Often, I get students who ask, “So, how long does it take to learn?” This is not a short answer; I could say years, but that does not really mean anything to the student or does it really answer the question. We must remember that belly dancing is an art form and it takes constant practice not only with moves and technique, but along with that comes the history, musical interpretation, and understanding and knowing the different beats, understanding and knowing your own body, being able to choreograph both in the box and out of the box and so much more.
So why is it when we take the art form of Belly Dance and try to speed the learning process up, or expect to go from a beginner student
one day to the professional level the next? We do not do this with any other art form particularly in the dance
arena. We know, in order to reach the professional level in Ballet, for instance, we must work very hard and for many
years to only maybe achieving it. It could be the fact, that Belly Dance is more main-stream, we see it in videos on YouTube and even in aerobic classes, where it is called Belly Dance even though it is not. Is it, due to the fact that we are so used to getting everything right
then and now because of our fast paced life style, we do not want to wait? We see Shakira Belly Dancing in her videos,but what most do not know is that she spent many years on training in the dance form. Does it come from teachers, who teach the students, promising them and giving them false hope? There are a lot of great teachers out there, but, students need to be careful, think about it this way; if it sounds too good to be true; then it probably is. Belly Dancing in a box can create all kinds of havoc for not just all
the other students out there, but to the teachers as well, who are working hard on creating the best curriculum for their students.
Believe it or not, there are teachers out there who promise students that they can become a professional belly dancer in 30 days or
less. I cannot even grasp this concept,coming from the perspective of not only a student, but a teacher as well…even
if the program has 3 hours of instruction, 7 days a week for 4 weeks that is only 84 hours of dance instruction! Adding to that hours in teaching history, music theory and so forth 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 weeks, comes to 196 hours, both totaling 280
On an average most dancers become professional after 10 years of experience. So let’s say you have a dancer who practices two hours a day at 6 days a week equals to 12 hours a week. There are 52 weeks in a year, which comes out to 624 x 10= 6240 hours of just practice alone. A dancer will spend on an average about 8 hours a week on music theory, history and so forth which equals to about 416 x 10 = 4160 hours. The two together equals out to 8320 hours. A dancer will also spend time on choreography and preparing for performance and shows which is above and beyond the two hours of practice, 6 days a week. Let’s say a dancer spends 5 hours a week on choreography and performance. This equals out to 260 x 10= 2600 hours. This brings the total up to 10920 hours at the minimum or on average.
That is a difference of 10640 hours! Plus, the experience the dancer has gained and what they have learned going through the process.
I remember as a beginner student, I was so anxious to learn so much and I wanted to know and learn it all quickly, but I realized very
early in the stage, that it was impossible to do and for me, it was going to be through a lot of hard work, time and dedication to reach the point I am at today. Just remember, to always stay true to yourself and stay focused on the end result and enjoy your journey!