Becoming a professional.

Imeera

New member
Hello everyone!

I have been thinking, a lot, about performing. Finally coming to the conclusion that it is something I would love to do. I am shy by nature with people but it goes away when I act, and dancing is akin to acting. Of course my University studies have first priority but I love belly dance, as all of you do, and doing it professionally, even as a career, is a kind of dream which I thought I could never have. Though I am sure I wouldn't be the only one with a full time job and performing belly dance on stage would I?
I am no where near where I should be to become a professional skill wise, however I will get there in time. Its just setting my goals and knowing what I need to do to achieve this.

So here are my questions;

1) How much training did you do a day/week/month to become good enough to be professional (or "stage worthy" as I suppose you never really stop learning =])?
2) What things did you go over daily? ie your "move timetable" or what do/did you drill most offten, the basic moves? Harder moves or everything in rotation? Or other?
3) Do any of you have full time jobs as well as performing belly dance? Is it possible to perform and work full time?

I would like to have it as a career, I think that would be amazing, but I am too set on changing to world to do so :rolleyes: I couldn't give up my work with animals, it means too much to me. To be in the position to help them; Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release kind of thing. Also I don't think I would ever get "big" or even near it haha, but performing at events ect frequently alone or in groups looks like so much fun and is a serious hobby I would love to take up :D
 

Belly Love

New member
Imo- I think many pro dancers also have a full-time job. Whether or not one wants to, dancing as a primary job isn't necessarily what they're meant to do.

You're passonate about animals and that may be what you're meant to do in this world, but that doesn't mean there aren't other things your're meant to do. Joy is something every person should feel every day. You get joy from bd and hope to perform, I don't see why you can't do both. You just have to be realistic about it (which it seems you are) and working towards making it a secondary job might be a good goal :)

As far as your other question about how much people worked at it before becoming pro- I'm very curious as well. Sometimes the hardest part of performing isn't the technical stuff...
 

Ariella

New member
Hey Imeera,
I know lots of professional belly dancers that have full time jobs, are attending school, and/or have children :D. It is definitely possible, it just requires good time management skills. However if you want to be the level of professional that performs and teaches workshops around the world, it may be difficult to maintain other jobs. To get at your specific questions:

1. How much training and practice is needed to become professional really varies from student to student, and also depends on the instructor(s) the student studies with. How much I practice weekly varies wildly depending on how much work I have that week, injuries, extra free time, etc. Another important step in becoming a professional is "practicing" performing - as in, doing student shows with your instructor, haflas, and the like.

2. I'm glad that you have the sense that drilling is important for increasing belly dance prowess. What you should be drilling in your belly dance practice sessions really varies based on the style that you are studying and who you are as a dancer. I think drilling the basics is important, but depending on your level this can take up only 5-10 minutes of practice time. Harder moves or combinations I would focus on for a period of time until I mastered them. Once I have them, I practice them less often.

3. I don't have a full time job, but I'm a full time student with some part time jobs.

Performing is lots of fun, I'm glad to hear that you're excited about it!
 

Darshiva

Moderator
BL, that was good advice. I wanted to give you rep for it, but I have to share the love around some more, so have a virtual rep & a totally guilt-free cookie instead.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Self promotion is a huge part of it. I dance more as a hobby because I have a full time job (I also do not undercut just because I don't need the money). Self promotion is a big effort. I have friends who work full time but are also professional dancers and get the gigs (because they are really good) but also because they really heavily promote themselves and that takes a lot of time too.
 

Yame

New member
Self promotion is a huge part of it. I dance more as a hobby because I have a full time job (I also do not undercut just because I don't need the money). Self promotion is a big effort. I have friends who work full time but are also professional dancers and get the gigs (because they are really good) but also because they really heavily promote themselves and that takes a lot of time too.
This.

I am at a level that is competitive with that of most professionals in my area, but since I have no time or patience for self-promotion, I don't generally do professional gigs.

I find that I get most of my joy out of learning, improving, and performing regardless of the context. And since I get plenty of performance opportunities from the belly dance community, I'm really impatient about spending time that could be used dancing just trying to get my name out there in the hopes of getting a professional gig... I am impatient about dealing with the logistics of professional performance in general. Contracts, negotiations, driving to unknown places where I don't know anybody... I can live without that.

Luckily, just being a part of the dance community and being a dedicated dancer, I have landed some really awesome opportunities without actively looking for them. But for the most part, you really have to not mind these non-glamorous aspects of dancing professionally in order to make it as a professional.
 

LadyLoba

New member
Promotion is important....you will probably be listed as an "independent" aka "freelance" artist...which means you'll be getting paid by performance, and not on a payroll with a steady check by the hour.

I've gone that route in the past with writing...and in order to have steady work, you have to either put a lot in to promoting and advertising yourself as a business in which you are the only employee, or find a place that will book you on steady gigs. Of course in my case, these were newspapers and news web pages. For a belly dancer, that would probably be a Moroccan restaurant in your area.
 
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