good dancer as long as she is young and pretty. There has also been that around this area, so I think I am fighting a losing battle, I have tried to get a little group together so we can do performances, but we all live too far away from eachother, to some of these people 5 mils is too far away. So sorry if I sound bitter, its just that I am a bit sore at the moment and I am thinking perhaps I should hang up my belt and leave be...


    Dear Luisa,
    Maybe it is time to examine your reasons for dancing. I had to learn early on to separate the dance from dancers and from my chances to perform or teach. It sounds like you feel that you have a lot of worthwhile stuff to share and are frustrated because you don't get the chance to do so as often as you would like. Many, many of us have those same frustrating feelings and it IS depressing. the main thing is to realize that while the people in or out of dance will let you down, the dance itself never will. I spent some years knowing that I offer an above average, quality product when it comes to teaching, but because I am from a podunk town, it was difficult to get people to take me seriously. All that changed about 15 years ago for some reason, and now I have a good reputation among those who have taken workshops and classes with me but I sometimes still feel that I am not working enough.... then, I have to remind myself that even if I am doing nothing more than dancing and perfecting my art, I am contributing something of value to the dance. I hope you will take heart and be able to find some similar experience for yourself.



    Dear Marya,
    Wasn't that FUN????? I am looking forward to working with you here in Spokane in March. Winter will go quickly and you will be able to come down off the mountain before we know it.

    Regards to you both,
    A'isha

  10. #10
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    Dear Marya,
    Wasn't that FUN????? I am looking forward to working with you here in Spokane in March. Winter will go quickly and you will be able to come down off the mountain before we know it.

    Regards to you both,
    A'isha
    Aisha,

    I love your workshops they are always worthwhile and I was so happy dancers came from the Tri-cities to participate. I would love to have you back again, but there just aren't enough dancers here to get enough students.

    I am looking forward to your show in March. I guess I better start practicing.

    Marya

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