I once talked to a dancer who lived in a city of more than 1,000,000 people and she was complaining about how there were too many teachers in town and not enough students. I asked her how many teachers she thought there were and she said at least six and a new one just moved into town!
What a drama trauma she was undergoing worrying about a 7th teacher in a city of a million people.
I live in a town with less than 5,000 residents. We have three whole stoplights! I’ve had a belly dance studio here for years. I don’t make my entire living teaching belly dance, but I have made a ton of friends and I’m known throughout the town. I could have more students if I wanted, but I’m happy teaching just a few classes and directing my troupe.
My studio is actually three miles out of town in a rural area, and my students come from as far as 40 miles away.
For a few years, I was the only belly dance teacher in the area. Then a couple of other dancers started classes and a couple of my students started teaching and at one time there were seven teachers holding classes. That’s right, seven teachers.
Another studio opened in the nearby town of 25,000 people, and people talked about my ‘competition.’
Was I dramatized? Of course not.
I don’t believe in competition. I believe that the more classes in the area, the more dancers we have and the more exposure and education our community receives about belly dancing. More dancers and more community acceptance, the more dance opportunities we have and the more fun there is to be had.
The other studio closed after a couple of years, many of the teachers stopped teaching and for awhile I was the only one teaching again.
When I moved to this community, twenty years ago, people equated belly dancers with strippers and the local dancers were dancing in bars. I haven’t heard a stripper remark in several years and we are widely accepted in the community. I recently gave a talk in a healing group about the healing benefits of belly dance and from there received an invitation to give a talk about belly dance in a local church.
We have come a very long way towards acceptance in our community and I couldn’t have done it alone!
Now there are three of us teaching in our large, rural county and we are all having fun. We have a wonderful belly dance community and lots of dancing opportunities.
So, those of you who live in big cities? Don’t worry about competition; just get out there and get busy teaching. Make your own opportunities. Don’t let anything stop you!