After the most amazing retreat experience in the mountains of Colorado, I drove back down with my friends Sadie and her hubby David and the topic of what the future of the industry may be came up. This was one that had us stumped at the time, and it has stuck deep in my psyche as I have let this brew over the past couple of weeks in my mind.

If we look at just the past 10 years, the belly dance industry has changed DRASTICALLY. We went from live shows being the main way to watch a performer, cd album purchases, tons of DVD sales, and morphed into a technological observer. What I mean to say is, now you can watch any dancer from around the world on Youtube (no need to fly to watch a show). Cd albums and DVD sales have steadily declined and online streaming, I-Tunes digital downloads and e-books have flooded the market.  There are no tangible objects needed.

Ten years ago cell phones were just starting to become common with the beloved Razor (flip phone that was the rage at the time). Now cell phones are everywhere, and half the audience is watching your dance through their phone as they film your performance rather than simply watching one dance.

The belly dance industry today is in the direction of more fast-paced, instant download and “I want it now” demand due to the help of technology.

Where does it go from here though is the question? Star Wars being around the corner, I thought why not look to them for inspiration. Perhaps in ten years Skype and online classes won’t be enough. Perhaps in ten years when a student takes a private lesson online it will consist of a hologram that we as teachers can manipulate just as if the student were right there live with us.

How about if in 10 years the need for digital downloads of music and e-books are obsolete? What if we simply download the information to our minds through some chip? I know this can sound waaaaaay out there, but heck, you never know. Technology is developing so quickly we literally cannot throw it off the table.

What if in the future the role of belly dance instructors will be so that instead of having to travel to conventions and events, the convention and events come to them?

As I think about my role as a performer and instructor, how will this morph and look like in even 5 years? What will be the next biggest boom for students/performers? As more and more events spring up around the world, will it slow down in 5 years or will an even greater number for conventions appear? Perhaps events will merge and become huge mega-conventions with one per continent and hologram learning throughout the rest of the year?

What new technological advances will appear that will drastically change the way we do business now? Share what you think! What do you think will happen to the belly dance industry in 10 years?