To-the-point question...

Farasha Hanem

New member
...am I too old? :( I've been so excited ever since I made the commitment to follow the dream I had only previously toyed with to become a bellydance teacher, and thrilled that I've made some major breakthroughs in the past year, at the young age of 53. Yet lately, one iconic mentor in bellydance that many look up to retired just this year (and she's not THAT much older than me), and other respected names in the community are talking of their imminent retirement. :( One has said she doesn't want to do bellydance a disservice by continuing because she doesn't want to be "that dancer" who should have retired.

This is discouraging. :( I didn't start classes until I was 46 because I was unaware that there WAS a bellydance community in my area until I was in my 40's. Did I wait until too late to learn how to teach? :( I may be 53, but other than having a temporary setback at the moment, I still feel young. Maybe my energy level isn't what it was when I was 5, but hey, I can still run, hop, skip and jump, and am in relatively good shape and health. :( How old is too old to teach?
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Age has nothing to do with anything. I can sum it up in one word: Morocco.

You go for it, Farasha. The only person who can hold you back is you.
 

Safran

New member
I don't think age means anything if you want to become a teacher. I think you are showing a lot of commitment to learning and figuring things out, and you are really dedicated to dance... I think this is already a great start! Just to give you an example - we have a bellydance instructor who is more than 70 years old and she started teaching bellydance at age 58. She teaches regular classes where they mix bellydance, Spanish and rom dancing, and she runs bellydance classes for seniors. And those ladies rock! So you are a teenager compared to all that ;)
 

Daimona

Moderator
Not a chance of you being too old to teach. One of the dance teachers in my region is about your age (or maybe a bit older, I'm not sure - no reason to bother about age as long as you love what you do), and I think she discovered the dance either in her late forties or early fifties. The last couple of years, she actually appears to be younger each time I see her perform. Dance is her source to youthness, but she dances with a maturity anyone below 30 should be envious of.

Personally I prefer teaching to performing. I have done my share of restaurant gigs, corporate parties, birthday parties and henparties (a couple of times I got questioned about my age, because the customer didn't want the dancer to be too young!), but nowadays I just do a couple of festival or community performances with my group and fulfill my need to teach by teaching them new choregraphies once in a while and maybe giving a crashcourse to the occasional henparty.

Go on and fullfill your dream, Farasha!
Spread your wings and dance!
 
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Darshiva

Moderator
No, you're not too old. What is one person's retirement age is someone else's starting point. You've got the passion and dedication. Do this thing you want to do!
 

Mao

New member
Agree with everyone here! And imagine how many women you will inspire and empower with your passion and energy! Cheering on you, Farasha!
 

Amulya

Moderator
Definitely don't retire! I had to retire due to my health but I was always planning to dance as long as I could, so for everybody else as long as you can dance and love it, go for it! Morocco comes to mind for me too :) She a great inspiration for everybody!
 
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Mosaic

Super Moderator
Go for it Farasha, I started teaching at 58, & only stopped last year (64) because there just wasn't enough students to keep going & I had quite a lot on my plate last year, so wouldn't have been able to keep classes rolling. If things settle down for me in the next 12 months I may look to teach a "seniors" class for a bit of fun:)
~M
 

allinorah

New member
You're the same age as my troupemates, and they're still going strong and not thinking about retiring. We do try not to bring up the age thing since they are older than my mom, but we still perform together and one of them definitely gets higher hops than I can get. There is this other dancer (who used to be in the troupe for YEARS) that my troupies keep saying that when they grow up, they want to be her. She's amazing. And I was only just informed that she was actually quite older than my troupies. But she's still performing. I'll be in a community show with her next month and I'm super excited.
 

Aniseteph

New member
I can see how someone might want to retire if they feel that they are no longer cutting it as a pro, or don't fit the commercial image any more, or don't fit their own image of what a belly dancer should be, or are just needing a change. That's up to them, but I've seen plenty of older dancers who are incredible and inspiring, and anyone who thinks they should not be still dancing/teaching and inspiring the likes of me because they are past some arbitrary age cut off is clearly determined to make the universe that little bit more dull and miserable.

No one is ever going to be That Dancer while she still has something to offer, IMO. It's not an age thing; some people are That Dancer at 25.
 

Kartane

New member
I have had the same questions about my age. I say go for it. I may never make my living as a dancer, but I think we should all be the best we can be and learn all we can and share all we can. Go for it! Pepper Alexandria and Sahra Kent are still dancing their socks off!
 

da Sage

New member
My mom started learning a new style of dance at about 60, and started teaching it a couple years later. As long as you can dance well and teach well, you're never too old to teach!
 

Jeanne

Member
One of the really positive things about belly dance is that you're never too old. Age may hold you back on certain things (e.g. it may be hard to get restaurant gigs if you're past a certain age), but you are never too old in general to perform, compete, or teach. I had my first teaching gig in my middle 50s, and only stopped because the studio where I was teaching folded. May look for another teaching spot later -- and I'm 60.
 

Salome

Administrator
To old to teach? Nah. Being an educator does not have an age limit as far as I am concerned and in fact the riper the teacher, the more s/he may have to impart. I enjoy watching older dancers perform. My enjoyment isn't diminished because of his/her age. To me comments about "that dancer" means someone who is past the age where s/he can wear certain types of costuming but is still doing it. Like in civilian life, there comes a time when you're just to old to wear "juicy" bejeweled sweat pants.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Some of us were too old for juicy bejeweled sweat pants before we graduated from grade school. :lol:
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Thank you all, I appreciate everyone's input, and most of all, your encouragement. <3 I love this dance so much, love the music, the people, the culture, and want to share it with everyone, and I DO mean everyone. :D
 

Greek Bonfire

New member
I can see how someone might want to retire if they feel that they are no longer cutting it as a pro, or don't fit the commercial image any more, or don't fit their own image of what a belly dancer should be, or are just needing a change. That's up to them, but I've seen plenty of older dancers who are incredible and inspiring, and anyone who thinks they should not be still dancing/teaching and inspiring the likes of me because they are past some arbitrary age cut off is clearly determined to make the universe that little bit more dull and miserable.

No one is ever going to be That Dancer while she still has something to offer, IMO. It's not an age thing; some people are That Dancer at 25.
It's like the famous quote of "a dancer has nothing to dance about until she is at least 35." And the richness of maturity in a dance cannot be learned in a workshop or classes. I am not discrediting younger dancers. When I was a younger dancer, I used to look at more mature dancers and I saw the depth of being an older person, and to be truthful, I wanted that to show up in my own dance as I got older.
 
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