How to know and develop your dance identity

By Ishtar Dance on Thursday, February, 1st, 2024 in Dance Coaching, Dance Entrepreneur, Dance Inspiration, Learning, Uncategorised, Your Dance Body No Comments

Dancing can become very addictive and an essential part of your identity, but not every dancer is the same. Read on to find out which dance identity is yours, and how you can use that knowledge to develop your dancing even further.

To be fair, no one is rarely 100% one or the other. Often we’re a mix of 2-3 identities, and evolve from one into the next. Nevertheless, the following types are stereotypes of different dance identities, which I have encountered in the nearly three decades that I have been performing and teaching dance. Do you see yourself in any of these? I have included some dance development tips for each identity to help you take your dancing to the next level, as well as grow your enjoyment for dance even more. And yes, this is meant as a bit of fun too, so please take the following typecasts with a pinch of salt…

The occasional dancer

You love the idea of dancing but can’t commit yourself to weekly classes. You dive in and out of courses, but struggle to develop your technique, because life often gets in the way and you therefore can’t learn consistently. But you still love dancing, the music, the atmosphere – everything! If only you could do it more often…

Dance development tip: You have to commit yourself to regular classes in order to develop your dancing, so go on and book that next course. Once it’s in the diary and pre-paid, you’re more likely to get out the door, and you will feel so much better afterwards having given both your body and your brain a workout. In fact, it’s so good for you, that it will leave you energised and much more focussed on all the bits you need to do!

The recreational dancer

Attending dance class once a week is your dose of workout combined with a catch up with friends. You really enjoy your class mates company, and you will sometimes meet for drinks or dinner before or after class. Your technique has become quite good over the years, because you’re so consistent with your learning. You may even have performed one or twice, and you will also happily attend dance events with your class mates. You do enjoy the glitter and sparkle that goes with it, but would never buy more than a hip belt or two, as you know you’ll never wear a full costume.

Dance development tip: Keep up the good work and the routine, but every now and again push yourself that tiny bit more by for example attending workshops or even residential dance courses. Sign up with some of your class mates and you’re likely to have an excellent time, whilst also developing your technique and self-confidence. An additional bonus is that you’re likely to make even more dance friends when out and about together.

The glamour pus

You were born to dance and throw yourself into the deep end right from the start. You love the sequins, make up, and everything else that goes with it, so you’ve probably bought your first costume before you started attending regular classes. You will perform at any given opportunity, and love the buzz and the feeling you get from dancing and also performing. You may try out different teachers, styles and also attend workshops, because life’s to short not to! You haven’t mastered all the moves and styles yet….

Dance development tip: Everyone envies your confidence and accessories! Keep feeding your curiosity, but do also try to commit to regular classes with a knowledgeable and experienced teacher that can challenge and tweak your technique. It may seem like a lot of hard work at first, but you will soon realise that mastering good technique will open so many new exciting doors to even more fabulous dance pleasures!

The dance addict/perfectionist

You’ve probably been dancing for a year or two, and all if a sudden you just become addicted to dancing. You will regularly attend several classes a week, fit in as many workshops that you can, and also practise at home to perfect your technique. You often compare yourself to others even though you know that you shouldn’t. But you really want to become even better and you’re totally up for putting in the hours to get there. You may also perform, but will always try to analyse a video of your dancing afterwards.

Dance development tip: Congratulations – you’re turning into a real dancer! Keep up your routine, but try to take it easy every now and again, so you don’t hit ‘the wall’ in dancing terms. You will really benefit from one-2-one’s to help take your dancing to the next level. Make sure you find a teacher that’s experienced and has good technique, and then ask as many questions as you need to, in order to channel the advice and guidance into visible results.

I offer bespoke one-2-one’s both in person and via Zoom, as well as official and certified Technique Reviews, which can help you pin point your strengths and weaknesses, and allow you to work more focussed on developing your dancing in the future. Find out more here.

The performer

Dancing is your medium for stepping into the limelight. You love performing, and have developed a real magpie instinct when it comes to costuming and accessorising. You have danced for many years and although you know that there’s still room for improvement, you’re a pretty competent and not least confident dancer. You may have a 9-5 job, but dancing brings you so much joy that you spend a lot of your spare time attending classes, workshops, dance shows and of course rehearsals for your own performances.

Dance development tip: Keep up the hard work as well as attending all those fun events to shine your light. Many dancers would give their right arm (or leg!) to have your experience and stage presence, but please don’t stop developing and growing. Make sure to absorb all the knowledge you’re gaining from your classes and workshops, and use one-2-one’s with a reputable teacher to keep you inspired and developing. Consider taking the certified Bellydance Now (formerly JWAAD) Dance Development programme and Technique Review to keep you on track. It may seem daunting, but it’s probably the best tailor-made tool developed to help dancers like you become even better! Find out more here.

The semi and full time dance professional

Dancing is no longer an option, it’s as natural to you as breathing. You don’t want to dance, you simply have to. You have put in endless hours to perfect and develop your technique and feel comfortable and at home on any dance floor. You are probably dancing semi or full time now, teaching and performing several times a week, but still dream of getting even better and perhaps even travelling the world with your dancing.

Dance development tip: Congratulations! You’ve realised your dream of making a living (or at least subsidising your income) with dancing, something only a few dare or have the talent and discipline to achieve. But you also know this comes at a cost; any injuries or illness will mean a loss of income. Insurance for dance performers is very expensive, but it may be worth looking into for you. Dancing and teaching safely is now essential both for your technique as well as safety. Keep evolving your dancing and knowledge by attending workshops and one-2-one’s with a fellow professional dancer and teacher. Consider joining the Bellydance Now knowledge courses in Safety, Understanding Music, Heritage and not least the Personal Development programme. They are created by professional dancers and are a great way to keep learning, networking and not least pushing your own skills even further. Find out more here.

I hope you managed to find your own (or several) dance identities and that the dance development tips were useful. Have I left any personality out? Have you got any more tips on how to improve your dancing no matter what level you’re at? Please leave a comment below and let’s keep the knowledge sharing going.

Happy dancing – always and forever…


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