1. The struggle between earning money in a field where there is not a set salary or wage
Truth be told, this industry caters to those that can afford to purchase the services we offer, and whether for classes, private events, or workshops, there will always be the constant fluctuation of clients.
Sometimes it is a great month, other times it is hard staying above water financially. No matter how successful a dancer may appear, it is a constant money investment to stay successful, which is hard and draining to deal with emotionally at times.
Everyone wants you to come to their stuff, but often you ask for assistance and its a shocking thing. I have never met anyone made out of money, and belly dancers often have to spend it like water to support the industry,and it angers me when its frowned upon to try and get some help in return. Really? So I support the community year after year, and asking for a gas voucher once is that big of a deal?
2. The b*&h-fest of two-faced people
Always hating and blabbering behind dancers’ backs, but when they see you it’s nothing but smiles, halos and “friends” online. If you do not like a dancer, fine, you’re entitled to it, but do not go spreading untrue rumors, believing everything you hear, and etc… look at yourself, give the person the benefit of the doubt before you jump to agreement, and simply make the choice to ignore them if you personally do not like them rather than be fake.
If something truly compels you to express your distaste, tell it to their face, or look the other way. “Dislikes” on Youtube, complaining on why you were not picked instead of the chosen dancer for a gig and etc..it is so childish. Be happy for the other dancer’s achievements, and fix what made you not get the gig! You did not get it for a reason!
“Community” this and that at events, but nothing but hatred in your veins behind their backs..just grow up already or stop wasting your time lurking at their stuff.
3. The constant “box” people are always trying to fit or break or whatever…
Whether you dance modern, traditional, American, Egyptian, fusion, whatever…at the end of the day what matters is how well the dancer performed. Who cares what style, do not bash them if they want to break the box or fit into the roots of the dance. What matters is if they killed it as a BELLY DANCE performer!
There is so much judgment on whether the dancer is too modern or if she/he is too “authentic” and needs to break free and do something different. Come on now; let’s just get to the point, the belly dance. No matter what style, it all has belly dance in common. All are gorgeous when done WELL, no matter which style you choose. Not going to study from a teacher because she is “not your style”, really? That is not community. You can learn something new form every great instructor, no matter which genre.
4. The fight against the “McDonalds” mentality
Like many I have lost students over the years because they often think that when I said “hard work”, “test through levels”, “fundamentals”, “years”, that somehow that they would be the exception…no, you are probably not. When you have a passion, you devote years to fully understand and master certain subjects, and in this field, it seriously, truly, unquestionably, will take over a lifetime to even get a handle on it.
This is not a drive-thru, no I don’t dance like what you saw on t.v., no I didn’t just pick it up naturally in a week, no I won’t lower my prices. For the particular specific style I personally formulated thus far, it came from hard work like any other devoted dancer and a whole lot of practice and self analysis and innovation.
5. The 24/7 work load
It is not easy traveling, working all the time, no paid holidays, no health insurance, no set salary, no steady clientele, no “breaks”. Be ready to work your tushy off, because success in entertainment (in the ethical manner), will be a long road, but hopefully your efforts will be worth it one day. Some days you want to just stay in bed you’re so exhausted from it all. I know we have all been there, it is not easy to juggle life and this business. We have jsut try and do our best, and pull through.
6. The shady politics and unethical practices that are being accepted
- No, I do not teach workshops unless if I am compensated fully. If I truly happened to be in a city one day and contacted a sponsor cool, but to just go and pay fare on my own dime for “exposure” sorry, no-go.
- No, I will not “audition” and travel there to teach or perform for the “Exposure, like _dancer did” with a crumb of a fee if any in return. I am not rich, maybe if I was…maybe, why not, I don’t know, but do not EXPECT it ever.
- No, a dancer should not compete in a category if she/he sponsored half the judges. Be ethical dancers.
- No, I do not kiss ass, sleep with, trade gigs or step on the people’s heads I know to get somewhere. I am not desperate to be “famous” or “known”. Get it. If i want a promo vid, I’ll pay for it. If I want to be on a c.d. cover I will make sure the photographer allowed it, get’s paid, and is credited. I won’t play dumb or step on those who made it possible.
Sorry for the rant, just had to write a blog that needed to vent what the dark realities are for many a dancer out there. We all have moments or rage, anger, perhaps jealousy, distaste, confusion, but darn it, this industry is not all glamour and sunshine, and only way to make something happen, is to voice our concerns.
In a community where we constantly judge a performance, keep your thoughts as a critique not a b#@#%-fest. We all have stuff to work on, no one is perfect, let’s try to be the best humans we can be. I am grateful for all I have accomplished, but part of being a professional in the industry is voicing concerns and doing what is possible to make things better.