How long between when you began lessons and your first performance?

patiencepie

New member
I realize there are a zillion variables that affect the time frame of when someone is ready to perform. I just want to get some general ideas...I read something recently about how some students may be ready to perform as early as 3 months and I was kind of offended. I realize there are those who have taken other dance training and got into belly dance and progressed pretty quickly. But I thought the best dancers spent years either growing up with it or training seriously...just wondering! Thanks!
 

da Sage

New member
As dance is a performing art, it's not inappropriate for dancers who are still learning to also perform in friendly settings - family party, student recital, or a hafla.
 

Bast

New member
I was invited to perform (as all the beginners were) at our school's christmas concert. At that stage I had only been taking a weekly class for 3 months and just didn't feel anywhere near ready. About 8 months later I had my first performance and loved it.

My teacher is big on giving stage experience to her students which is great, but only you can know when you feel up to it.

When you do, go for it and have fun :D
 

mahsati_janan

New member
I realize there are a zillion variables that affect the time frame of when someone is ready to perform. I just want to get some general ideas...I read something recently about how some students may be ready to perform as early as 3 months and I was kind of offended. I realize there are those who have taken other dance training and got into belly dance and progressed pretty quickly. But I thought the best dancers spent years either growing up with it or training seriously...just wondering! Thanks!
The time line will be different for different types of performing. The usual types of performances are:

- Unpaid -


  1. Recitals - students
  2. Haflas/Parties - mixed level: students, hobbyists, semi-professionals, and professionals
  3. Stage shows - hafla: mixed level students, hobbyists, semi-professionals, and professionals
  4. Stage shows - workshop: mixed level students, hobbyists, semi-professionals, and professionals
  5. Festivals - dance: mixed level students, hobbyists, semi-professionals, and professionals
  6. Festivals - art/history/music/etc: mixed level hobbyists, semi-professionals, and professionals (students on occasion)

- Paid -


  1. Stage Shows - dance: semi-professionals and professionals
  2. Stage shows - workshop: semi-professionals and professionals
  3. Festivals - dance: semi-professionals and professionals
  4. Festivals - art/history/music/etc: semi-professionals and professionals
  5. Restaurants: semi-professionals and professionals
  6. Parties: semi-professionals and professionals
  7. Weddings: semi-professionals and professionals
  8. Gala events: semi-professionals and professionals
I've probably left quite a few things out, but, as you can see, when people say they are ready for performance, you have to clarify which types of performance. At 3 months can a dancer perform in a recital? Of course! Can the dancer perform at an Egyptian wedding? I'd say probably not. None of these are set in stone either. Sometimes a hobbyist gets paid to dance at an event. Sometimes a pro donates a performance to a local hafla or cause. These are just a general idea.
 

MariaAZ

New member
My situation is similar to Bast's except I'm just passing the 3 month mark. The school had an open house earlier this month and our class was invited to perform. I didn't know the routine and so declined, but have seen a video of my classmates and it was very nice. I plan on taking the class again this fall and will definitely participate if they have another performance as it looked like everyone had a blast and the audience was very supportive.
 

Taslin

New member
I think it depends on what kind of performing. Professional performing would be you know years i'd hope. But if you are talking about non-professional performing i dont think it matters at all as long as the student is ready.

I know my current instructor provides ample performing opportunities for her students they are advertised as student performances, and a student troupe. i heard about them long before meeting her.

Then she also described homework of sorts where she asks students to try to emote a feeling or an element through each of their routines, music , costume.

I dont see how it could be wrong to perform if it is unpaid, and a part of your BD student education. Especially at a student recital.

But i dont think anyone should if they dont feel ready, not nervous, just not ready.
 

LadyFatima

New member
I've been training/practing for about 6 months now, and honestly, I STILL don't think I'm ready. . .:lol:

I think it all depends on the person. If you think you've gotten a lot of practice under your belt, and you think you're ready to perform in front of a decent crowd, I say go for it.

And then there's people like me, who still feel a little "green" and want to get their technique as close to flawless as possible. I plan on performing in student recitals/talent shows no sooner than sometime this upcoming fall (like mid-September maybe)

I personally think that a minimum of 3 months of practice is a decent point to start performing unpaid gigs. But for professional pays gigs at like weddings, showers,etc. . .I'd definately think one would need a few years of practice.
 

LaVanessa

New member
Hi, this is my first post but have been lurking for a few weeks now. I love this board, very educational.

