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Thread: Auditions




  1. #1
    Just Starting! TeenaByrd's Avatar
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    Auditions

    Can anyone give suggestions for where to audition or become listed as a bellydancer in the MD, DC, VA area? Links and phone numbers will be most appreciated. Feel free to email me at teenabyrd@hotmail.com Thanks.


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Can't you just hang up your shingle? I've never heard anywhere that authorization is needed to go pro [although that might be a really good idea.......]


  3. #3
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    There have been several discussion on the process & ethics of going pro. Every single one of them talks about the importance of having a teacher or other respected professional in the area agree that you are ready to make this transition and become a mentor to you. From what I know the DC area has a lot of dancers & IMO it could be a huge mistake to just get yourself some business cards & "hang up your shingle" so to speak. It would probably be a better approach in that area to start building relationships with other professional dancers & networking. These would be the people who would know the best marketing tools & strategies for the area (i.e. places to list yourself as a dancer & groups or locations that may be auditioning dancers).
    What are you doing now to support this transition & why do you think you're ready to go pro?
    I would take the time to read the following threads and then consider who in the area may be willing & able to mentor you in this process.
    Here are some recent threads about going from student to pro.
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...ce-needed.html
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...do-i-need.html
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...ercutting.html
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...resturant.html
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...erforming.html
    Last edited by Jessani; 08-30-2009 at 07:14 AM.


  4. #4
    Just Starting! TeenaByrd's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    I'm self-taught, except for some stuff I learned from my dance-teacher as a child and what I picked up from my Mom (who was a professional bellydancer in the '70s). I'm not 18 and believe that the idea that I 'need' to work with a real-live teacher (as opposed to videos and books) is partially respectable, but also just an excuse to make money (a 'racket,' as LaVey would say). I don't think bypassing that makes me disrespectful; the people who made money off the videos, etc. I've bought have been my teachers, and have my money to show for it. I'm not averse to working with teachers, but I'm not currently rolling in cash (or time, for that matter), and I think to not seek work now is simply procrastinating and growing fear. I will take a look at the links you referenced, and I appreciate your advice. If I could find a teacher who is willing to be a 'mentor' and guide me into and through the steps to becoming a professional, instead of putting on the brakes, I would gladly pay them the same fee for the classes...if we could only move forward immediately instead of wasting my time stretching out classes that may not teach me anything new. I'm not desperate to get started; I'm enthusiastic to get started.

    One of the things I've noticed in 'going pro' articles is that you should list the classes you've had on your resume. If that is so, would those only be classes that give 'certification,' or would it include even workshops such as the four to be featured at the WAMEDA hafla coming up? After all, I took a fire-staff workshop...but I haven't worked with fire.

    Furthermore, if a teacher doesn't offer certification or mentoring - what merit would their classes have on a resume?


  5. #5
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: Auditions

    Mentoring is not about taking your money. It's about guiding you through the potential pitfalls that often befall the "enthusiastic" - like being taken advantage of by folks who'll see you and your enthusiasm coming from a mile away.

    It's also about making sure you know what the professional standards are, what you need to know from a cultural standpoint (such as what music to use and NOT to use in certain situations), and how to be ready for anything.


  6. #6
    Official BHUZzer beautynlaw's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Teena, are you a member of WAMEDA, inc. Here is the link WAMEDA, Inc.


  7. #7
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by tamrahennatx View Post
    Mentoring is not about taking your money. It's about guiding you through the potential pitfalls that often befall the "enthusiastic" - like being taken advantage of by folks who'll see you and your enthusiasm coming from a mile away.

    It's also about making sure you know what the professional standards are, what you need to know from a cultural standpoint (such as what music to use and NOT to use in certain situations), and how to be ready for anything.
    Just one more thing: yes, you can learn all this stuff on your own, but why reinvent the wheel?

    If you don't want to try to work with a teacher, then I suggest that you network with the other professional dancers in your area. Go to their shows, and if they teach, go to their classes (yes, there's the dreaded directive, "go to class!" again - it can only be beneficial, why resist it so much?). Develop relationships with the other local pros and you will learn very quickly what it takes to be a working dancer.

    You mention not having money for classes, and I have to call you out on that. If you can't afford to invest in being a professional, then you're not ready yet. Belly dancing is not actually quick money, because you have to invest so much time, effort, and money before you can take regular paying gigs.


  8. #8
    Advanced BHUZzer SandraDances's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    When you say you aren't 18, did you mean that you were younger or older?
    If you are younger, you really need to hold off. Any place that sells alcohol will not want you there.

