Following Through

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 I think this week’s blog topic “Following Through” is about a subject that we can all relate to. When I had my studio I realized that it wasn’t always easy getting the girls to come in each week especially if they had things they wanted to do instead. Since dance is a form of exercise and to some a hobby I think it’s important to go through your student base and see who your serious dancers are versus those who are just taking belly dance for fun.

There is nothing wrong with dancing for fun but as a teacher we have to know what classes are for which type of students. I ended up changing my class courses for the week based on who was coming in. In the end I had a stronger class with my serious dancers and my fun students enjoyed a different type of belly dance aerobics class that I created just for them. I found that I looked forward to each group more because I was able to separate student needs and desires.

I had a few students who would pay for each month in advance and then miss two weeks worth of class complaining to me they were behind. I ended up telling them they needed to go because they couldn’t see that they created their own dilemma. Sometimes students want to live out the fantasy without actually doing the work. I had a few students who would come dressed up ready to dance in harem pants, coined bras with bangles and beads galore. They were the students that would end up talking through out class to the point I finally had to ask them to either be quiet or leave. They eventually left because I made them work and even gave them homework. The homework also helped me see who the serious dancers were because if a student didn’t follow through with her homework then she couldn’t participate in class; it was as simple as that.

As a teacher it’s important to create opportunities for your students and to help them understand that with goals come responsibilities. For example, I was invited to dance at a Tavern in the Mountains of Madrid NM, and I had my students perform instead. Each student choreographed and prepared their own show but I noticed a few were lagging behind. A week before the show those who were lagging behind told me they hadn’t found the right music and they didn’t know what costume to wear. So guess what……..they didn’t dance. I told them they could be audience support for the students who were “prepared” and ready to dance. They weren’t upset….well too much because they understood that performing is an honor and to think of it as anything less then that discredits the dance form.

You can’t teach students without being an example so when new students came into my studio I would have them come to the restaurant I was dancing at called “Pars Cuisine” to watch me perform. If a student doesn’t like the way their teacher dances then they won’t be able to learn from her. This way they could see me in the environment I loved doing what is my passion. Most students get to a point to where they want to dance and perform in the same venues of their teachers but I always tell my students if they follow through with their training the rewards are endless with performing being the encore!

Adding to this I must confess that there are some things as teachers and business women that we must follow through with that sometimes we can let slack. One is to answer people back as best you can. I don’t care how “busy” any of us can get there is always time to answer people back. I know emails can get lost in the cyber black hole but I think it’s just common courtesy to follow through with business and student emails. If anyone wants to be considered a professional business woman they have to follow through with business protocol.

I had an experience within the last couple months of a publisher not answering my emails until I wrote her regarding canceling my subscription then I finally received an email. The last thing any of us need to deal with in business is the lack of another person’s good business ethics. Women have to understand they can’t bring into their business those useless idiosyncrasies that can effect their business in a negative way.

Even though this is our passion, we have to look at it as a business. Unfortunately just recently I missed out on being invited to a photography show that I was apart of because I didn’t check up on one of my emails. (I have around 8 websites so this does happen.) A friend of mine who is a photographer, Michael L. Miller took photos of women of different ages and called his themed show, “Women of a Certain Age.” He emailed me for the date and time of the show but I didn’t check the email and did an unintentional no-show. So word to the wise, if you are inviting people to participate in a show of any kind, don’t just email them, phone them as well. Follow through with all kinds of communication and check your email or as in my case emails daily.

I can give Daniel a hundred different reasons why I don’t feel like doing something but all that does is postpone it for another day. Our business depends on me following through with what I say I will do. Become the business person of your dreams by following through with what you say you will do and by giving your students/dancers the service they deserve.

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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"

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