I don't know

BellyDancerRose

New member
My Mom taught me to belly dance and she is self taught. So I have no clue what style I actually do. Do I need a style? I was thinking of doing bellygrams for some extra money. I would only do public places and with a friend along. So do I need to have a style for that? Currently I dance to Shakira, but I was wanting something different. Any help or ideas? There isn't any instructors near me. The only ones I could find are over 50 miles away. Thanks for any help!
 

charity

New member
i wouldnt think you need a style for bellygrams.

i would pick songs from different classes of music so it appeals to a wider audience. pop, rock, dance, me music or pop...whatever you like from each of these.

i like shakira but wouldnt dance to it.

so how exactly does a bellygram work? and how do you charge? do you work through an agency that hires you out or what? would you go alone or have an escort? i dont think i would like that but it would probably be a decent boost to income.
 

BellyDancerRose

New member
so how exactly does a bellygram work? and how do you charge? do you work through an agency that hires you out or what? would you go alone or have an escort? i dont think i would like that but it would probably be a decent boost to income.
I don't know if I will work with an agency or not. I know of one that would work with me if I wanted them too. I would have an escort for sure. The way my Mom did was she was hired by people and went to resturants etc to meet up with a private party. Like once she did it for someone's birthday, she went to the resturant, danced and then left.
 

Kharmine

New member
I don't know if I will work with an agency or not. I know of one that would work with me if I wanted them too. I would have an escort for sure. The way my Mom did was she was hired by people and went to resturants etc to meet up with a private party. Like once she did it for someone's birthday, she went to the resturant, danced and then left.
,

"Belly dance" covers several styles, but you could always just say "Cabaret" or "American Oriental" as it's a little more generic.

Save your tips and look for a dance retreat or camp you can go to -- that would be a great way for you to meet other dancers, learn about the styles, and refine your technique.
 

janaki

New member
Hi there,

I wouldn't start performing for money if I am not trained properly. It is important that you learn the dance, learn about dance styles.. You will discover your style when you train yourself properly. It is not wise to go out and do what ever.Why? rRead along..

I started performing 4 months after I started learning bellydance, once a week. I knew most of the moves and few choreographies and I was able to improvise a bit (BTW, I have training in other dances). Once I was dacing for arabic people and I was asked to do shabbiya and saidi. I had no clue what they were talking about. Beleive me, you wouldn't want to be there.

Good luck and keep learning!!!

Cheers
Janaki
 

BellyDancerRose

New member
I started performing 4 months after I started learning bellydance, once a week. I knew most of the moves and few choreographies and I was able to improvise a bit (BTW, I have training in other dances). Once I was dacing for arabic people and I was asked to do shabbiya and saidi. I had no clue what they were talking about. Beleive me, you wouldn't want to be there.
Thanks, I understand what your saying. But what if I advirtised as a "Non-Traditional" belly dancer?
 

Eshta

New member
Thanks, I understand what your saying. But what if I advirtised as a "Non-Traditional" belly dancer?
It's hard to gage from your post whether you know quite a lot about the dance but are struggling to describe your style, or if you've been taught some moves but your knowledge of the dance is quite limited and as such you don't know the difference between the styles.

If it is the latter, I would have to agree with Janaki and advise staying away from performing until you are armed with a deeper understanding of the dance. This is better for you, and also better for the dance. As Janaki points out, would you know what is appropriate in what situation, what music is appropriate and possibly more importantly what music is not, and why not? If you were asked by a client to tailor any part of your performance, would you have the ability to do so?

I think the deeper understanding is often where you start to see the difference between a belly dancer and a pretty girl wiggling in a skimpy costume. And in my experience, that distinction is really important as to how your audience will respond to you.
 

Kharmine

New member
Could I get a better knowledge through videos? Because there are no classes for over 50 miles from where I live.
Definitely. Of course, it depends on what you get -- some dancers claim to be teachers with very little knowledge or experience. Some of the video/dvds simply suck as good teaching material.

