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  1. #1
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    Default Do you feel you missed something in your early learning years

    Looking back at your first classes, do you think your teacher/teachers made you miss out on anything? Maybe something you didn't know at that time, but what you noticed when looking back.

    For myself, I have missed out on some things that I think is a pity. My teachers were very good at teaching technique but never explained anything about the songs they used. My teachers used a lot of Farid el Attrache and other golden era songs but they never told anything about the music. I loved the music and still do. But that is something I really missed. They never explained anything about lyrics. They did teach about how to express yourself, but not according to the lyrics, it was more about how students themselves felt about music. Which is good, but you want something more.

    And it was a shame that my teachers didn't know much about belly dance history and taught the strangest theories, even meanings to movements! I had to find out trough internet that it was all nonsense!
    And imagine these teachers would travel to Turkey and Egypt every year (or more often) for the latest workshops to be up to date. I still wonder why they were teaching such weird theories

    I really think it's important to give students a fair start. But I guess most teachers had students who were just taking classes for fun, so they probably found the extra information not necessary.

    Curious to hear your stories!

  2. #2
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Default RE: Question for the people who have been dancing for a long time

    How long is "a long time"?
    Last edited by Daimona; 03-22-2010 at 11:39 AM.
    --
    Daim.

  3. #3
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    Default

    Very clever question! Maybe what people themselves consider a long time. But at the other hand maybe if you haven't been dancing for a very long time and you still are thinking you missed out on something that could have helped at the beginning, those people would of course be welcome to comment on this as well.
    I tried to change the title, the other one was too vague LOL, but the title change hasn't worked. Maybe one of the mods can make a good title for this one

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    My first teacher didn't explain anything about the music, I actually wonder looking back if she really knew anything. She always used ME music, but I didn't have a clue that you would use certain pieces for different styles, that came later so was quite an eye opener.

    ~Mosaic

    PS: Tell me what you want for the title and I or one of the other forum mods can change it if you like


    Last edited by Mosaic; 03-22-2010 at 12:46 PM.
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  5. #5
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Here's the other side of the issue -- I'm a teacher now, and over the years I've learned an awful lot that I want to share with my students. The problem is, how do you translate 10 years of learning into one hour of class each week? Ya know?

    I try to talk about the singers and famous dancers as much as possible, if only to acquaint people with their names. But there is just only so much time in one session.

    In 10 years, I've learned a lot, but not just from one source, and I certainly had to hear a lot of it over and over again before it sunk in. I don't blame my early teachers for that -- I think it's just part of the learning process.

  6. #6
    Member Prusilusken's Avatar
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    Hmmm...I didn't have my very first teacher for mor than about six months, and I still think of her fondly. She may not have been all that knowledgeable when it came to "real" bellydancing, but she was very serious and very honest with us.
    Correct (healthy) posture, us keeping our movements from getting "mushy" (she was pretty nazi about that, hehe - and I am greatful for that) and looking our best while we did it was her main themes, I think.
    Not at all a bad start.

    However, my first six months or so in bellydancing is still kind of a blur...
    I was is a bad place when I started bellydancing and only got my first sense of direction in life again, when Susanne (my "first first" teacher) told me that I had a knack for it and gave me a serious push in the right direction - as it very much turned out to be... Of course, she herself was very much lacking in knowledge when it came to "actual" oriental dances, but as I know now, that was only partly her fault.
    She ushered me on to her own teacher, whom I usually think of as my first teacher, because this teacher had her own private bellydancing school in the capital and and whom I really think now should have known better...at least she could have given a damn!

    What she taught - and didn't teach - that any bellydance student should be warned against or made aware of, that would make a VERY long list in deed!

    The list very much includes basic knowledge concerning the ME music traditions and OD genres and where to go if we wanted to know more, but the main problem I have with her "teaching style" is the fact that she basically raised us to to believe that "She Knew Best".
    There were no other schools or teachers or good sources of additional knowlede on the subject for the ones of us who even thought to ask, and so few of us even thought to question her motives, when she told us that there was really nothing to be found that she didn't already know and teach us.
    Looking back, it seems like anyone who had the audacity to stray and start forming their own opinions on the matter or questioned her authority (the horror!) was silently frozen out and cut off like a bad limb, never to be heard from again.