    You can learn a lot from a teacher, even it if is what not to do. Besides, it is a good way to network. There are a TON of great teachers around here. Look in the WAMEDA instructor list, check out the website and see if you can find a good match for you. Dance in some local haflas,meet more people. You can meet dancers who work at restaurants and ask about subbing for them if you are old enough).
    Other dancers are almost always your friends and can help you a lot.


  9. #9
    Mega BHUZzer gypsydanse's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Was your mother a well known teacher in the 70's? What was her stage name? I danced in the DC area in the 70's, and may have heard of her.

    If you're self-taught, have you been watching DVDs from other dancers?

    Maybe one of the DC dancers will be online later to offer some assistance/ advice.

    But I think someone else started a thread on becoming a pro in the MD/DC/VA area. Maybe someone can find it.


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by TeenaByrd View Post
    I'm self-taught, except for some stuff I learned from my dance-teacher as a child and what I picked up from my Mom (who was a professional bellydancer in the '70s). I'm not 18 and believe that the idea that I 'need' to work with a real-live teacher (as opposed to videos and books) is partially respectable, but also just an excuse to make money (a 'racket,' as LaVey would say). I don't think bypassing that makes me disrespectful; the people who made money off the videos, etc. I've bought have been my teachers, and have my money to show for it. I'm not averse to working with teachers, but I'm not currently rolling in cash (or time, for that matter), and I think to not seek work now is simply procrastinating and growing fear. I will take a look at the links you referenced, and I appreciate your advice. If I could find a teacher who is willing to be a 'mentor' and guide me into and through the steps to becoming a professional, instead of putting on the brakes, I would gladly pay them the same fee for the classes...if we could only move forward immediately instead of wasting my time stretching out classes that may not teach me anything new. I'm not desperate to get started; I'm enthusiastic to get started.

    One of the things I've noticed in 'going pro' articles is that you should list the classes you've had on your resume. If that is so, would those only be classes that give 'certification,' or would it include even workshops such as the four to be featured at the WAMEDA hafla coming up? After all, I took a fire-staff workshop...but I haven't worked with fire.

    Furthermore, if a teacher doesn't offer certification or mentoring - what merit would their classes have on a resume?
    Okey doke then. Good luck.


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by TeenaByrd View Post
    I'm not 18 and believe that the idea that I 'need' to work with a real-live teacher (as opposed to videos and books) is partially respectable, but also just an excuse to make money (a 'racket,' as LaVey would say).
    TeenaByrd, I really hope that someday you do work one-on-one with a good teacher so you will understand just how not true this is.

    The thing that a teacher can give, that videos, books, and self-learning cannot, is feedback regarding aspects of the dance that you can't really evaluate for yourself. Almost without exception, self-taught dancers (even ones with much natural talent) have some bad technique issues they are not aware of. Even if you videotape yourself on a regular basis and then study the footage, there are probably things you could improve but haven't noticed.

    Everyone needs teachers to reach their true potential.


  12. #12
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Some great info from the MD/DC/VA specific thread from Samira Shuruk - http://www.bhuz.com/forum/443638-post7.html


    Quote Originally Posted by gypsydanse View Post
    But I think someone else started a thread on becoming a pro in the MD/DC/VA area. Maybe someone can find it.


  13. #13
    Mega BHUZzer mahsati's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Hi Teena, I see you posted the below a few weeks ago. I think the absolute best option for you will be to go to the classes of the working professional dancers in your area. They can assess your skill levels and can also help you network to become a professional if you are already skilled. These are the dancers who can refer gigs to you and who have the contacts int eh community to get you started. If you are told that you need classes or are not ready for performance, don't be discouraged - it just means that you need more polish and technique before they can recommend you. Those things only come from classes and from practice.

    Good luck!


    7-28-09
    Seeking Teacher/Mentor in the Annapolis, MD Area

    I am fairly new to bellydance, and would like to pursue it professionally. I've read a few things and have seen that it is wise to work with a teacher or a mentor first. I am 33 years, have been practicing bellydance for a few years now, and am finally seeing progress in rolling my belly. My mother was a professional bellydancer in the '70s, and she put us in a class for it when we were little kids, but she never shared or taught us anything about it. I am interested in Turkish, but all others, especially tribal, as well. Also, I have tattoos. I really am in a hurry to start down the professional road, and would appreciate any and all contacts and advice. As a remarkable aside, I don't drive; but I have finally attained a learner's permit. I mention it to illustrate that I am presently heavily reliant on patient and generous souls, as I am having a late start on adulthood. Please feel free to contact me directly at teenabyrd@hotmail.com . Is it possible to get started professionally without money? Any creative suggestions welcome. Thanks.
    __________________
    Aspiring Professional in MD


  14. #14
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Teena.

    How great that you are such an enthusiast in dance. Its wonderful to see that someone has such passion for the art of the dance - even in such financially rough times - and isn't just looking to earn a quick buck.

