How do I become a professional belly dancer?
Hello out there experienced beautiful bellydancers! I just started a bellydancing course for beginners (egyptian style) It is a lot of fun, however I'm not sure if I should register for a program at a University or continue with the workshops? What is the best route to take if in pursuit of becoming a professional?
It's an investment, learn everything within your reach, but make sure you are getting good quality! Years of lessons with a second rate instructor will be a poor investment compared to fewer lessons with a top notch one. Read books, take classes, watch instructional videos, travel to the Middle East if possible, take workshops, practice tons, watch performances, take private lessons and stay on this forum. Quality matters.
If you work hard and have a natural talent for this dance it can be done.
You should take as many classes as you can with the best teachers that you can. Weekly classes (or more than once a week) are more important than workshops. If you can't find a good local teacher whom you enjoy working with, you should relocate to an area with one or more good teachers.
Originally Posted by bellybeginer
A college course in bellydancing may or may not be as challenging as "normal" classes. It depends on the teacher and the curriculum.
It is a rare bellydancer who can progress well with workshops alone. Workshops are supplemental, unless you are doing that whole Suhaila thing.
First get a good grasp of the "basics" - this includes posture, the underlying movement vocabulary, technique, understanding of history & culture. Ideally with an experienced and respected teacher. A class a week is a bare bones minimum - if you want to go pro you'll need to get a more than that plus workshops as they arrive. You should also plan on some private lessons. This stage probably will take 5-10 years.
You will need to master some props - such as zills, veil and cane as a minimum.
I assume you already have passion, talent and charisma. A pro dancer will also need a good level of fitness, flexibility and "conventional beauty". The general public are more interested in looks than ability. So you will need to work on these - ideally guided by professionals in the field eg sports physios, well tarined persoanl trainers (not the done a weekend workshop type) who know about the requirements of dance.
You will need pro level costumes - no wrap around belts - and more than one costume change! Plus you own (legal copies) of a wide range of appropriate Middle Eastern music. So start building up what you need.
Travel to the Middle East isn't essential - but it helps. But training under some Middle Eastern teachers is highly recommended. University isn't usually part of the process.
Skills in business are a plus - even if it is just how to deal with an agent. Networking with other dancers is very useful.
Classes in ballet and/or jazz may help - especally if you have no prior dance background.
I assume you are either American or from the UK.
You are thinking of choosing between learning to bellydance and go to university..to get a career I assume.
If you like to eat and keep a roof over your head get a career.
Learn to belly dance as well and supplement your income with fees from dancing when you are competant ( and are told by experts you are ready)and have managed to find the money to buy at least a couple of professional style costumes.
I know only a handful of very talented and hard working people who earn a living from Belly Dance here in the West. If you are from elsewhere I cannot say.
Oh, you think she was thinking of throwing over college to study bellydance? I thought she was asking us to help her choose between studying bellydance through a college course, or studying bellydance only through workshops.
Originally Posted by lizaj
Neither of which is ideal - most colleges only have a year's worth of ethnic dance classes of any one kind, and she needs more than a year's worth of study to reach professional level. Workshops are hit-or-miss, and don't provide what dancers need to learn and reinforce the basics.
Quitting (or avoiding) school to pursue dance is a stupid move. Everyone I know supports their dancing with their day job, or used their (professional) day job to pay for years of training to become a professional dancer.
If you have a good regular job, you can take or leave dancing gigs. You never have to undercut or accept bad working conditions to pay the rent. Because you don't have to compromise your art to earn money from it, you are able to present a better face to the public, and eventually set yourself up to earn much more per gig/teaching engagement than a dancer who "needs the money".
If you actually were considering skipping/leaving college to become a professional bellydancer, you should DEFINITELY rethink your goals. Someone who doesn't understand why leaving school would slow your progress, doesn't have the business acumen to run a successful dance business.
Why are you thinking of becoming a professional yet?? Your current goal is to improve your dance. You cannot have learnt the basics yet - if you think you have I can assure you that it takes everyone years to prefect. Maybe you will stay with the dance long enough, but to look at it now in terms of becoming professional is the surest way to risk disillusionment when you find out how long it takes
I can relate to how she thinks. I haven't been taking lessons for very long, but if I can't see myself doing something for the rest of my life then it's not worth pursuing. I think about being a pro one day... although I know it's not going to be anytime soon. Being excited and motivated about what I could one day become is what pushes me to continue to work hard!
Originally Posted by jenc
maybe because I'm already 59 but the way I look at it is - I want to do the best i can Iwant to learn more about if it takes me a lifetime..... that is the way forward
Originally Posted by Liynaa