You know... I paint, I do embroidery, I know a bit about music and video editing, I'm not too bad doing artsy stuff I even got paid for some of them, I try to know a little bit of everything, and yes... I made a career of dancing with no formal dance education.
Today a saw an interview of Russell Crowe in which he was asked if he uses the Stanislavski Method of acting, to what he replied: "I use the Crowe's method" .Pointing out he never took acting classes.
His response left me thinking about how many artists exists out there with no formal art education, yet they are good in what they do.
..." I guess with time and practice you become more efficient.." He added. I couldn't agree more!
Learning about bellydance in the 90's and earlier years outside of the countries of origin was really hard. Not only because it was uncommon in those years but, the lack of resources and non- existent classes in some communities, created a lot of Self-made dancers who would be as good as the material they could get their hands on. Videos, music, books, visits to embassies etc.
So, I'm not an isolated case of a self taught bellydancer. Nowadays as this art is gaining popularity. Schools, Dance studios and even gyms offers Bellydance classes so what I could achieve in 5 years, it will take only 2 years to the new generations of dancers.
To make from your hobby a career (self taught or not) requires much more than just to be talented.
Here are few tips that has helped me through my career and that I think it can be applicable to almost any other hobby or career.
HAVE PASSION FOR IT... yes! but like a good old love, be with it in good and bad and worst. Passion will ignite the start up of your career but when you find obstacles in your path, you have 2 choices. To quit or to keep pushing forward, so love your process.
ADDITIONAL LEARNING get to know the history, the why, how and when your craft was created and evolve until it reached you in its present form. It is fascinating! It will also show you as an informed and passionate artist.
EXTRA MURAL LEARNING on my 27 years in Bellydance I had to learn so many other stuff I never thought I will need. From music and video editing, costume making, 2 different languages and marketing to create successful shows and events. Courses and video tutorials are not a bad idea to learn about all of those extra activities you might need.
HEALTH is your most important asset, besides your diet, do physical activities that maintain your body supple. If you are in dancing, learn about your body and which complementary activities you can do to be stronger and avoid injuries.
4. DISCIPLINE. I read once "Discipline will take you where motivation cannot"
And it is true, motivation (same as passion) will ignite the spark, but the days were energy is low, you take a break and then continue, or push through until inspiration finds you!
Formal art education is important, not everyone had access to it, but it should not be a stopper for you if you have the passion, talent and discipline to pursue your art.
Thank you for reading me...
South Africa, 10/2023