Recurring Thoughts

I've been keeping a paper journal for a workshop I'll be taking next month, and I'm finding that writing out my feelings has been really enlightening. I've learned a lot about myself and my dancing already. In particular I seem to obsess over the same issues all the time:
  • Why am I dancing? Why am I belly dancing? The answer seems to change every single day, but I guess that's normal. Some days I love its feminine charm, some days I love the rich culture and history, and some days (in the interest of being honest) it's because I have to. It was one of the questions we had to answer at the Mira Betz workshop in Aprril and now, just as then, my answer is different every day.
  • Who is supposed to care? I always wonder this. Everybody watches movies and listens to music, but most people don't care too much about dancing, and fewer still care about my poorly defined yet oddly specific sub-genre of belly dance. I feel like society producers pretty good consumers of art and culture, except where basically all forms of dance are concerned. I've heard (and cringed at) people saying ballet is boring, modern is pretentious, burlesque is skanky, belly dance is confusing--so who is supposed to come see shows? I feel pretty often like I can only ever expect other dancers to come see me perform, which brings me to my next point.
  • What are other dancers supposed to be to each other? There's a lot of pressure on (belly dancers in particular) to be "dance sisters" (another confusing term). If you're trying to make it as a professional, then these people are your colleagues, but they're also your competition. So there's a mixed message in there that tells dancers that they need to be the very best, the next [insert belly dance superstar here] but at the same time to respect the sanctity of the dance? That's an impossible standard. I think I'm going to have settle somewhere in between, making ethical calls as they arise and being as nice as possible to people.
  • Am I coasting? I ask myself a lot if I'm working as hard at this as I could be. I think I spend a minimum three hours a day on dancing-- marketing or administrating the studio, choreography, costuming, networking, doing lesson outlines, organizing or helping out with events. I just wish I could take thirty seconds, hell fifteen seconds, for every minute I spend on something else dance related and drill. I feel immense guilt all the time for not driving myself as hard as possible. This is probably related to body issues, which an issue I have conspicuously avoided altogether in my paper journal. Very telling.
Wow, it's hard to believe my next "away" workshop is only sixteen days from now. I'm getting pretty nervous.

The studio is opening right after I get back, which definitely adds to my abject fear. I'm afraid no one will register, I'm afraid they'll hate it if they do, and I'm afraid it's just not going to start. Once we start having classes, I think it will be more real, and I'll be less paralyzed by fear. I'm teaching the choreography class for the summer and a couple of slots of the drilling class, as well as a more general fitness class. Hopefully demand will be great enough that I'll be able to stick in a beginners belly dance slot for the fall as well. People are reacting really well to the idea of the space, now let's see if they follow through on registration.

On the 20th, the artists are coming with their work and it'll be a big old hang-up-the-artwork-athon. I think that's going to be one of the things that makes it look more like a real place that people pay money to dance in. Everyone who has passed through the door has been amazed at what a beautiful space it is, and I know we can live up to it, so we just need to make it work for the first few months, and I think all will be well :D


  1. Hi Sarah,

    I really enjoy reading through your articles- and I like how structured and clear your blogs are. I was wondering if you may be interested in writing for We pay $10/article that you write. Some ideas... you could tell us about the difficulties in teaching classes and ... maybe start providing tips and tricks to teaching. Just an idea. Let me know if you're interested and we can discuss the details.

    diva at
    (Sorry, i didn't see a 'contact' section, so I commented).


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