Tips For Advanced Students Thinking Of Becoming A Teacher Or A Performer

There are upsides and downsides to teaching and performing Bellydance, just like every other job. So do consider both the positive and the negative before embarking on the journey of being a Bellydance teacher or performer.

Consider the following:

  • Teaching and performing are not simply dancing. So loving dancing doesn’t automatically mean you should teach or perform. They are both skills unto themselves, and not everyone is made to be a teacher or a performer.
  • If want to teach or perform for the money, don't bother. Bellydance is, for the most part, an expensive labour of love - between CDs, costumes, clothes for class, ongoing dance study, etc, it's a fun road, but not a cheap one.
  • Teaching and performing work is tiring, and mostly nocturnal. You work when everyone else plays (in fact, your work is everyone's else's play) and your social life and sleep patterns will be adversely affected.
  • Once you start teaching or performing you’ve immediately turned your hobby into a job. While that’s good on the one hand, no longer will Bellydancing be a matter of ‘want to’ but a matter of ‘have to’ and adding those two little words to the equation is a huge shift in your mindset. Think about that carefully.

If you're thinking of teaching or performing full-time, bear in mind:

  • As with any other industry, there is politics in Bellydance. Furthermore, as we're talking about the dance industry, you'll come across people who are divas with massive egos and insecurity problems. (You've been warned!)
  • A full-time Bellydance teacher and performer is no different from any other small business owner - you must run things like a business and consider aspects such as insurance, licenses, marketing, bookkeeping, basic accounting, money management, technology, advertising, customer care, etc.
  • Like any small business owner, your work days will be very long. You'll have to find a way to strike a balance between rest and work otherwise your health and personal life will suffer.
  • It’s easy start up classes or get gigs, but sustaining the business for years and years is the tough bit. So you must gain some business knowledge, develop a solid and workable long-term plan, and then work, work, work!

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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