Posted on 16/06/2022 by Kay Taylor
Why Safety Matters
Bellydance safety basics for students, teachers and professional dancers
Whether you’re a teacher, performer or student of Bellydance – the question of safety in and around dancing is always an important one, yet so often it gets pushed down the agenda as it may not be the most interesting or sexy part of dance, so here are a few reasons you should care and make this a priority no matter whether you’re a teacher, student or professional performer:
On a basic level, you may not be able to get the insurance that is required by the venue to cover you and your classes. If you are teaching online you may think that you don’t need one all together, but should the worst happen and someone make a claim against you, then an insurance is vital as legal costs can make a detrimental impact on business as well as personal finances.
But what you really want to focus on is teaching safely so you don’t even need to worry about your students injuring themselves. That alone could of course not only knock your confidence but also tarnish your reputation and career. So putting students safety first is vital on many levels.
As a student:
You want to make sure your teacher has a great track record of teaching, safely as well as in a way that actually helps students progress. You have a lot to take in during a class, and you should be able to put your trust and confidence in the teacher, so you can enjoy and concentrate on the dancing itself.
Things to look out for or ask a teacher before joining their class could be:
Are they member of a professional organization or are they teaching in isolation? If so, ask more questions such as: How long have you been teaching?
How many classes do you have?
Are you fully insured?
If you don’t feel confident in asking these questions then have a good luck around their website to see if they have any signs of accreditation (ideally from a third party and not from themselves), whether they have any risk assessments or policies that elaborate on the health and safety aspect of their classes.
Finally, if you have any concerns during a class, then listen to your gut and feel free to ask questions, either in private or via email. If the teacher isn’t forthcoming, then consider your own safety and find an alternative class if needed.
As a professional performer:
If you consider yourself a professional performer then you have possibly already secured your terms of hire in a contract. As a minimum these need to be state very clearly to either the venue or private organizer of the event you attend.
Insurance can be very expensive for a professional dancer but it is always worth looking into all the small print, as a personal insurance isn’t likely to cover you for any paid gigs your may do. If you perform on behalf of a booking agency make sure you understand their terms and conditions and any insurance they may or may not have in place to cover you.
As a minimum you need to be aware of the risks associated with performing. Some may be very obvious, such as turning up as a lone woman on an unknown address in the dark. Others may be less obvious, such as the risk of fines for using unlicensed music or performing with props in unfamiliar venues.
No matter which of these categories you fall into, it’s important to consider your safety before anything else, so you can enjoy and either learn, teach or perform the dance that we love for many years to come.
If you would like to learn more specifically about teaching Bellydance safely, then check out our next Safety to Dance course, which will be delivered online over 4 weekend from the 10th of September. This is a really in-depth course that will not only give you the insight needed into health and safety aspects regarding classes and venues, polices and risk assessments planning but also vital insight into anatomy, how to teach moves safely and plan lessons in such a way to keep students safe as well as engaged.
Because bellydance safety should really be integrated in such a way that it supports your dancing and personal development, no matter what the level.
Happy, beautiful and safe dancing – always
About the author:
Dorte Evelyn is an international dancer, teacher and performer and member of the Bellydance Now team as well as the founder of the Ishtar Dance Academy. She is a mentor on the Bellydance Now International Challenge as well as tutor on the JWAAD Safety to Bellydance Course.