I started dancing a little over two years ago and will be doing my first bd performance (student recital) in two months. I feel ready, for the level of the choreography we're doing now anyway. A previous teacher had invited me to perform after a year of study. I can't imagine having performed after only a few months of study.
 

goddessyasaman

New member
8 years:shok: but that was because I had a lot going on in my life with family and the like, but I was ready after about a year, I think each person is different and should follow what is best for them, it does not bother me to see a 3month old student perform, after all it is still training for them, I had students that were only training for 8months and were ready to perform and did very well, they even did thier own solo's.

my first stage performance was for a my own put together recital, though I had done B-day parties and the like before that but that was my first stage dance, then I started doing everything, I try to have at least 1-2 performances a month each year, I think this year I have had 2, I have 1 coming up but dancing on stage or other wise is great for you as a Dancer;)
 

Shara

New member
Close to 2 years. It was difficult because I was painfully shy!
Eventually one gets over it, but can still get butterflies!
 

BDanceGirl

New member
I have been performing in student recitals almost every three months since i started two and half years ago. I have now joined the 'semi profesional troupe' and had my first hafla performance with them last month. I still havent had a solo performance as I know I am not ready. I think it depends on the student and how seriously they take their studies. For the first year and a half i just took once a week classes from my teacher and i didnt really practice at home, about a year ago I started practicing at home, doing research, taking workshops and using dvd's, basically being more serious. I know if I had done that from day one I probably would have had even a few solo performances under my belt, albeit at haflas and that...
 

LilithNoor

New member
Probably about six months in I did my first hafla performance as part of a group of about 16 students of varying levels of experience, led by the teacher.

First performance with my troupe was after about a year and a half of dancing. Probably too soon, but it was in a supportive environment and was a great grounding for further experimentation.

I've recently done my first solo piece, and I'm glad I waited almost four years to do so, as my choreography skills have leapt forward in the last year!
 

Shara

New member
For my students, I try to get them up in front of our SCA friends as soon as possible. Why? To get over "stage fright"! Our SCA friends are wonderful in supporting new dancers! We even have some guys that play drums and zills for us sometimes! I have a few beginner choreos that I teach them, then I like to get them to try some improv, then start teaching them to choreograph on their own. Yes, it takes a little more than a year to get to the choreographing their own!
 

Roshanna

New member
For a group choreo with your class at a hafla or similar, I'd say a few months is fine, if you feel ready and your teacher thinks you are ready. Solo performances, whether paid or not, are a whole other kettle of fish. As well as decent technique, you need to develop the skills to choreograph or improvise your own dance rather than just going through your teacher's choreography, and this can take a long time! I first performed a solo after I'd been dancing about a year and a half, and in retrospect I think it was far too soon - my first teacher (for my first year of dancing) never taught anything about music or rhythms, so I hardly knew anything about Middle Eastern music and danced to a pop song by Natacha Atlas. Looking back on the performance now makes me cringe a bit, although it wasn't truly terrible, just could have been so much better if I'd waited a bit.

I'm preparing for my third big solo performance at the moment, one year later, and feel immensely more prepared and confident! This time, I'm using a classic piece of bellydance music (Aziza) and understand the music much better, and have found choreographing a lot easier as a result.

Finally, it's never too soon to get up and dance in front of people in social dancing situations at haflas etc :) and that helps a lot to prepare you for 'proper' performances, and is fun :D
 

LaVanessa

New member
For my students, I try to get them up in front of our SCA friends as soon as possible. Why? To get over "stage fright"! Our SCA friends are wonderful in supporting new dancers! We even have some guys that play drums and zills for us sometimes! I have a few beginner choreos that I teach them, then I like to get them to try some improv, then start teaching them to choreograph on their own. Yes, it takes a little more than a year to get to the choreographing their own!
I am jealous of your students! What a great learning experience that must be. :clap:
 

Shara

New member
Thanks LaVanessa! We have fun with our friends and that makes it so much easier to learn! There are SCA groups in most areas of the U.S. They are generally very friendly. There are also groups in many other countries. To look for a group near you, go to sca.org
 

Nasrin

New member
For me it was 2 and a half years, and it was on a stage in a theatre with a paying audience. I had been asked to perform before then but I either couldn't make it or didn't feel ready. I feel quite confident dancing in a group but I'm nowhere near ready for a solo performance.

I think 3 months is a little early unless the person doing it is exceptionally good. I'd say 6 months would be a good time to start but I personally wanted to wait until I'd been dancing for at least 2 years as I wanted to be completely confident in what I was doing.
 

Molly

New member
My first belly dance performance was my kindergarten talent show. I danced with my mom's class since I was three.
 
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