Picking a Dance Conference
So you want to go to everything! We understand. We do to, have in some cases, and returned again and again. But let’s face it…to attend everything you need time and resources to cover the expense of classes and much more. So how can you attend it all if you’re a student or maybe you’re on a budget? Let us explore with our raqs archivist who managed to attend at least 5 conferences a year from 2005 to 2012 consecutively.
My top tips for navigating the raqs world is to:
- Do your research. Be sure to join forums and hear the conversations around the conference. Find out what the focus is and who is going. If you’re into tribal American style, attending an Egyptian Sha’abi dance conference will be helpful but it’s not going to feature the specifics of American Tribal Style. Find out if you can attend the show and a lecture vs. the entire conference. From those two things you’ll get the information and presentation you need to see if you’re ready to invest in that genre further.
- Decide on your style. If you’re looking to become a career raqs sharqi dancer, it’s good to get rooted in at least one style or genre of the art and master it. Look for conferences that feature at least one artist in that genre and get to know them well. Get a photo together, exchange contact information and participate/engage with them on social media so that you can really represent the genre well and have an association with a professional that can vouch for you if you decide to go pro.
- Don’t forsake your city. If you live in a medium sized town there’s bound to be at least one or two dance communities there. They will likely travel to a conference and or pool resources to bring in a dancer in for a workshop. Even if their style is just not for you (say, you’re into urban raqs mixed with beats and Balkan Beat Box’ music is more your style than the BDSS classics of 2005 that your local dance comm is promoting) still attend and be a part of the community. Be as supportive of each other as possible or you risk the art fizzling away and thus making it more expensive to consume. Let them know you are willing to teach classes at their studio and or host a class where your urban style can be explored.
- Pick One Per Year. Some people like to attend a different conference every year. I say attend the same one plus another that is different. You don’t have to attend the whole conference but parts of it that are important to you. It helps you save money, provides community support, helps you stay aware of trends and you can make unexpected connections.
For more information and questions answered about what it is like to attend a number of conferences worldwide, send us an email via MissBellydance.com. Our team is more than happy to help assist with questions.