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  1. #1
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Some people define "professional dancer" as simply as "dancer who has been paid at least once to dance somewhere". Other people define "professional dancer" as "person who earns her entire living through dance". Whew, talk about opposite extremes!!!

    Regardless of how you define "professional dancer", I think you'll agree with me that "professionalism" doesn't refer to whether / how much a dancer gets paid, but rather refers to behavior. So, what kind of behavior do you associate with professionalism?

    Some that come to mind for me:

    1. Always shows up for classes and/or performances on time.
    2. Is always organized and well-prepared for every class/gig.
    3. Invests time, money, and effort in developing a level of dance skill and academic knowledge to represent our dance form effectively to audiences, to the media, to students, etc.
    4. Engages regularly in obtaining continuing education, often outside her comfort zone, to refine and update her skills.
    5. Treats everybody (students, clients, professional colleagues) with courtesy and respect.

    I have intentionally left some of my points off the list because I wanted to allow room for others to jump in. What additional qualities do you feel are needed in order to achieve a professional pattern of behavior?


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Good post Shira. For me, this is always changing. I've been dancing less than five years and professionally only for the last year. The world of bd is much different than other areas of professionalism in some aspects.

    In addition to everything you posted, I would say practice what you preach. If you have a mantra on your website (or posted elsewhere), it's only professional to stick to that in all situations. If you post you don't agree with bachelor parties, don't take one. If you think professional dancers should be respectful, do so (with dancers, clients AND owners). So on and so on. The list is very long.

    I'd also say remaining neutral in other dancers' affairs, whether it's personal, within the community, with a venue, whatever.

    Not everyone has the same set of rules/expectations for themselves, so just stick to what you agree with.


  3. #3
    Mega BHUZzer anyadance's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    By doing the above the dancer should uphold and possibly raise the standards. Does whatever she/he can to protect the integrity and dignity of the dance.


  4. #4
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    on time.

    well-organized

    Polite and pleasant

    High standards for quality in music, costuming, dance, promotional materials, etc.

    Shows a great deal of respect for herself and others

    polished written and verbal communication skills


  5. #5
    Mega BHUZzer gothique's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I would add to number 2:

    Know the audience!

    For example:
    An oriental style dancer wouldn't fit in with an Indian wedding, might even offend them.


  6. #6
    Advanced BHUZzer Rosette's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    To me, one of the most important markers of professionalism is how we behave when things go wrong. A true "pro," whether paid or not, will do his/her best to give the audience a good experience no matter what unexpected problems arise . . . and will help, support, and cause no distress to other dancers, musicians or show producers while an event is in progress.
    Rosette


  7. #7
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Here's a fantastic article about this from isisdance.com

    WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL DANCER


  8. #8
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by gothique View Post
    I would add to number 2:

    Know the audience!

    For example:
    An oriental style dancer wouldn't fit in with an Indian wedding, might even offend them.
    Oh good one!


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I echo what others have said and add:

    Participates in networking & community building efforts in her/his local belly dance community

    Contributes to the larger community through some form of charitable outreach

    Promotes/supports the professional development and growth of students & new professionals


  10. #10
    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by nayastrance View Post
    Participates in networking & community building efforts in her/his local belly dance community

    Contributes to the larger community through some form of charitable outreach

    Promotes/supports the professional development and growth of students & new professionals
    So, are you like, ummmm, a writer of job descriptions for a human resource department somewhere? ..l;,

    Deborah


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I think everyone has said everything I was going to say already!


  12. #12
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by nayastrance View Post

    Participates in networking & community building efforts in her/his local belly dance community

    Contributes to the larger community through some form of charitable outreach
    I think this is great. However, I do know dancers that do their own thing (apart from the bigger bd community) but wouldn't consider them less of a professional because of it. They just prefer to fly solo and not be involved in everything else.


  13. #13
    Mega BHUZzer Elianae's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I agree much with what has been said. I think also, regardless of what kind of bellydance you do, it is imperitive to be knowledgeable about your craft and the history of bellydance. Knowing a bit about regionalism of the dance doesn't hurt. I'm always impressed by educated dancers.


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer sumayasaahir's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    When I think professional, I think Kim and Sonya :)


  15. #15
    Mega BHUZzer Linnyg's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by nayastrance View Post
    Promotes/supports the professional development and growth of students & new professionals
    I really like this one. I know that not everybody has the time to mentor but if you can, it is a wonderful thing and much appreciated by us little baby bellies!


  16. #16
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linnyg View Post
    I really like this one. I know that not everybody has the time to mentor but if you can, it is a wonderful thing and much appreciated by us little baby bellies!
    Yes! I'm not really a baby bellie anymore, but I still appreciate my mentor and everything she can teach me as I move forward


  17. #17
    Mega BHUZzer anyadance's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by maliam View Post
    Here's a fantastic article about this from isisdance.com

    WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL DANCER
    That was written by a gal in Calgary and added to by dancers here.

    Isis is my home base!


  18. #18
    Advanced BHUZzer phillyraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I would also add something about treating dance as their business - not sure how to word this exactly, but they approach dance as a professional business and use business skills such as marketing, accounting, and pr to enhance their product. They track their income (for taxes or otherwise) do ROI and cost-benefit analysis and don't undercut and/or price themselves fairly.

    I think many dancers who consider themselves professional do these things without realizing it. It helps for a professional dancer to treat their business like, well, a business. (Says the former software developer who uses a project plan to do anything.)


  19. #19
    Fotia
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    My biggest pet peeve is cattiness which, sad to say, is in abundance. There is no excuse for this anytime, anyplace, anywhere. And a lot of it is unfounded.