I think there's a thread under the Instructors and Students that discusses good dance instruction video/dvds. You might have a look and see what others think about what's out there.

I remember my teacher recommending a basic "how-to" by the twin sisters Neena & Veena that you could probably find on Amazon.com.
 

da Sage

New member
I know of two girls who traveled 2 hours each way for lessons!:shok: Compared to that, 50 miles isn't so bad.

I think you should drop in on a few classes before you start to perform. You *might* be the only "bellydancer" in your area now, but it probably won't be long before someone with more experience shows up. Wouldn't it be better to have some exposure to what other moves are out there?

Can you get to a bellydance class once a month?
 

janaki

New member
Hi Bellydancer Rose,

My suggestions to you is ;

1. First of all, I think you should go and take lessons atleast once a month. One of my students here in HK used to come from another country which is 2hrs travel from HK by ferry, to take classe once a month and she would do all 3 classes that were on offer that day. You can try this method.

2. Secondly,Try and book private lessons with a teacher for 3 hrs sessions once a month, fortnightly is even better ( may be expensive). Let the teachers assess your skill and knowledge and design a crash course package for you. This way you may learn stuff faster.

3. Thirdly, invest on 3 or 4 good videos and practice your teachinque and combos. I would also suggets you invest on the video that talks about different styles.

4. Lastly, internet has wealth of information. There are very good bellydance site. Shira.net has lot of info about the dance. If you need help let me know I will send you the links of all good site. Don't forget youtube!!! Serach for native dancers from Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon and watch their videos. Also watch folkstyle dances. You will know the difference. Good luck!!!

Cheers
Janaki
 

Reen.Blom

New member
I suggest yo should be careful with advertising but get yourself a costume and go for it!I know a couple of ppl that did that and kept on learning and growing and winning competitions on the way!

Not all the ppl that go to restaurants are Arabs that are fluent in styles! Not all the ppl WANT to see styles but rather a sparkling "oriental princess" :) Go for it gal and have fun!

I think DVD is a splendid idea if you cant take classes.
 

Yshka

New member
Hi!:) First of all let me say I think you have made a very good decision coming to this forum. It is a place full of wisdom and Oriental dance knowledge.

As for your thread subject, I think you should learn more about the dance and how to present it correctly to an audience before performing. I travel for 2 hours 2 times a week and for 3 hrs once a week to take classes, 50 miles indeed seems not that far away. If you could do just a few hrs like that once every two weeks or so would be very good for you.
IMO you can't really call yourself a bellydancer when you don't know exactly what you're doing. Dancing to Shakira music and knowing some moves doesn't make one a bellydancer. You should get more information and extra training. DVD's are a good solution if a teacher's too far away, but live tuition is of great importance in really learning to dance instead of doing some moves to music.
For internet, you could try Shira's website (the one Janaki suggested), this forum (including some very knowledgeable and professional dancers to ask questions to). For advice on DVD's check this thread:http://forum.orientaldancer.net/instructors-students/2590-what-instructional-dvds-videos-you-have.html or this one: http://forum.orientaldancer.net/instructors-students/2236-video-dvd-recommendations.html

Reen.Blom said:
not all the ppl WANT to see styles but rather a sparkling "oriental princess"
I think this is not a very right thing to say. People in the audience will not always be aware of different styles, but many will. If you're dancing for friends or so, that doesn't matter, but if your thinking of performing PUBLICLY, you should know.
Dear Reen, if this 'Oriental princess' people want to see doesn't know what she's doing how can she be an Oriental princess, where's the "Oriental" in that? Just because she's wearing a bellydance costume and knows some of the moves involved in the art? This is just what everyone is trying to prevent when it comes to improving the reputation of the dance. If your just having fun, no prob! If you're performing in public, this is a serious thing to consider.
Even with advertising as a 'non-traidtional' bellydancer, you're still advertising as a bellydancer, so you should know your stuff to be able to tell what exactly is it that makes your dance 'non-traditional'.

