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  1. #1
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    Default Intermediate student: Help! I'm becoming a diva!

    Hey fellow dancers!

    I have been dancing for about a year now - the last six months I have had a very fast progress because I started to supplement my lessons with DVDs.
    My problem is that I can feel myself starting to think less of the other dancers, and believe that I am much better than them, and I am really afraid that I will get all diva-ish!

    What can I do to prevent the diva-sickness? - I am better than the others in my class, because I practice so much, but I want to stay down-to-earth and humble to the dance (can you say that? - I'm Danish so I have trouble expressing myself in english sometimes).
    I read a lot about the dance (four books and tons of internet pages) - I feel like I know everything - of course I don't, but I can't help getting that feeling, because nobody in my class (including the teacher) knows anything --> here we have the diva-problem again.

    Please give my some advice!

    Love,
    Julie

  2. #2
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    You have to keep in mind that it's all relative.

    Maybe others in your class are taking dance just as a fun thing, or for exercise, or to be social. You have your reasons for dancing, and your level of focus, and they have theirs.

    You can age out of a class, get better than everyone else, but everyone has their own flair. One girl in my class isn't a great dancer but she has fantastic arm placement. And since women come in different shapes and sizes and different ways of moving, what is a blah move for me can be wonderful on someone else.

    And bottom line, the only difference between being good and not being good is hard work. You can be proud of yourself for doing the work, but judging others for not doing it (for whatever reason) is less than worthy of the sisterhood of bellydance.

    The real question is whether you are getting anything from your class anymore. It might be more motivating and a better learning experience to find a class that is a level up.

  3. #3
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    Hmm I'll admit that I have had that feeling before because I've been practicing a lot more than I think others in my group were. However I've gotten over that because everyone in my troupe comes in with a different view and lifestyle. Like Jujube said above, some like it only for the hobbie, some for the social aspect, some (like me) really put a lot of extra time and money into learning more on our own, some do the best they can with the time they can give.

    However when I go to workshops it reminds me that there will always be someone who is better and someone not as experienced as you. I look up to those individuals and instructors who treat me like I was any other dancer, not just because of my level of training/experience. I want to be like them and thinking that way helped me change my attitude when I noticed it starting to stray.

    It is also humbling to be with those who are better then you because in my view it helps put you in your place. Worse thing is to have someone acting like a diva and thinking they are so great in their own mind but they really aren't to other people.

    A year really isn't a lot of time at all for taking bellydance classes no matter how much you supplement with. I've been dancing for almost 3 years taking every class and workshop I could, plus supplementing with DVD's and lots of training on my own. Still there is much for me to learn and improve on.

    What you might need to do is find a new instructor because it seems from your post that you are not able to learn anything new in your view. It is also good because level of instruction varies from instructor to instructor. Your current instructor might be teaching you at what she says is intermediate classes but if you take classes from someone else you might find that the same thing you learned are lumped into their advanced beginner classes. You might find that instructors intermediate classes more of a challenge.

    As well taking classes/private lessons from a different instructor they might be more vocal or picky in your movements. There have been times I though my movements were down but when I took lessons from someone else she pointed out all the problems I didn't think I had. It was very, very helpful and eye opening.

    If worse comes to worse, you will just have to mentally stop yourself from thinking/saying to yourself that you are better than others, that they are not as good as you, etc, etc. This kind of internal thinking will keep going if you don't make an effort to put it to end. Plus this thinking you only get your sided view, there is no room for counterargument or someone pointing things out to you. Changing your thinking so that it is helpful to you to not be diva and helps other around you to learn from what you learned is the best.
    Last edited by ~Diana~; 05-26-2010 at 08:13 PM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
    2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
    3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
    4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners
    .
    ~ Attributed to Dick Crum, a folk dance teacher ~

  4. #4
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    I have just found out that my new dance school offers summer classes, so I'll be attending new classes on monday (yay!)

