Waiting a long time for first solo

Amulya

Moderator
Restaurants after 1 year of lessons? I would have been terrified and mortified if my teacher would have send me to those! It would probably have stopped me from liking to dance at all. Restaurants are for the more experienced dancers as its not just dance skills and performance skills but also dealing with nasty clients and nasty restaurant owners. Not something you'd want to start with! I think if teachers want to introduce students to performing solo, start with halfla's and then friendly private gigs and maybe small festivals. And probably with other dancers doing solos too so the students doesn't feel so pressured.
 

AspiringDancer

New member
I've now been dancing 4 1/2 years, and have been teaching beginners classes for the last year. I'm part of a dance 'school' so I work with more experienced teachers who teach the higher level classes. I started out as a trainee shadowing the other teachers, and then took over a class of my own when one of the other teachers needed some time out due to her day job commitments.

Although I am the least experienced teacher locally, I work very hard to be a good teacher, am halfway through a teacher training diploma, and have more knowledge of Arabic music and the history and culture surrounding bellydance than many of my 'elders and betters' in the bellydance community. Several of my students have said that they specifically chose me over other, more experienced, teachers after trying out various classes, because they enjoy my clear teaching style and the cultural context that I try to provide (I was especially proud when a Qatari student complimented me on my good knowledge of Arabic music :)). I don't pretend to be something I'm not, but I definitely think I have something to offer to my students (enthusiasm and geekery ;)), and I'm not afraid to refer them to another teacher if they want something that I'm not able to provide.

My own first teacher was not experienced, and I suspect had been dancing for less time than I now have. If I was being cruel I could probably call her a 6-week wonder, but she was a sweet girl who at least did an OK job of teaching basic technique. She knew nothing about Arabic music at all though, and only owned one CD that she used in every class! So, I am well aware of the pitfalls of inadequately trained teachers. I try in my own classes to be the first teacher that I *wish* I'd had back then.
Apologies for any absolute statements. These things are never black and white, are they? I know there are dancers that can go pro and do a good job of it after not very long at all, and teachers that are even more qualified at 4 years than some are at 10. :)
 

Indigo Shimmer

New member
I've been belly dancing for a little more than a year and I'm now starting my first solo. My teacher didn't pressure me into doing this. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I'm not planning on dancing in a restuarant, just local hafla gigs MAYBE. My biggest issue so far ( Other than choosing the song. There are like 5 I'd want to do a solo to! ) Is the dance studio I'm practicing out of. Their first question to me was, "And when will you be performing this?" My answer "When its ready." Their answer "Well you can't do the recictal in June because you didn't put in for that in enough time. I guess we'll fit you in at the Christmas show." Me, Blink, blink!

Hmmmm. So if I rent your space to practice a solo in, I HAVE TO perform a dance to benefit the studio in your time frame. Hmmmmm. I understand promotion and everything but I'm feeling a little rushed and pressured.

If Crystal wasn't such a great teacher and we didn't have as good a buddy relationship as we already do, I think I might complain a little louder.

I HATE deadlines!

Indigo Shimmer
 

BigJim

New member
Indigo...I'm not sure I can see your point about the dance studio. As a matter of fact You should be happy that they have some confidence in you and that they are giving the option to perform. You are probably just nervous that you actually put your hand up in the air and said you wanted to solo.

Performing your first solo is kind of like being the Wright Brothers and learning to fly... you work hard with your idea... you don't know if you can really fly or not... your first flight might not be very long or very high but when it's over you know you can do it... and you hope you don't crash.... So.....

The dance studio is not using you for their benefit... Your first performance will not be the drawing card that Randa Kamel would be...

They are letting you have lots of time... and if you feel you are not close to being ready in the fall you can put it off till the spring

Having a deadline to work to is a wonderful thing as it will make you focus... this process will make you a better dancer guaranteed....
 

Indigo Shimmer

New member
BIg Jim,

I'm not saying I'm ANGRY at the dance studio. I just wasn't expecting this response and didn't quite know how to take it. They threw a curve ball at me and totally caught me off guard with it.

With each situation there is a protocol reaction and being as I do not come from a dancer background, this is all new to me.

I was just surprised that's all. Like the first time you sign up for official riding lessons and the instructor tells you, you need proper headgear and shoes and you can't imagine "why?".

Just baby steps in the learning process.

I KNOW I'll have plenty of time to prepare. I'm still chewing my nails about it anyway!

Indigo S.
 

Roshanna

New member
I just wasn't expecting this response and didn't quite know how to take it. They threw a curve ball at me and totally caught me off guard with it.
I just read this as them assuming that if you were choreographing a solo, you'd be wanting to perform it at some point, and would like the opportunity to do so. Which is probably a fair assumption for most people :)

It's a *long* time until Christmas, so you've got absolutely ages to prepare if you do decide to perform it then. My first solo was admittedly not a great work of art, but I don't think I spent more than 2 months preparing for it, and it went OK. Actually, I consider myself a slow choreographer, and as a rule I seem to take about 1-2 months to have a 'first draft' of a choreography finished, though I often spent much longer polishing the choreography once I've got the overall structure.
 