    OK, enough with the sarcasm. Let me get down to the jest of it. This is not directed at you only - but at anyone with a similar inquiry as well:
    1. you can not become a professional anything without skill, knowledge, financial investment and most of all - its REALLY hard to become a professional anything without a network.

    2. you will have a hard time in a professional business if you do not treat your future colleagues' business and profession with respect. I would advice you to realize that most areas of the world today have very well established commercial belly dance scenes - and getting into them doesn't happen by elbowing your way through and stepping on toes.

    3. There is a lot of knowledge, experience and insight from all over the world available on Bhuz. I would advice you to take wisdom from the information and guidance that has already been given to you by well experienced and insightful people.

    4. Generosity in dance happens when you show yourself "worthy" in this business. People will guide you if they see you are willing to work (on your dance). People will give you a price break on a class now and then.

    5. One professional costume alone costs about $6-800. With proper connections you may be able to get some nice costumes for as low as 150-200...if you have the connections that is. Assuming that you can enter the professional scene without the proper work attire - not only for stage, but also off the stage - is like assuming you can perform surgery without a medical degree.

    6. Skill can not be bought - it merely comes through your own hard work and proper guidance (from a professional instructor or mentor). A skilled dancer can learn something even from the worst of instructors. Assuming that instructors are after your money...well, they are. They paid copious amounts of dollars for what knowledge they have acquired and invested in their businesses....there is no reason for why you should be getting any of that information for free.


    DaVid
    Last edited by david; 08-31-2009 at 06:57 PM.


  15. #15
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    7. Titles, certifications, diplomas bla bla bla only hold merit for you - and other dancers that know what amount of work lay behind them. Your average customer is not going to give a @#$!@#$% about what you resume says. The only thing that interests them is whether you can deliver the service they are wanting.

    8. When looking to pursue a professional career (read: commercial career) it is important to realize that unless you have a service that the market wants - or by chance are able to create a market for it - you will not be very successful in your career. Instructors assist you with getting a proper understanding of the business and also direct you in the direction that will behoove your career the most. If you are looking to be a starving artist - feel free to pursue any kind of dance, arts or otherwise passion in any possible way you would like. But from a business standpoint - you are dependent on staying somewhat consistent with the various categories of professional/commercial careers available out there. However, with the growth of the Internet, instructional and performance videos, global exchange of knowledge and information it is hard to sustain a career doing something WAY out of the mainstream (wide definition).

    With that, I believe anyone with a professional career in mind have enough to worry about.

    Good luck. I will be looking forward to seeing you at one of the multiple learning opportunities out there. Please don't hesitate to say hi if see me somewhere :)
    Last edited by david; 08-31-2009 at 06:56 PM.


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Very well said, David.

    Also from what I know the MD, DC, VA area has an incredible community of top notch dancers who have worked for a very long time to elevate our dance form and negotiate decent wages worthy of this skill level.

    Teenabyrd, you live within easy traveling distance of some of the best dancers and instructors in the country, both seasoned big names and talented up and coming youngsters -- Artemis Mourat, Yasmine, Faten Salama, Lucy, Shems, Samira Shuruk, Damiena, and many others I'm forgetting off the top of my head.

    As someone who has never lived close to so many dancers that amazing, who drove 4 hrs round trip for her beginning belly dance lessons because that's how far the nearest teacher was, who has in fact piece-mealed her dance education together off random privates and workshops not out of choice but lack of access, I can't imagine living in your part of the country and just more or less blowing these teachers off.

    If someone like Artemis or Faten comes within 4 hrs of me to teach a workshop, I'm there. Sorry, I can't imagine thinking "eh, whatever. They just want my money."

    But that's just me.


  17. #17
    Established BHUZzer Sitara9's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    TeenaByrd, there are several wonderful teachers within a short driving distance of your location. (As noted by other posters above.) It's inspiring to be in an area with so many bellydance learning opportunities.

    I noticed that you wrote, "I'm not really familiar with what's what in bellydance music" on your bhuz profile. Learning about mid-Eastern music and rhythms continues to be a significant part of my education as a dancer. As one of my teachers says, "The music is important--it tells you how to move." Fortunately, there are plenty of music workshops/classes in the DC area. You should consider looking into them. :)


  18. #18
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    TeenaByrd,
    I think it is more than likely that with so little training, you don't know how much you don't know.

    Belly dance very literally can be a dangerous profession, specifically in the DC area if you don't know what to look out for, how to protect yourself from the predators who are more than willing to take advantage of a naive newcomer. You can get financially taken advantage of and much, much worse, including the endangerment of your physical well being. I'm not just saying this to scare you. happens and I couldn't imagine what I would've gone through as a professional dancer in this area, if I didn't have the support and advice of my teachers and professional peers. What I had to learn on the job was hard enough, and some of the stuff my peers went though, well, it isn't something to take lightly.

