Handling "insta-dancer" lesson inquiries


New member
How do you, as instructors, handle the over enthusiastic "How do I become a performing/pro belly dancer because I've taken/plan to take a couple of lessons and know how to dance" questions?
I'm asking because it seems like lately I've been encountering a rash of these from inquiries about classes and general conversations. Some have come from those who are simply young and enthusiastic with no clue what kind of dedication it takes, others seem to be very serious that they have taken a few lessons and now are ready to "go pro". I don't want to crush someone's enthusiasem if it's genuine, but I do want to curb the "insta-dancer".
I try to gently and tactfully point out that it takes more than knowing a couple of shimmies and having an e-bay special costume. There is a ton of history, musical and stylistic understanding, costuming, professional behavior, not to mention more advanced tecnique than you can learn in one session of beginners class :p. If they don't seem to catch on to what I'm telling them, I do get a bit more blunt. So far I haven't had to go the totally blunt route of answers but I'm sure I will at some point.
I'm just curious how other instructors handle these questions. I'm also curious if anyone else has had an increase in this type of questions here lately?

Gia al Qamar

New member
I sign them up for a class session!!!
Once they're in class, they 'get' that learning the dance takes work and dedication to craft before they're ready to 'shake it' for money.

But honestly, when asked, I explain that each student progresses at her own rate. That she may be ready to perform in a hafla in a few months and then a few months later join our performing student troupe. Then after a few years of learning the dance and learning the skills needed to be a performer, they might be ready to be booked at a party-job.

Once they hear that itinerary, they often sign up for class thinking they'll 'beat the odds' or walk away knowing that they really just wanted to become an instant belly dancer...just add water...


I recently had a inquiry from a woman who wanted to sign up for my advanced course. When I asked what training she had in Oriental dance she said she had none but didn't want to take a beginners course because beginning courses move to slow for her.


New member
I have written a couple of essay-style hand outs -- one on amateur and professional performing and one on "levels". Between the two of them it provides a big-picture view of what is involved in training towards and becoming a professional-level dancer in this genre.

I'll be glad to email it to anyone if you drop me a line at sedoniaraqs@yahoo.com Anyone who askes me for them and prints the articles out as is with my credits is welcome to use and distribute them freely.


oops, and I just realized I owe someone on this board my emusic.com handout. I'll attend to that asap, whoever you are!


Isn't it odd that no one ever assumes they can become an instant ballerina, but becoming a belly dancer is just a matter of a couple of lessons?

I have been dancing for years, but would no longer consider appearing in public (except for the bi-annual student recitals at the rec center where I am kind of obligated) because I don't keep up the required level of practice to be good enough and polished enough to accept jobs. Egad, the very idea shivers my timbers, but I have watched dancers perform who obviously spend less time than I do in practice. Perhaps when students see these dancers, they think, hey, I can do that good; where do I sign up? Unfortunately, it is true they probably could do that good, and it is hard to find a polite way of telling them that it is still not good enough.

Sedonia, I will send a request for your handouts, and thank you- maybe the written word will stick where the spoken one falls on deaf ears.

da Sage

New member
One of my teachers does a great job of easing students through the course, and slowly upping the difficulty, so it doesn't seem too hard.:)

In the last class of the session, she slams us with combinations that seem easy, but are really hard to do!:lol: It really drives home the lesson that there is much more to learn.

A review of what the class learned, and a preview of what's coming up in the next class, can be helpful.

(woohoo! new smileys! :dance: )

Hi Sedonia,I've just sent a request for your essay.Since,I'm always interested in learning as much as I can. We had a student 2 yrs ago who wanted us to teach her to dance like Jillina:rolleyes: .It's my understanding that she made the rounds of the local teachers with this request but couldn't master the basic hip circle.


New member
I..ummm...have this friend, shall we say....whose ego may outpace her abilities once in a while. In my experience...my friend's experience, that is...there's nothing like watching herself on video to keep the insta-dancer delusions in check :whistle:
Instant dancers indeed! Unfortunately most of the clip was too dark to really see them, all they know after two lessons is a choreography to one song. I hope the dancers will invest more time in their studies.

P.S. Sedonia, thanks for the essay very helpful!