Sohalia

New member
Well I did it. It went really well. : ) I went in there just feeling successful for showing up (since I so badly wanted to bail all day). Not only did I not fall or have a wicked costume malfunction but I was pretty happy overall with how I did, and received a positive response : ) *giddy and happy*
Congrats!! :dance: :clap:


It took me 6 years before I did my first solo. I had done student group performances prior to that though. Personally, I now dread that solo! My situation was really unusual. I was asked to join a troupe 2 weeks before they where suppose to do a show. I had to learn all the group numbers and choreograph a solo in that time! Truth be told, I probably only spent about 2 1/2 days actually choreographing my solo. I ended up almost falling on my face (which in hind sight is quite hilarious!) and I forgot 2 parts of my choreography. After I watched the video, the only slightly obvious bad part was me almost falling. I had to perform that same song for a year and a half. I've had so many people tell me how much they LOVE that dance but I'll be honest and say I hate it. I guess it's that whole thing that you always see the flaws in your work.

I do think that how long I waited to do a solo was fine, I just wish my circumstances had been MUCH different. The group I performed with was a very unusual BD fusion thing (not sure how to describe it) so even though my dance itself was very BD inspired, it wasn't until 6months ago did I do a true BD solo. That I was much happier with!! Though I wish I had a video so I could have watched it and tweeked it as needed.

I think it's completely on the dancer when they are ready. My teacher told me about 3 years into my training that I should do a student performance. I personally wanted to know I was ready, not just believe it, know it!

I can't imagine someone doing restaurant work after 1 year! Im still intimidated by restaurants and I've been around some vicious crowds! What I find more crazy now however, is I actually know some people who have gone off to teach after only 2months of classes.

Actually. . .I can't even go there . . . :rolleyes: I've rambled enough.
 

nitewindz

New member
Most people think that you should get used to performing asap and get all of the nerves and costume malfunctions out of the way when you're learning. I really do see both sides.
The ability to perform (in terms of skill & technique), the desire to solo, and stage fright are three different things.

I learned to deal with stage fright long before I started dancing, when I was in school band in the 70s, and giving public product demonstrations in the 80s, when I started dancing. At that time I had no desire to perform solo, or even perform at all, really. I danced for fun.

Knowing your material is key to conquering stage fright. It doesn't matter if you're playing an instrument, giving a public lecture, making a filmed presentation, singing, dancing or MCing. Know your material inside out, upside down, backwards, forwards, and sideways.

Desire is an important ingredient. If you don't want to be on stage, the audience will know it. Even if the performance is technically perfect and the performed looked happy, if the heart & soul are not there, people will know. So, IMHO, if you don't want to perform - don't!!

But if you do want to do it, then swallow your fear and practice practice practice practice practice and practice some more. If you can, video yourself. The first time I saw myself on video back in the 80s I cringed!!!!! But I learned sooo much from watching myself. Video is an excellent teaching tool!

When people have the desire and put in the practice, any technique or skill issues are usually resolved in practice. An exception to this is when people tackle something that's just too far beyond their skill set. A simple routine executed perfectly is much more fun to watch than a difficult routine done poorly.
 

nitewindz

New member
Restaurants after 1 year of lessons? I would have been terrified and mortified if my teacher would have send me to those! It would probably have stopped me from liking to dance at all. Restaurants are for the more experienced dancers as its not just dance skills and performance skills but also dealing with nasty clients and nasty restaurant owners. Not something you'd want to start with! I think if teachers want to introduce students to performing solo, start with halfla's and then friendly private gigs and maybe small festivals. And probably with other dancers doing solos too so the students doesn't feel so pressured.
Oh I agree completely. The GP can be harsh. Often the cruelty has nothing to do with the dancer and everything to do with the patrons personal problems. Students who are terrified at the thought of performing at all should not be performing in a safe setting, not one where they could be an "easy target".

Many years ago I was in a hafla in a "private" dining room at a restaurant. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as "private" as it should have been, and some crashers positioned themselves in a spot where the dancers about to go on could hear every word of their chatter - and none of those words were nice. One student was so traumatized listening to them criticize the performer on stage, that she just bailed without dancing herself.
 

Sohalia

New member
Many years ago I was in a hafla in a "private" dining room at a restaurant. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as "private" as it should have been, and some crashers positioned themselves in a spot where the dancers about to go on could hear every word of their chatter - and none of those words were nice. One student was so traumatized listening to them criticize the performer on stage, that she just bailed without dancing herself.
I think regardless of your party being BD or not, it's rather rude that these people would make themselves welcome when uninvited and that they would make such remarks. You can't stop anyone for talking amongst themselves, but they could have at least kept their comments out of earshot. Talking during any performance, no matter if it's a positive, negative or neutral comment is rude. All personal feelings aside, I just wonder if people understand the idea of common courtesy some times.
 
Top