Like Eshta said, it is important to differentiate 'real' bellydancers from girls that just wiggle about in a skimpy costume. Do you know the term Oriental dancing? Will you know how to present your dance to the audience? Not knowing what you are about and where you stand when it comes to skills, techniques, knowledge of culture and music, AND styles of dance will not only be harmful for reputation of the dance, but also for your image. People who thoroughly know what Oriental dance is about WILL see you dance sometime, and they will know. I find I have to agree with the point made earlier that sometime somebody more experience will show up and people will rather watch her for having more experience and dance knowledge.
In this dance, like any dance, knowledge and training are crucial. Bellydance is a very beautiful art, but it is also a dance of cultural heritage. Movement alone does not make a bellydancer. Only continuously learning and training can.

This may come across as harsh but I'm not trying to be. The bellydance community will not always be friendly to people advertising as bellydancers while they do not know their stuff. It is a sensitive subject. I am just giving you my honest advice and opinion and hoping that it can be of help to you. Best of luck to you!;)
 
Last edited:

charity

New member
i agree that its important to get some class time in but honestly the most i have learned came from dvd.

but let me tell you for the price i have paid for dvd's it would have covered cost of gas and class for the entire year, actually two.

do bellygrams perform in restaurants/weddings? i thought a bellygram was just a house call.
 

Reen.Blom

New member
I think this is not a very right thing to say. People in the audience will not always be aware of different styles, but many will. If you're dancing for friends or so, that doesn't matter, but if your thinking of performing PUBLICLY, you should know.
Dear Reen, if this 'Oriental princess' people want to see doesn't know what she's doing how can she be an Oriental princess, where's the "Oriental" in that? Just because she's wearing a bellydance costume and knows some of the moves involved in the art? This is just what everyone is trying to prevent when it comes to improving the reputation of the dance. If your just having fun, no prob! If you're performing in public, this is a serious thing to consider.
Even with advertising as a 'non-traidtional' bellydancer, you're still advertising as a bellydancer, so you should know your stuff to be able to tell what exactly is it that makes your dance 'non-traditional'.

Like Eshta said, it is important to differentiate 'real' bellydancers from girls that just wiggle about in a skimpy costume. Do you know the term Oriental dancing? Will you know how to present your dance to the audience? Not knowing what you are about and where you stand when it comes to skills, techniques, knowledge of culture and music, AND styles of dance will not only be harmful for reputation of the dance, but also for your image. People who thoroughly know what Oriental dance is about WILL see you dance sometime, and they will know. I find I have to agree with the point made earlier that sometime somebody more experience will show up and people will rather watch her for having more experience and dance knowledge.
In this dance, like any dance, knowledge and training are crucial. Bellydance is a very beautiful art, but it is also a dance of cultural heritage. Movement alone does not make a bellydancer. Only continuously learning and training can.

This may come across as harsh but I'm not trying to be. The bellydance community will not always be friendly to people advertising as bellydancers while they do not know their stuff. It is a sensitive subject. I am just giving you my honest advice and opinion and hoping that it can be of help to you. Best of luck to you!;)
Hi Yshka!

I actually want to start a separate thread on the topic!

Not all the girls just put on a "skimpy costume" and "wriggle about", they do have a serious dance training, often they start belly dance after training in ballet and ballroom dance. They do learn "belly dance" moves and often reach quite a decent level of dancing. BUT say a person who knows alot about different styles or say from arabic country would say that she is not "authentic" and it is not "real thing". Maybe it is not Authentic, but is it true that to dance Tango one has to do it "Argentinian way"? Probably an Argentinian would say... no this is not "REAL" Tango, but it is Tango nontheless....

As for the rest I am staring a new thread in "Styles" since this question was bothering me for a while...LOL
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Dance, etc.

