Ethnic Dance Expressions
School of Belly Dance
Gainesville, Florida
with Sallamah Chimera

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How Does Ethnic Dance Expressions Select Dancers?

We offer three kinds of performing experiences: our annual hafla which is open to all our students, their guests and other dancers in the community who would like to dance informally; our dance company for staged performances like community or charity shows; and for private parties or belly grams. Since Ethnic Dance Expressions is a school, naturally our dancers are our students because they are learning how to dance in public. We select students to dance based on some simple and practical merits.

  1. The most important is attendance and punctuality. If a student has high absenteeism or is always late to class, the student will also miss or be late to rehearsals and shows.
  2. We are looking for students who know several of the school's choreographies well enough to perform them. We have several intro and finale dances that everyone who performs is required to learn. Students who have dedicated time and energy into learning the technique and the dances are students with potential and technical competence.
  3. We look for commitment, reliability, dedication and enthusiasm.
  4. We look for students who respect the art of belly dance, who want to present the best possible image of the dance, and have enough self-respect and sense of aesthetics to know good dancing and choreography and appreciate the chance to be part of it. Our other criteria include:

    Our Other Criteria Include:

Why Do We Make an Issue of Pre-Show Guidelines?

Over the last 36 years I have been inundated by students' requests to make exceptions for them to perform and with their inability to commit or keep a firm commitment. Arranging a show is stressful under the best of conditions, but exceptions can become a major problem when there are 8 to 13 or more people dancing. We cannot accommodate everyone and maintain a fair and equitable dancing field. If you are serious about dancing, you will not find the following requirements unfair. We have asked our EDE Dance Company members to contribute ideas concerning performance guidelines.

Advance Notice:

Dancers are given as much advance notice of shows as possible to help them plan around their personal schedules. This advance notice (anywhere from several days, weeks or months) gives them time to determine if they will be available for the show date and any practices required. Rehearsal dates usually follow closer to show time after we have decided on convenient dates for all parties involved. This notification is done via e-mail so be sure your e-mail address is up-to-date and that you actually read your e-mail frequently.

Make Timely Acceptances:

We need dancers to make their decision to perform very quickly and not drag out the acceptance for a month or more. Once you commit to dancing at any show, any other plans that come up will have to take second place. Let your family and friends know that you will NOT be available for their last minute parties and to arrange their calendars around your show. After all, if they really are friends and family, they should be willing to attend or at least support your interests. No Exceptions will be made! We are counting on you. We do get spur of the moment shows which are handled by dancers who will be free on that date. To dance in these last minute shows, you have to confirm within a few hours of notification.

Weekly Classes:

Weekly classes are mandatory for all students and dancers who want to perform. A dancer cannot remain technically proficient without studying each week. We require students to be in attendance for an entire month (4 classes) in advance of a major show that has had several weeks or months advance notice and they must attend the last class before all shows--NO EXCEPTIONS! WHY? Because we cover a lot of important issues during the last class and during the last few weeks before the show. Plus, dancers need time to work out their timing and spatial awareness as a group. Performing is team effort. We will allow one absence during this time if it is a legitimate emergency or illness.

Attendance Record:

We would like our students who are serious about dancing to attend 80% of all regularly scheduled classes and practices and perform in 70% of all our shows. We would like 100% participation if possible.

Practices & Dress Rehearsals:

Dancers must be present and on time to all classes and practices. Practice/Rehearsals are mandatory for staging dances, getting show line-ups prepared, and getting dancers familiar with their position in the dance, exits, and entrances, etc. Many times the rehearsal is the only opportunity various classes and the soloists have to work together to make a cohesive show. Dress rehearsals provide the time for dancers to perform in their costumes and for last minute costume alterations or substitutions.

Taking Classes Outside of EDE:

If you take classes at another studio, you are still required to be at all our classes and rehearsals. If you can make the effort to be at the other studio's rehearsals, then you can make the same effort and dedication to be at Ethnic Dance Expressions' rehearsals. Again, NO EXCEPTIONS! If you can't commit to the dances we are performing, you really don't want to dance in the show with us.

Dancing On Your Own Tme:

If you are dancing at other events or with other dance troupes on your own time there are several aspects to performing you need to adhere to. If you use Sallamah Chimera's choreographies for your performance, you must give credit to her. Not only did she spend time researching and learning about the dance movements, ethnic motivations, and music, she spent time creating the dance and then teaching you how to perform it. Give credit where credit is deserved. Also, how you act and where you select to dance reflect back on Ethnic Dance Expressions and what you have been taught.


See the Dancer Contract Form...

See Photo & Video Release Form...

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