The Business of Belly Dance
Two lines of thinking exist:
Follow your passion and you'll never work another day in your life!
Don't turn your passion into a business or you'll lose your passion or be too emotionally involved to remain business-minded.
I've seen that happen with me regarding art and other areas of dance.
Belly dance, though, has been different.
I'm passionate about the art form, but I'm also passionate about the teaching of it.
I started dancing in Hawaii, became part of a troupe, and traveled around O'ahu and to San Francisco performing in both small and large shows.
I learned from the stars of the belly dance world who came to Hawaii on working vacations and experience almost every form of belly dance/fusion with no intention of teaching.
Upon returning to the Mainland, I started teaching for various reasons. One main reason was to build a community because I had been gone for over six years and my friends were scattered abroad.
Since then I've taught in multiple venues but with little focus because my high school teaching job was my primary income, and I couldn't neglect it for a side hustle.
Now, though, I can direct my intention and my love of developing curriculum to this world! I can't lie--I enjoy working with professional adults and not only teens.
Here, then, are my Belly Dance Business Goals for 2022!
1. Create a clear belly dance journey for students
Even if you're going into something as a hobby, you want a clear understanding of the possibilities. I want my students to have multiple options for dance that make sense, and a map for that.
Each class is getting its own workbook, and every student will get a calendar that shows upcoming classes and how the classes fit together.
Eventually, I'd like a five-year process, but I need a year or two to fully understand that myself!
2. Add more classes and workshops
Moving new students into classes while engaging returning students is the opportunity every teacher faces for any art form.
This year, Bright Eyes Belly Dance will have prop classes, technique classes, and choreography classes that fit together but can be taken separately. Eventually we'll have a troupe class and monthly workshops on a topic not covered in classes.
I'm adding a Belly Dance and Coffee Morning Edition also for people who prefer mornings.
More doesn't equal better, so I'm adding the classes strategically throughout the year.
3. Perform More Locally
Performances are a great way to advertise and prove experience/ability while showcasing the many aspects of Middle Eastern dance from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.
Plus, belly dance adds more sparkle to any event! This year I'm primarily looking at Farmers' Markets and smaller festivals until I build up a personal and troupe repertoire.
4. Build Professional Performance, Private Lessons, and Online Experiences
Due to time constraints and having a child, I have done very little professional performance in the Upstate. In fact, I've had more hula opportunities than belly dance!
I also have the time and space to host private lessons (finally) and the time to film and edit online classes. Music rights are one of my difficult problems in the online teaching realm, so pre-recorded video might be a thing of 2023!
This is similar to local performances but with a twist.
One example: I'm working with a tea professional to do Tea + Belly Dance where she teaches about Middle Eastern teas and I teach a class in belly dance.
This the sort of collaboration that brings diverse groups together and adds movement into the mix.
I'm excited for 2022, and for our first performance for many on January 8. I love seeing women grow in confidence and creativity through belly dance!