I’m not usually one for New Years Resolutions, but I do like to set myself aims and now seems like a good time to re-set.
My last set of aims was written when I moved to the USA:
- Make friends
- Set up three good belly dance classes and find students to fill them
- Find performance opportunities, attend events, encourage my students to attend events.
I think these are going to be my new aims :
- Promote “Teaching Belly Dance”
- Increase general fitness
- Dance only where improvisation is appreciated
- Write new material for my advanced classes
- Increase promotion to find new beginner students
- I am working on the first one. Promoting yourself and your work is hard, and I need to learn to take a step back and see the value in the book for others. Its a mighty fine book, and many people are going to learn from it. If I can promote it to enough people I may even improve the general teaching of belly dance, which may improve many peoples dancing. I may help good teachers become better, to make more money or to open more classes. I may convince dancers to move into teaching. I may convince teachers to continue to study. I am not just promoting me and my book, I am promoting belly dance. gulp.
- I have to increase my fitness this year. As you may know I fell and sprained my ankle this summer. I was horrified when the Dr said it might take six months to get better, but here I am six months later and it is still painful every day. I have rested it and learnt how to teach without putting it under too much pressure, but I’m paying the price. For the new year I have combined two of my classes into one night, leaving me more time to get back to the gym, run with my dogs and increase my personal practice time. I don’t care what the scales say, I just want to be able to dance for 20 minutes without “glow”.
- Its time to say “NO” to trying to write myself choreography. I don’t like it. I am not good at confining myself. Instead I would like the freedom to learn some new music really, really well and to drill combinations, turns and movements to increase my vocabulary. And then dance soft, slow, soulful rotations when the mood take me.
- Over the last 14 years I have written dozens of semester plans for my advanced students. I have studied topics, attended workshops, read books, spoken to specialists, all to prepare interesting and informative lessons for students. In the last two years I have got a little lazy – I have re-used research to present material to new students. The advanced group I’m working with now deserve better than that. They are amazing dancers and I’m looking forward to learning new stuff and pushing them.
- And the final one may be the hardest ! How to find new students? My best source of new students in the UK was old students Someone came to class, loved it, and told all her friends. I never realized til I moved here just how grateful I should have been to have started out by taking over my teachers established class. I had it all – 25 lovely dancers who also sold my classes to their friends for me ! It feels like the whole belly dance world needs a shot of new beginners. We need a Britney or Shakira moment, maybe a belly dancer needs to win America’s got talent, or one of the belly dance moves needs to be a hit. But I don’t think I can make that happen. Instead I need to spend every day thinking of new places to leave a flyer, to perform to promote, to advertise and to sell the idea that belly dance is the best thing you can spend your time doing. Good job I know that to be true.