    Also, instructors who claim they are going to teach you and bring you along but just take your money instead and never deliver the goods. Sad to say, these too are in abundance.


  20. #20
    Established BHUZzer jmdruadh's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosette View Post
    To me, one of the most important markers of professionalism is how we behave when things go wrong. A true "pro," whether paid or not, will do his/her best to give the audience a good experience no matter what unexpected problems arise . . . and will help, support, and cause no distress to other dancers, musicians or show producers while an event is in progress.
    Rosette
    I'd extend that to add that a pro understands and does her job. She understands that the show is about the audience, not about her.

    When she does a private party, she makes sure that, first and foremost, the guests have a good time, even if it doesn't fit with her "artistic vision".

    That doesn't mean that she'd compromise her integrity, and she may often refuse gigs that don't fit with it.

    But when she does take a job, she delivers.


  21. #21
    Fotia
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmdruadh View Post
    I'd extend that to add that a pro understands and does her job. She understands that the show is about the audience, not about her.

    When she does a private party, she makes sure that, first and foremost, the guests have a good time, even if it doesn't fit with her "artistic vision".

    That doesn't mean that she'd compromise her integrity, and she may often refuse gigs that don't fit with it.

    But when she does take a job, she delivers.
    I'm with you on this 100%


  22. #22
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    So, are you like, ummmm, a writer of job descriptions for a human resource department somewhere?

    Deborah


    Tee-hee. I teach behavioral special education to at-risk adolescents so I'm constantly focused on character development & moral reasoning.


    I do think a professional dancer needs to recognize the role that character has on business. Its true you don't have to be super involved in what every one else is doing, but IMO it is a good business practice to be involved, to be proactive in seeking out allies & making connections, and to contribute to your community in a meaningful way.


  23. #23
    Advanced BHUZzer zaheea's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    I believe the showing professionalism in the dance is SO important and really separates the pros vs the amateurs calling themselves pros.

    -Costuming choices
    -music (having a flow to your set and good editing to music if applicable)
    -being clean and smelling nice
    -knowing your audience and being able to deal with unexpected situations in a professional manner
    -being on time

    and everything everyone has said above. There is so much important things that make up professionalism. Anyone can call themselves a professional but I believe only experience and guidance can facilitate professionalism in this dance.


  24. #24
    Advanced BHUZzer zaheea's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Oh, and something simple like returning phone calls.
    -Rant warning-
    Recently my friend was in an auto accident and was in the emergency room. I was out of town and need to find a replacement for her to dance at the restaurant. I called a local "professional", left a desperate message and never heard back. Even days later to see if my friend was ok. I really hope I pegged her wrong but she has never come through for me when I've asked her to dance (emergency or not).


  25. #25
    Fotia
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaheea View Post
    Oh, and something simple like returning phone calls.
    -Rant warning-
    Recently my friend was in an auto accident and was in the emergency room. I was out of town and need to find a replacement for her to dance at the restaurant. I called a local "professional", left a desperate message and never heard back. Even days later to see if my friend was ok. I really hope I pegged her wrong but she has never come through for me when I've asked her to dance (emergency or not).
    YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOO RIGHT ON THIS ONE!!!,m::


  26. #26
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shira View Post
    Some people define "professional dancer" as simply as "dancer who has been paid at least once to dance somewhere". Other people define "professional dancer" as "person who earns her entire living through dance". Whew, talk about opposite extremes!!!

    Regardless of how you define "professional dancer", I think you'll agree with me that "professionalism" doesn't refer to whether / how much a dancer gets paid, but rather refers to behavior. So, what kind of behavior do you associate with professionalism?

    Some that come to mind for me:

    1. Always shows up for classes and/or performances on time.
    2. Is always organized and well-prepared for every class/gig.
    3. Invests time, money, and effort in developing a level of dance skill and academic knowledge to represent our dance form effectively to audiences, to the media, to students, etc.
    4. Engages regularly in obtaining continuing education, often outside her comfort zone, to refine and update her skills.
    5. Treats everybody (students, clients, professional colleagues) with courtesy and respect.

    I have intentionally left some of my points off the list because I wanted to allow room for others to jump in. What additional qualities do you feel are needed in order to achieve a professional pattern of behavior?
    Honestly...above all, I would say a professional to me is someone who is ACTUALLY A GOOD DANCER.

    Haven't read the other posts...but this is what comes to mind.


  27. #27
    Established BHUZzer khadiya's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Obviously dance talent in heaps makes someone appear professional or of a professional standard. However, the dancers who always seem most professional to me are those who go out of their way to exhibit good manners at all times.

    Sadly, gracious behavior and courtesy don't always command the respect that they should but they always mark someone as a professional person, regardless of their abilities as a dancer.


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer zaheea's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by khadiya View Post
    Obviously dance talent in heaps makes someone appear professional or of a professional standard. However, the dancers who always seem most professional to me are those who go out of their way to exhibit good manners at all times.

    Sadly, gracious behavior and courtesy don't always command the respect that they should but they always mark someone as a professional person, regardless of their abilities as a dancer.
    I totally agree with you!


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    but honestly you can be miss congeniality and still be terrible--and I just don't think that it's enough to just be on time and nice and gracious and knowledgeable. You have to be a good dancer, too.


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Professionalism - what behaviors do you associate with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mish_mish View Post
    Honestly...above all, I would say a professional to me is someone who is ACTUALLY A GOOD DANCER.
    Yes, this is what I was aiming for in point #3.


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