This is a question that everyone asks, different people have different perceptions of what it takes to become a professional bellydancer and as a reader the first thing I would like you to do after you have read everything is to question this write-up and give your opinions and feedback. In MEDA we may have a different practice compared to other practice’s that link to this very question.
This can also be greatly attached to this question as well – What is Bellydance? According to Wikipeida: Belly dance or bellydance is a western-coined name for “solo, improvised dances based on torso articulation” originating from the Middle East.
The very first step every dancer must learn is improvisation or social dancing because that is part of the Middle Eastern Culture. It is about community building and joining together to celebrate and admire feminine beauty as a whole and that is one of the main factors.
What is the criteria of a professional bellydancer in MEDA?
I can easily say this: Facial Expression, Choreography, Costume, Posture, Hand Movements but that won’t cover the main criteria’s.
The most important is the knowledge of the dance. You must research continuously and also always ask your instructor what your learning about and what the story behind everything is? how did it come about? How do I give the Middle Eastern “flavour” inside my dance?
In Middle East dance, every style has a story background, to better express yourself in your dance – you must know what your dancing and how to project the emotions. This also heavily connects to culture, just as Indian dance has a story behind every look and hand movement, so does every style of the Middle East.
The Middle Eastern Flavour is very important in your dance – a great example is this one right here, Randa Kamel one of the famous Egyptian Dancers. As you watch the whole video, you can see that its not about choreography perfection. It’s the joyful expressions, the communication with her audience that makes her stand out.
Another is creating a sisterhood environment in your class, whenever you step into a classroom you have to make yourself as a team with other students – you must help each other by taking constructive criticism no matter their dance level, every criticism is important for you – the very same type of people can be found in your audience when you perform, an audience doesn’t know anything yet they can judge if you’re good or not.
Same goes with a classroom – it does not differ who knows more but how you can improve and if what your saying is reasonable and is backed up by understanding – everyone should be heard in a classroom and you must not put people down in their dance purposely. Putting someone down in their dance is like killing their confidence as a student. As a student you must learn to also share your knowledge and bring up the confidence of your fellow dance partners – a classroom is a time to learn not to show who’s better this also heavily connects to group choreography.
Another point to know as bellydancer who wants to become better in your dance. When you look at youtube video’s what do you see? “A sea of similarity”. It’s like a copy after another copy. You as a dancer should never copy your instructor when your in an advance level. You should present your own style and flavour and even choreography, even as a group everything should be your own. You must learn to choreograph on your own – an important step from beginning to end – you must sit by yourself and brainstorm ideas and become creative, that is what makes it an art after all. Look at this way in the end everyone wants to see what you can do not what your instructor can do for you.
This is what you can do as a professional – you can be inspired by something and put it in your dance but make sure it’s not in your whole entire choreography.
These are the main things every professional dancer must think about – extemporisation, choreography – as a solo and as a troupe and taking constructive criticism.