    You also cannot shirk monetary investment and training if you are serious about being a professional dancer. If you feel like you've been held back in the past by an instructor, I'm certain they did what was in your best interest. You need to understand the music, the cultures you're dealing with, the professional aspects of your business, the venues, you need to invest in the right music, costumes, make-up, and self promotional materials and you need to be a damn fine dancer to boot. It is impossible to do all that on the cheap and it is impossible to learn all that from a few dvds. Even really great dvds.

    If you really want to go pro, you've got to be ready to do what that takes, and it takes the background, information, feedback and support you get from a good, real live teacher. You can't get that anyplace else.
    Last edited by shems; 09-01-2009 at 01:17 PM.


  19. #19
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Teenabyrd, I have to ask, and I am asking in all seriousness, do you really believe your own publicity or are you trying to get a reaction from people?
    If you asking in all seriousness for suggestions, you might want to really consider taking the advice of some of the dancers that have made some very
    good suggestions. If you not serious and are throwing this topic out there to see what response you get, I think the respondants have been very kind to you and have tried to be helpful. No short cuts kiddo. You have to do the work.
    Last edited by david; 09-04-2009 at 12:32 AM.


  20. #20
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Ahhh, RATS! Posted under David's log in again.
    This last post was by Patrisha. We are sharing a computer these days/
    Sorry for the confusion


  21. #21
    Official BHUZzer beautynlaw's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by david View Post
    Teenabyrd, I have to ask, and I am asking in all seriousness, do you really believe your own publicity or are you trying to get a reaction from people?
    If you asking in all seriousness for suggestions, you might want to really consider taking the advice of some of the dancers that have made some very
    good suggestions. If you not serious and are throwing this topic out there to see what response you get, I think the respondants have been very kind to you and have tried to be helpful. No short cuts kiddo. You have to do the work.
    I think our legs were being pulled with this thread.


  22. #22
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by beautynlaw View Post
    I think our legs were being pulled with this thread.
    I think so too, BUT - now we've all said what we feel and think about this subject for future reference :)
    YAY.


  23. #23
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by tamrahennatx View Post
    You mention not having money for classes, and I have to call you out on that. If you can't afford to invest in being a professional, then you're not ready yet. Belly dancing is not actually quick money, because you have to invest so much time, effort, and money before you can take regular paying gigs.
    Bingo. It's not quick money, nor is it dependable money.

    Some months, the money is out of this world. You might get like two gigs a night, every weekend. Then, you go through dry spells. August was a terrible, terrible month for me - contracts backing out at the last minute, getting undercut, the whole nine yards. I've gone three weeks in a row with no gigs, and don't have anything lined up until the end of October.

    I almost want to laugh my a off at the idea that anyone can get rich doing this. It's a nice source of extra money if you already have a day job. And some people make a decent living at this. But it's not something that happens overnight.

    Then again, I'd be making a lot more money doing this if the small handful of overenthusiastic, untrained dancers in my area would stop the insanity. Which brings us back to all the reasons why it's bad, bad, BAD when noobs take work from trained pros without any interest in their own professional development ,r:;


  24. #24
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    I don't think so.

    Teena, are you on MySpace? There are some photos of a Teena Byrd in Maryland in a bellydance costume, so I think it's you.

    Hope you've found the info in these posts helpful.


    Quote Originally Posted by beautynlaw View Post
    I think our legs were being pulled with this thread.
    Last edited by kiyaana; 09-04-2009 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Removed link.


  25. #25
    Mega BHUZzer gypsydanse's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    I hope if her mother did wear that costume, she wore something underneath that skirt! It would never fly these days.........


  26. #26
    Established BHUZzer Amber_moon's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    deleted.....
    Last edited by Amber_moon; 09-04-2009 at 08:11 PM.


  27. #27
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Deleted.
    Last edited by SatinWorship19; 09-04-2009 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Taking a vow of silence.


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    deleted. yawn.
    Last edited by Jessani; 09-07-2009 at 08:22 AM.


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    Quote Originally Posted by nayastrance View Post
    .p:: There's definitely some Raks Beaver going on in those pictures. ..c::
    Almost makes me want to do a public service announcement in my blog for all would-be professional dancers. A buck-toothed rodent in a bedlah, with a speech bubble that reads:

    "Don't be an eager beaver: always wear underpants."

    Too bad I'm a great big chicken.


  30. #30
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Auditions

    deleted.
    Last edited by Jessani; 09-07-2009 at 08:23 AM.


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