What’s it like to be a member of a belly dance troupe? Part 1

By Electra I didn't know what to expect when I attended the first organizational meeting of the Beledi Dance Company - New England's premier belly dance troupe under the artistic direction of Kanina Hague. Part of me was so honored to be among what I thought to be the most elite dancers out of Kanina's students, and part of me was so scared of the unknown. Looking around at some of the dancers, I expected the camaraderie to turn clique-y and didn't know if I would fit in - or

What’s it like to be a member of a belly dance troupe? Part 3

By Electra 7. You will work hard. Showing up to practice is but one aspect of participating in a dance company like ours. You will find yourself practicing at home, listening to music in the car, and shimmying when no one's looking (lest you look like you have to go to the bathroom!). You will find yourself wearing more makeup at performances than you can ever imagine - and getting good at applying it. Or sewing things for your costumes, even if you detest sewing or are not

What’s it like to be a member of a belly dance troupe? Part 2

By Electra 3. You will grow thick skin. Our goal is to perform at our very best, so we spend time watching each other and working on our technique and "calling out" any details that need improvement. Any constructive feedback is provided either by Kanina, Inara or your fellow dancers as needed. We all agree being specific about what to change or fix is key, and are open to this method of improving ourselves as individuals and as a Company. 4. You will have fun. The cultur

Choreography challenged? No worries!

By Electra Not everyone learns at the same pace. Some have the gift of picking up dance moves on the spot, and others have to work harder at remembering how to string together parts of a dance. Some dancers can read written notes outlining a choreography by "beat" or "counts," and others think it's like reading garbledeegook! Videos help, and so does a lot of practice time to create 'muscle memory.' Your fellow dancers are willing to get together outside of scheduled rehearsa

What are the group dynamics of the Beledi Dance Company?

By Electra Is it like being on a sports team of a member of a group? Yes, it's similar. There are team and group dynamics in the Beledi Dance Company just like any sports team, theatre group or work team. Most of the time, we are working to be synchronized together for dance performance excellence. If a tall dancer kicks too high because her legs are long, she cuts back a bit so the shorter-legged dancer can kick with her normal height. We often make adjustments like that in

Do I have the right “look” or body for the dance company?

By Electra Our dancers in the Beledi Dance Company have many body types and height variations. We also very in age, physical ability and physique. Each dancer is selected for their skill and their visual "look" in order to be pleasing to an audience, however having six-pack abs and low body fat is NOT a pre-requisite. I expected that the dance company would tell me to lose 20 pounds, or help me to get in shape, like as if Kanina was my talent agent or something! This is not t

How many performances does the dance company schedule?

By Electra We originally joined the Beledi Dance Company with the goal of performing 3-4 times per year. One year, we had like 12 gigs! It's all what you decide to do as a team, as a group or even as an individual. Sometimes, event planners want the entire dance company to perform a longer show. Others who hire us are fine with just a smaller group dancing to a few songs with no costume changes. Each year, the BDC troupe members will get together and decide upon the schedule

What if I can’t make it to rehearsal for the dance company?

By Electra Life happens, we all get that. For me, it's mostly work that happens which interferes with my ability to attend both practice and dance class. The key is to not make it a continued habit, and to keep in communication with your dance company team. Knowing you will miss rehearsal means it's up to you to find out what you missed, and to make sure you are prepared for the next rehearsal. It's true that when you are not there, you are missed - particularly when working

Will I make a lot of money performing in the dance company?

By Electra Heck, yeah! Quit your day job now!! JK. We're not in it for the money, and some of our gigs are unpaid so we can get the experience or exposure for the Beledi Dance Company, or to give back to a worthy cause. I've personally seen BDC members make good money dancing at non-BDC gigs on their own, using their connections made to either get the gig or hone their performance resume further. As a BDC member, you instantly become a semi-professional and part of our loca