Monday, January 28, 2013

Survey Results, Part 4

Here's the results installment you've all been waiting for... open-ended commentary!  I have edited some of the responses to ensure anonymity and for spelling, etc.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the survey and shared your thoughts and feelings about the raqs community!
  • Our area is small but there are several factions of belly dancers.  I wish we could all get together for at least one event.
  • Scheduling dancers at restaurants black balling other better dancers.  I see a lot of that.  Teachers not teaching performance etiquette (i.e., not wearing cover-ups)
  • Gigs are declining due to the economy. The economy in general is not good and that in turn prohibits me from attending most shows/workshops for financial reasons. There are very few consistent, regular classes at a level suitable for the professional or advanced dancer.
  • More haflas and less politics please
  • I really have no complaints...I'm a newbie and just soaking it all in...
  • There is a huge number of beginners teaching.  Not ready for prime time.
  • I've found my local dance scene to be really fragmented, which is odd because we are such a small state. I wish we had a stronger network going, and I'm trying to help develop one by taking my students to other groups' events and trying to get to know other instructors.
  • The community needs to work collaboratively and be more welcoming.
  • Too many cliques as usual, like every community.  There is so much credit given to dancers who have been dancing a long time but the former newbies who are no longer newbies but have put in their time, practice, money, etc. also deserve the proper respect.  But that seems to be the norm year after year after year.
  • I love when a teacher has handouts that cover the topics being taught that day.  I have been seeing this more but not enough.
  • There is an excess of DivaTudes locally and a mentality that there "can be only one top dog."  It would be refreshing to see a change in this mentality and an acceptance that different viewpoints matter and have value, and an appreciation that different troupes excel in different performances and styles.
  • My Christmas wish is for the dancers in this community to come together in the spirit of promoting the art form. The self promotion and the "mean-girl" exclusionary tactics should be left in the halls of whatever high school you graduated from.
  • As I'm originally from the NVA/DC area, I go to workshops & events there whenever I can.  (Which usually means once or twice a year, as I'm visually impaired and finding transport there can be difficult.)  However the people and venues available there are GREAT.  On the other hand, my current area has noooooothing.  Literally, no classes, no workshops, no events, no performances, nooooothing.  Not even the dance studios in the area which feature other forms offer bellydance, nor do any of the fitness centers that I could find.  This area is wooooefully lacking in belly-culture, so I miss taking classes and my belly-sisters in the NRV & NVA/DC/MD -dearly.-  Lastly, I'm a girl on a MAJOR budget (like, choosing which bills I can pay each month budget), so anything to make the dance more affordable (and more local) is a HUGE plus. :)
  • Thanks for offering this survey!  Here's to improving our belly-munity! :)"
  • Workshop instructors need to be willing to change up their plans according to the skill level of the crowd.  I've seen way too many people shove a choreography that's way too advanced at a crowd
  • My community is new and growing, I am excited to see the results of the survey so I can help improve my own area.
  • Wish dance would focus more on the art and less on "hot"" ... If I wanted an aerobic class, I would go to the gym.
  • I want to see more men and women of color teaching workshops and performing in major shows.
  • Instructors need to discuss the history.
  • I recently started attending workshops in Charlotte, NC and I keep going back because they are so well organized, the organizer is extremely personable, and the dancers are wonderfully welcoming.
  • I live in an area where there is tons of belly dance stuff every weekend.  Sometimes it's a matter of choosing between multiple events. There is a lot of work for professionals and there are a lot of hafla opportunities for students. There are tons of workshops.
  • Although we are improving our ability to balance events there are still companies/producers that have more events scheduled in comparison to the rest of the community.  If we knew that each studio/director/producer/etc. would have a minimum of 3-4 events a year versus 6 that would allow room for other events whether planned far in advance or offered in a short period of time.  It would allow people to participate in events that are the best bang for their buck. 
  • For our restaurant/party dancers, I think an agreement should be made amongst the entire community to agree to certain (lets call them) terms and conditions so that the treatment of all dancers is consistent.  This would help prevent undercutting because the rule would be (for example) no restaurant dancing for less than....$$.This would make owners/managers pay for quality versus who is the lowest and available. It would prevent them from taking advantage.  I think it would also protect the dancers and the quality of their work. There is some mess going on in our local restaurants and parties that is unacceptable across the board.
  • NO more BS!  To say we are students, teachers, etc but we allow incredible artists to come to Atlanta and we don't support because we don't like such and such is crap if you care about dance.  Point blank.  We either put up or shut up as a community.  There is never an excuse to allow talent to not bless your mind and body.
  • An international trip. We have enough experienced teacher and travelers that I think we can come up with a great price for an international trip.  That way we get to have a shared experience, get some ""realness"" and have fun. 
  • The manner in which the community use social media  to attack others, lack of professional courtesy, sense of entitlement, lack of originality and creativity yet we have so many events but we continue to fall behind in excellence produced in many other states.
  • Community  there is very little feeling of community in our area with other studios & dancers outside our studio, which is disappointing.  It has improved over the last year though.
  • I feel very lucky to live where I do. My own level of commitment is minimal at the moment (I am an eternal "beginner" just dancing strictly for me) but my area offers something for everyone.
  • I'm in South Africa. Our community is growing but our money is worth much less than dollars or pounds which means that only the lucky few who an afford to travel locally and abroad can really grow their dance.
  • Personally, I would like to see more positive promotion for events and more local support for both teachers and performers. There is a more tangible thread of negativity this year than I've experienced in the past. This negativity is often passive-aggressive in the sense that it describes a "safe" place to dance or perhaps a more "authentic" show.  Is this to imply that other events are unsafe or not authentic?  In a perfect world, we would support each other, celebrate seasoned dancers, encourage new dancers, collaborate with others in the dance community, and shine a brighter light on our art form.
  • More live music shows in Atlanta please :)
  • I am grateful for the Yalla Y'all calendar that keeps me in the loop ;) (thanks!)
  • As much as I love Nicola's, I don't want to eat there 3 Sundays in a row. Please think about this when you're planning shows. Also, I understand that there are only so many weeks in a year, but we can probably eliminate some of the double up if teachers didn't have shows once a quarter.
  • My biggest complaint is that the Atlanta dancers are more than happy to have the South GA dancers drive and stay in Atlanta but are rarely ever willing to drive the same distance South for events.
  • I have no interest in fighting/ taking sides/who's mad at who. We need to work together, Together we achieve more as a community. The only reason I do not get to events is life situations, money, job and health.
  • Honestly, I think that the amount of events has grown in the last year and that is good, what is bad however is the fact that these producers are unwilling to contact one another and actually either co-mingle the events or not step on others' toes.  They make it hard to want to do more for the community when most of us just want to make things better for the whole.  Start working on making events more accessible to everyone not just one group or another.  They need to work on building a better area and stop just trying to make big bucks for themselves.
  • I think the community has done a pretty good job considering the economy.
  • I think an invaluable tool for the community would be a ride share forum. I'm not able to attend classes on a weekly basis so I don't have many dance friends. I also don't drive so when I'm able to make it to a workshop, I take MARTA. For Suhaila in January, I'll be taking 2 trains and 2 buses to get in town from Memorial Drive. If I knew anyone who was going, it would make the weekend much more enjoyable. I'm sure I'm not the only dancer with this problem.
  • Locations of events and classes are too far on the north side of Atlanta.
  • It is very difficult to get things organized in my area
  • I know this is difficult to coordinate, but some times of year get extraordinarily packed out with shows, while other times are relatively light. I love the dance and supporting my sisters in dance, but it is difficult to do so when there are three weekends in a row of community events that all cost a not inconsequential amount.

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