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Thread: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?




  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer Jenan's Avatar
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    What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Hey All,

    I am a fairly new dancer, been dancing for 2 years now, but just got my first regular paying gig at a local restaurant. My husband was talking to his parents on the phone the other day and told them that I was a "professional" bellydancer now,which to him I am now since I now have a paying gig. I know that in Olympic sports you are concidered an amateur until you perform for money...does the same thing go for bellydance? I know this is all just a title and doens't mean really all that much but, I don't want to go around saying I'm a professional if bellydance convention says otherwise ,r:;

    Also, as a new "professional" those of you with years of experience in the professional realm, any advice? Anything you would have done differently or pursued harder? Anything that you did well that you would recommend?

    Thanks for all your opinions and advice!

    Jess


  2. #2
    Fotia
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    You may get different interpretations for "professional." While I've been dancing for a long time, I still have a full time job and will probably always have a full time job. But to me a professional is one who dances for a living. That is not to say, however, that there aren't dancers who dance like professionals, but that's how I would define myself as professional if I ever worked in that capacity.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Some people might not call me a "professional" dancer because I technically support myself with a desk job. (I say technically because I'm unemployed right now and collecting benefits, but still looking for a job). As Fotia said, there are some who define a professional as a dancer who earns all of their income through dance, and the rest of us are, well, I guess glorified amateurs.

    Personally, I'd beg to differ. I think anybody who makes money through dance can be considered a professional dancer. But more importantly, professionalism is an attitude or a state of mind. A true professional dances beautifully, carries herself like a lady and can anticipate her audience's needs and desires whether she's dancing for Arabs, Americans or neither of the above.

    To spare a lengthy response, here's a blog entry I wrote awhile back. You might find this helpful: So You Want to Be a Professional Belly Dancer… | Carrara Nour
    Samira_dncr likes this.


  4. #4
    Official BHUZzer Jenan's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Thanks so much to both of you for your responses. And I just love your blog Satin! You have such a fun way of writing that keeps me interested and intrigued the entire time. I am one of your recent blog followers and had not read that one yet so, thank you!


  5. #5
    Master BHUZzer ANA_bellydancer's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    "Professional" can be many things. One may dance professionally, not having achieved a professional dance level. And one can dance at professional level and have no relationship with dance business.
    Some dancers start teaching and they don't perform. And some dancers perform and they don't teach...
    Some dancers have a day job and others are full time dancers... In my opinion, both are professional since they charge money for gigs.
    It's very controversial...
    Last edited by ANA_bellydancer; 12-15-2009 at 06:31 PM.


  6. #6
    Mega BHUZzer ruta21030's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    professionals first, and foremost, possess a strong, balanced, educated background in ME dance (strong dance vocabulary, preferably at an advanced level, are aware of and practice fair pricing according to the area's norms and standards, maintain a professional demeanor and exemplify what the public views as a professional dancer

    as a performer, they maintain a polished image, price without undercutting, are sensitive to their audience's preferences and mood, possess showmanship beyond a class norm, and consistently broaden an advanced vocabulary, and continue learning to meet the needs of their clients and audiences

    as a teacher, they possess exceptional knowledge not only in the movements, but the knowledge of how the body works, safe alignment, the history and culture of the dance, etc...also, pricing norms here, as classes can be undercut as well

    this is pretty cut and dry, but many teachers and dancers(some will likely chime in) have workshops and links specifically for pros-to-be......renumeration is not the only criteria, there is ALOT that leads to professionalism


  7. #7
    Official BHUZzer Bellissima's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Would you not call someone who works an office job part time and hold a good deal of paying gigs semi-pro?


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellissima View Post
    Would you not call someone who works an office job part time and hold a good deal of paying gigs semi-pro?
    Something about the term "semi-professional" can feel demeaning, as if those of us who support ourselves with a separate job put in less hard work and effort. One time, when this discussion came up, somebody suggested that those of us who have 9-5 jobs should call ourselves "Olympic Level Bellydancers." Working full-time AND pouring your heart and soul into dance is no easy feat!

    Sorry if any of this comes across the wrong way. It is, indeed, a controversial topic. I just think the title of "professional" has so many additional variables, which have all been discussed above.


  9. #9
    Mega BHUZzer ruta21030's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    well, there ARE dancers i know who support themselves solely as dancers/teachers, but they are few and far between, as it takes a great deal of time, energy, wherewithal and can be very, very stressful to maintain regular gigs and classes, stay organized, and sustainable....

    in this economy as well, many have found the need to maintain either part time or full time work to maintain a viable means of meeting daily needs and requirements, so i personally don't judge EITHER side. a day job doesn't make a dancer who gains income from her dance life any less 'professional', as the same professionalism expected in an office, needs to be demonstrated as a dancer/teacher.....income from teaching/performance gigs not only provide liquid income for daily bills, but also sustains the dance business thru purchase of music, materials, costumes, classes, workshops, to maintain a high level......

    the current economic climate has hit dancers both in the classroom, and in performance venues and opportunities, so my admiration goes out to those who support themselves solely thru dance, as it's EXTREMELY difficult to maintain steady, sustainable income with what many consumers consider to be discretionary spending. and for those that maintain day jobs in addition to dance, it doesn't make them any less professional, each supplements the other and allows a dancer to maintain their standard of living AND maintain their dance business


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellissima View Post
    Would you not call someone who works an office job part time and hold a good deal of paying gigs semi-pro?
    I have a full time career (non-dance), teach a single dance class per week, and do maybe 3-4 paying gigs per year, and I call myself a professional dancer. I don't use the term semi-pro for anything.


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellissima View Post
    Would you not call someone who works an office job part time and hold a good deal of paying gigs semi-pro?
    When I was in a Ballet Company which did paying gigs, we were considered semi-pro. We, as dancers, rarely saw any of the money, but because we were being held to a particular standard and performing in the arena which were performing in, this is the status which we were given.

    {{{HUGS}}}


  12. #12
    I could get used to this! ElenaBellydance's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Go ssipes!!! I too have a full time job, teach classes 2x. a week and after taking a two year long hiatus am returning to dancing "professionally". Back when I danced professionally before I did maybe 5 paying gigs a year, but have at times taught up to 7 private classes a week as well as groups. I worked and went to school full time time, then, too. I have never used "semi-pro". I choose to realize that living in a mid size northern Texas town will NEVER support me only paying my bills with Bellydance and work a 40-hour a week job. I put around the same amount of time into my dance studies, preparing for class and gigs and working on marketing and costuming (I sew a lot, for myself and others. I know A LOT of dancers who because of economic conditions especially in smaller areas do this and I don't consider any of them less professional than one that only dances. And sure, some days I think how nice it would be to bellydance all my day away, everyday, but in reality, I consider myself lucky. I get to have two careers and not only get to dance a lot, but get to know my rent, bills and shoe addiction are payed for every month!
    Acenith likes this.
    Visit my website and Bellydance Blog! http://elenalewis.wordpress.com/


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer la_soraya's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    Stay tuned for my book, set to hit shelves September 2013. It's a guide on becoming, advancing and trail blazing as a professional belly dancer. Will also include interviews with some of the top dancers in our field :)
    ~Mariana ~ Award Winning Professional Bellydance Artist: www.marianabellydance.com


  14. #14
    Official BHUZzer Sabine's Avatar
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    Re: What is concidered to be a "professional" in our field? Any advice for a new "professional"?

    of COURSE a dancer can be professional and still have another job. (Would you ever say an elementary school teacher who works a summer job to make ends meet is not a "real" teacher?).
    Acenith likes this.


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