Dear BellyDancerRose,
If you are not really clear and have an understanding of what you learned from your mother,I would say that I agree with Yshka. If you do not know what it is that you are doing then it is better not to refer to yourself as a belly dancer. Everyone here has given good advice about taking the time and trouble to go to classes, attend workshops, and learn from video sources in order to learn more about the dance. In the end, this is about respect for your art form as well as caring about your audience, your fellow dancers and yourself BEFORE putting yourself in the public eye. I hope that you will follow the advice of those who encourage you to learn your art form before performing it for others.
Regards,
A'isha
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
Hi Bellydancerrose:

You need to know what you are doing before stepping into the professional realm. It does not sound like you know enough about this dance form yet. You may have a great deal of natural talent, but you will never truly be tapping into your potential until you learn about what it is you are doing. Your mom may be a great dancer and may have taught you well, but at best there are some large gaps you need to fill in.

First of all -- dance training. What everyone else said. You need to get some more. Class, private lessons, workshops, or preferably all three. Get at least a couple years underyour belt. Find a teacher you trust and respect and tell her you are aiming for professional level dancing. Follow her advice. Check www.shira.net for OK teachers. Email or call the nearest one to you and explain your situation, see what she recommends. Dancers are well-connected, so if there is teacher closer to you, she will probably be willing to tell you.

Second. Music. Shakira is not very good belly dance music. You need to learn and know about belly dance music. Which means you need to get some (alot --I have >150 albums and counting) and listen to it all the time at the near exclusion of anything else. Not all Middle Eastern music is belly dance music. You need to know the difference. If you are going to do an American style belly gram, you need to be able to put together a set of music that gives some variety, for example, an upbeat oriental piece, a slow piece for veilwork or taqsim movements, a drum solo, and a pop song or two to get the audience up and dancing. If you do gigs for international groups, you need to know what they expect. Egyptians will expect different music and dancing than Turkish, etc. Even if you don't encounter any Middle Easterners, you still need to culturally respect the dance.

Third -- costuming. You need a really nice, professional quality costume. At minimum, this is going to set you back $400. If you have never tried on or purchased professional costumes it will be hit or miss to just order one through the mail, choose the right for your figure, alter it to fit well, etc. If you have a working relationship with teachers and other dancers you can get help and advice in this realm.

Fourth -- pricing and professionalism. Undercutting and underpricing are a huge, huge problem in belly dancing. You need to know what the going rate is in your region (e.g. OK and midwest). Belly gram should bring at least $100 in the midwest, even in the sticks, but if everyone else is charging $150 you need to know that and do the same. If some idiot is charging $20 in your town you need to know that is ridiculous and charge more. Dancing with no pay but tips at parties, restaraunts, or clubs is never acceptable.

I hope you don't feel like we are all being very negative, but those of us who have worked hard to become pros have seen over and over the young, ambitious but untrained belly dancer step in and ruin the dance's reputation, undercut pricing structures that have taken hard work to develop.

Instead of feeling discouraged, you should make this the start of a long journey into the world of Oriental dance. There is more than one could ever learn in a lifetime and learning it is alot of the fun!

Sedonia
 

MyCapoeira

New member
I have always stayed away from instructional videos. You can only get so much out of them. While they may be able to help you gain an initial understanding, they in no way shape or form teach you to progress.

That is why you need an instructor, someone who can correct your mistakes, so they do not end up ruining your technique. Videos can not correct you, they can only guide you, but if you want to become better at what you do, person to person instruction is definitely the best route.

Hope my opinion helps!
 

Reen.Blom

New member
I have always stayed away from instructional videos. You can only get so much out of them. While they may be able to help you gain an initial understanding, they in no way shape or form teach you to progress.

That is why you need an instructor, someone who can correct your mistakes, so they do not end up ruining your technique. Videos can not correct you, they can only guide you, but if you want to become better at what you do, person to person instruction is definitely the best route.

Hope my opinion helps!
No-one would argue with that, but if you cant attend class - DVDs are better than nothing!
 
Top