Teaching, Dancing, and Entrepreneurship!
Some say I am a creative entrepreneur, others call it a lifestyle entrepreneur. I consider myself a possibilitarian. No matter, I have worked for myself in many forms for the past 30 + years—managing myself in my younger San Francisco days as a photographer, as a musician in rock bands, a masseuse; to the Portland nights of directing an award winning dance troupe (Gypsy Caravan Dance Company), running a dance studio and the Tribal Quest festival, developing a Tribal Bellydance Certification program, touring the world as a teacher and performer, and author of Tribal Vision: A Celebration of Life Through Tribal Belly Dance. Whew…I could add crazy obsessive stuff to that list—tarot reader, goat farmer, a vegetarian wine bar owner, and a guitar strumming glamper on the side—because love to experience what the world has to offer, and what I have to offer back.
I have several degrees—Associate’s in Business and Promotion, Bachelor’s in Photography, Master’s in Writing and Publishing, with several other outrageous credentials thrown in. All of those passions and papers have come in incredibly useful.
The point is, besides all the business stuff, I had to and wanted to, and still do want, to be an artist—a creative soul, to give, to share, to be of service, to spread the love. No one else could do it for me.
What can I tell you about running a dance business? I will ask you, “What do you REALLY want to do? Dance, teach, perform? And why? For yourself? For others? What does it do for you? How does it make you feel?”
I am the first to say, cliché as it may be, follow your gut and your dreams. Be your own artist, create something unique and individual, learn how to be that creative soul, to reach into your core and follow your spark. Be vibrant.
It takes trust. Take time to journal about it, research, study, answer your questions, make picture boards, write your goals, you still need to listen to your heart. Then dive in with gusto when you find what you really want.
It is easy to get caught up in the moment, in the desires of those around you. Are you a leader or a follower? We need followers, just as much as we need leaders—we all complete the circle. You can define your role, your strengths and weaknesses, your deepest and truest desires. If a follower you are, then honor it, take pride in it and step it up. Be a dreamer, and follow your course.
Are you a leader? To run a dance business, an to be a maker, a dancer, you have to have a fire, to learn how, to keep it going, to be authentic and real. Mostly, and simply, it has to make you happy. Yes, happy, down to your toes.
Profitable is a good thing too if you need to make a living from it. You don’t really want to continue if it doesn’t make you happy, pay the bills, feel fulfilled, well nourished, and creative. Do you?
I have run through the entire processes of being super fiery to intense burnout, rich with rewards, then monetarily busted. I have been incredibly lonely, astoundingly loved, heart broken, mistake-ridden, and creatively on top of the world. I have found happiness, and also lost it.
With age and practice, and out of desperation and need, I have come to a place of major self-care, meditation, and re-passioned, learning even more about my own desires, and finally, what I can do to be of service. It is not all about me. It is about what I have to offer, to share, to give. This is rich happiness.
You must want it to run with it all, to weather all the storms, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To honor the time to listen to your heart and soul, as well as acknowledge those around you, who are there to support you, or in some cases, maybe not.
Because to continue to create and run your own business takes personal guts, the ability and the need to do it on your own, to be able to learn how, then have the time to commit, with the sincerest passion to follow only your own footsteps and be the best you can be. You and your dreams are worth it.
There are now so many ways to get guidance, perhaps, from a guru of sorts, someone who will guide you how to be your own artist. In my early creatively formative years, I did not have Internet access, the ability to acquire so much great wisdom that is accessible today. I happily forged my own path with gusto.
I love where my adventures have taken me, the roads I have traveled, the brilliant people I have met. I am still rewarded daily from so many of you. I am incredibly proud of my work, and still humbled by the gates it has opened. But even more so, I am awed by the dancers and artists who have studied with me, stayed with me, or moved on, and the paths they have forged. There is nothing short of a mother’s pride that lies there. That continues to feed my soul and heart. That so rocks my world.
And that is why I continue to do what I do, through the changes, the highs and lows, the gains and losses.
I encourage you to be true, to dance from your heart, to feel the beauty of your art, find out what you have to give. You make our world exciting and glittery and full of wonder, and a better place to live in.
Tell me what you do…send me a message or answer on facebook… and thanks for being here…
Paulette Rees-Denis, the innovator of Tribal Style Bellydance, is an internationally acclaimed teacher and performer, with Gypsy Caravan Dance Company. She gives private coaching sessions and classes; blogs about dance, art, and life; loves wine, glamping, and guitar strumming; and follows her heart around the world.
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