    She was a very charismatic person indeed.
    She taught volumes to me and many many other new and defenseless belly dancer n00bs over the years - just not about oriental dances.

    I know how this makes me sound, speaking so badly of another person, so I actually did consider quite a bit before posting, but I've decided that I find it too important not to post a warning for all new BDers.

    The one most important thing that I sorely missed from my "first" teacher was eager encouragement for her querulous students to seek out all kinds of OD related knowledge, an open and honest approach to questions asked, alternative sources found and debates opened by her students as well as her (or his, of course) peers.

  7. #7
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Here's the other side of the issue -- I'm a teacher now, and over the years I've learned an awful lot that I want to share with my students. The problem is, how do you translate 10 years of learning into one hour of class each week? Ya know?
    I think the answer here is little, and often. For some students it will "go over their heads" because maybe that's not the reason they come to class, but there are those for whom those little extra snippets of info can mean a lot, especially if it inspires them to find out more.

    I also think teachers should ask student more "what do you want to know?" I had a tendency not to do this, but then found it pays off when I actually ask the question. It's surprising what students come up with!

    My very first teacher told us very little about the music, my second was a similar story. I came into this dance through the music, so I had to do my own research for info (fortunately I am quite tenacious!)

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    My first teacher had a background in (world) folkdance and flamenco as well as being a research scientist - so we didn't get too much whoo whoo just lots of solid building blocks.

    What I later found was missing was an appreciation of how the body works and an understanding of how students (ie me) could benefit from input by trained sports physios in aspects such as improving flexibility and body alignment. Tapping me with her cane made me aware of alignment issues but she didn't have the background to point me in the direction that would help me fix the problems that could be fixed. The time I found out myself was a little late in my journey.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pleasant dancer View Post
    I also think teachers should ask student more "what do you want to know?" I had a tendency not to do this, but then found it pays off when I actually ask the question. It's surprising what students come up with!
    Good to a point - but as a teacher you know things they need to know that they have no idea they need to know!

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    I'm hesitant to reply to this one, because I have a lot of anger issues left over from my first teacher. I don't want it to be a teacher bashing post, it's just going to come out that way. I don't think she is on here and I wouldn't hesitate to tell her any of these things if she was, so here goes.

    My teacher started classic AmCab dancing in the early 70s . I stayed a student of hers from 1995-2001. There were no other teachers in the area. I thought we were learning real authentic belly dance because she never said there was any other kind than what we were doing (until ATS came along).

    She taught us eight choreographies she had learned from workshops or videos. In class we bounced when we stretched with no warm up, then we ran through those same dances every class. We followed the bouncing butt and if you didn't pick it up, you were SOL. There was no feed back, guidance, or correction, even when you asked for it. We never talked about body mechanics, technique, ethics, costuming, music interpretation, or culture. We were told to do whatever we felt like and add any kind of dance movements we wanted to. We danced to a lot of George Abdo and similar music. Never danced to or heard of Om Kolsoum or any of the Egyptian classics.

    We had one student recital at a nursing home during that time because we, the students, begged for one. Workshops would happen in neighboring towns and she would tell us about them after they were over.

    The first time I knew something was off was when I was in Spokane on a trip and saw Aisha Azar dance at Azar's restaurant around 1997. It looks so different from what I was learning. I knew it was good dancing, but I didn't understand it. I got back home and asked my teacher. She had no answer. Around that same time, I got on line (found Shira's site too!) and started to learn more. I found out about the rest of the belly dance world out there. I started buying videos, books, and going to workshops and private lessons.

    I'm working on learning Egyptian style dance and it feels like I'm starting all over again. In most ways I am.

    I give my original teacher credit for teaching zills, American style veil, and floor-work very well. Despite all my complaints, I did learn to dance and I stayed enthusiastic for years, so it couldn't have been all bad. She is still teaching in my town.

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