    I am really looking forward to meet other dancers on other levels (it's a mix class, so there will be both beginners, intermediates and advanced dancers) !

    So excited !

  5. #5
    Member Afrit's Avatar
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    Sign up for an advanced workshop with a master teacher when the other students are dancers with at least a decade's experience

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Afrit View Post
    Sign up for an advanced workshop with a master teacher when the other students are dancers with at least a decade's experience
    Scary! Going to events or other classes outside your local group might be a more gentle reality check - works for me. Or video footage -

    Maybe others in your class are taking dance just as a fun thing, or for exercise, or to be social. You have your reasons for dancing, and your level of focus, and they have theirs.
    Wise words.

  7. #7
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    A few suggestions on how to reduce these feelings:

    * remind yourself that you had to start somewhere and remember how that felt, put yourself in the shoes of the newer dancers who you are feeling negative towards

    *remember that there is always something to be learnt no matter how long you have been dancing

    *Think of the barriers that your negativity puts up to getting more out of dancing. You could be stopping yourself from making new friends or learning something new by feeling that you know better than all of them.

    *When you say 'I am better than the others in my class' you are reinforcing your diva attitude. Try to look at the people who you look down upon and think 'what is she/he good at? where are their strengths?' rather than shutting yourself off from them.

    *Just because you practice more doesn't automatically mean your a better dancer than everyone else. It is likely to help your technique, yes, but it's not just about that.

    *After only a year do you truly feel you have enough experience and knowledge to decide you are better than the others?

    *If you feel you would benefit from an advanced level class then go for it. As others have said it might be what you need.

    For as long as you feel this way about your fellow dancers I don't feel you can be humble in your dancing. You need to learn to appreciate that each person is on their own journey in dancing, some for fun others may take it more seriously, but ultimately it shouldn't be about competing with each other to the point that you think less of anybody.

    I hope this is of help to you. I also hope that none of what I have said upsets or offends you. I am not suggesting you are a horrible person for feeling this way. The fact that you have come to ask for help regarding the issue is a clear sign that you care about how you feel towards others.
    In time I am sure this phase will pass and you will be happy with all your fellow dancers and you will find a level at which you can feel positive about learning.
    Last edited by Corylus; 05-26-2010 at 10:45 PM.

  8. #8
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    As this is a very personal topic for me of course I'll be offended, but that is just what I need You guys are knocking me right of my self-made pedestal and that is what this is about.

    I am starting to look differently on the others now, minding your advice on looking after their strengths, and it really helps me! I don't feel negative at all anymore - e.g. I've found out that one of my classmates is very good at listening to the music and feeling it, so I'm starting to look up to her.

    Still looking forward to start in a new class though

  9. #9
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    It may just be a language thing, an expression that doesn't translate, but I don't think looking up to people (and by implication down on others) is the way to look at it.

    You may have classmates who can't dance to save their lives, but if they are just dancing for fun and not going out gigging or teaching and misrepresenting belly dance to other people, so what?

    Like going to the gym and thinking "hey I am the fittest person here" - well so what and who cares? Maybe the person slogging away on the easiest setting on the next exercise bike finally got up the courage to join and has managed 20 minutes when last month she couldn't do 5.

    It is wrong to judge other people by your goals and ambitions.

  10. #10
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Like going to the gym and thinking "hey I am the fittest person here" - well so what and who cares? Maybe the person slogging away on the easiest setting on the next exercise bike finally got up the courage to join and has managed 20 minutes when last month she couldn't do 5.

    It is wrong to judge other people by your goals and ambitions.
    here! here! I know that guy feeling all to well cause when I first started I couldn't even walk fast on a treadmill for 30 seconds without being winded. Now I can run up to 5 minutes or brisk walk for 40 minutes before I start to get out of breath! Everything is an accomplishment for me. Thought others might look at me and think I'm so out of shape.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
    2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
    3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
    4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners
    .
    ~ Attributed to Dick Crum, a folk dance teacher ~

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