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  1. #1
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Default Not getting as much as I want to get from classes and private lessons

    So my studio doesn't have intermediate or advanced classes. I take an all-levels class that doesn't challenge me at all. I've taken to missing every other class or so because I am very bored in there and end up coming home annoyed. I mentioned my problem to my teacher (who I have a very good relationship with) and she said she'd try to change things up for the more advanced students. Still, it's boring me.

    I also take private lessons with the same teacher (there is really no one else within distance for classes or lessons). She's great, but doesn't bring the lessons up to the level I want. We spend far too much time drilling basic moves when I want things I can learn from and really work on. I think she mentally rates me much lower than I rate myself in skill level. Of course, I don't look as proficient when I'm following someone else than when I am dancing at my own behest. (I'm not so good at following.)

    I decided this week I would put myself firmly in the driver's seat and let her know precisely what I'd like to work on. But she still kept it too basic and drilled too long.

    I like my teacher a lot but come home from lessons and class frustrated and letdown. I am not feeling at all challenged or fulfilled, and I'm not growing as a dancer except for the work I do alone in my studio. I guess I need to have another frank talk with her, but I'm not sure how to phrase it without seeming complainy or negative toward her personally.

    I know I need to be in the driver's seat and take charge of my dance experience but am having trouble! Suggestions??

  2. #2
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    You should definitely have a good long talk with your teacher, but please try to stay open to the idea that her assessment of your skill level may be more accurate than your own. When you are paying for private lessons, you can also pick the topic for the class generally. I would recommend telling your teacher what you want to work on in the private lessons specifically. For example, say something like "For the next 3 private lessons, I would like to work on layering a shimmy with another hip movement and with traveling. Please assess me at the beginning of the first class and end of the last class to let me know what areas need improvement."

    Remember that basic drilling is important. Even professionals train those movements and drill them in every practice. I haven't seen you dance, so I don't know what the teacher may be seeing, but it could be that the teacher feels that the drills are important for your growth as a dancer. When you have your discussion with her, ask her what she considers your strengths and weaknesses so you have a better idea of how she views your skill so far.

    Good luck! I hope it works out for you

  3. #3
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    Drilling is a huge thing in bellydance and you can never spend enough time doing it. I drill for hours just basic movements before I start combining them into my advanced movements. If you can't do the basic right then you can't build up to the more advanced and do them right. When I took an expensive, weekend long workshop we spent a good portion of it just drilling movements.

    I think she mentally rates me much lower than I rate myself in skill level. Of course, I don't look as proficient when I'm following someone else than when I am dancing at my own behest. (I'm not so good at following.)
    I think you gave yourself your own answer here. It probably isn't that she rates you lower but that she sees you are not proficient when you dance with others or try to follow. She may be drilling you more in order for you to gain more proficiency when dancing or following others. She may not want to start teaching you other things or levels because she does not see you as being ready for them.

    If you want to, ask her to watch you as your dance on your own behest. Tape it even and ask for her feedback. If you think you are better then, she might be able to point out the problems that she see's but you aren't. I know of a few professional teachers who, for a small fee, will examine video of you dancing and critique it fully.

    If worse comes to worse, find a new teacher. Even if you can only find one online who will teach you over skype video or previously recorded video.
    Last edited by ~Diana~; 06-18-2010 at 01:10 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
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughts. I have considered the disparity in what she's teaching and what I want to learn and that perhaps I was rating myself too high, but I honestly don't think that's the case. My teacher remarks frequently that I am very strong on this or that, and that I take correction well (am able to immediately make the adjustment and keep it) and how quickly I pick things up.

    Upon more reflection, I think she's just accustomed to teaching lower levels and having difficulty ramping it up. I'll need to talk to her about bringing up the speed to workshop speed, which is where I get the most out of instruction.

    I do drill extensively at home but I don't need to pay for that, you know? What I look for in classes and lessons is adding to the repertoire of movement growth.

    I'm working on creating a choreography, so next time I see her I think I will show her what I have so far so she can see me and my ability more clearly. Then I'll talk to her about doing lessons at a more workshop leveled pace.

    Thanks for your thoughts, again! I appreciate the wisdom.

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    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    I believe drilling you can do at home! If you get the moves right, posture and all, you HAVE TO drill at home. In class, especially private one, you want challenge and information, I agree 100%.

    Do you have any DVDs to get ideas from? Youtube clips you admire? you need to work out a goal. A CHALLENGE. You cant leave for her to plan what you aspire for. It is lucky if the teacher motivates you, but in your case it is not so.

    For next private class, have an idea, goal of what you want to do. Do your homework on it, It might be to master a choreo or learn new props, etc. You are paying for private class to have it tailored to YOU. Explain to her exactly what you want to achieve, and maybe she will try to work out a new plan for you.

    If she goes... noooo.. you cant do it.... tell her Yes you can, you want and you will, and you believe she's the only one who can help you. Provided of course she has the knowledge.


    Best of luck

    *hug*

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    How about videoing yourself and having your teacher sit down with you and critique it? It's easier to be objective when you are both looking at the same footage, and might be a useful way to help focus lessons on where you want to go. e.g. I like the way this move X turned out and I'm feeling confident with it, can we take it further? or I have trouble with Y, can we do some more work?

  7. #7
    Senior Member GypsyStacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reen.Blom View Post
    I believe drilling you can do at home! If you get the moves right, posture and all, you HAVE TO drill at home. In class, especially private one, you want challenge and information, I agree 100%.

    Do you have any DVDs to get ideas from? Youtube clips you admire? you need to work out a goal. A CHALLENGE. You cant leave for her to plan what you aspire for. It is lucky if the teacher motivates you, but in your case it is not so.

    For next private class, have an idea, goal of what you want to do. Do your homework on it, It might be to master a choreo or learn new props, etc. You are paying for private class to have it tailored to YOU. Explain to her exactly what you want to achieve, and maybe she will try to work out a new plan for you.

    If she goes... noooo.. you cant do it.... tell her Yes you can, you want and you will, and you believe she's the only one who can help you. Provided of course she has the knowledge.


    Best of luck

    *hug*
    of course one can & should drill at home. however what if the moves & posture are not right? then the teacher has to go over it again in class & then you also have to drill it there. there are many times i THINK i know the posture & move when i get home drill & drill. come back to class that i didn't have the posture just right...lol. drill some more in class. i find it helps. i like to do some drills with my teacher it reconfirms that i'm doing the moves correctly & it helps me improve & sharpen the moves that i already do well.

    i agree with those that say video tape yourself & then watch it with your teacher. can be a very interesting exercise to just video tape & watch yourself. i thought i had beautiful arm movement watched myself after i video taped myself i looked like a stick man drawing. it was a reall eye opener.

    good luck & i hope your able to work something out.

  8. #8
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Video is a great idea. I will video myself doing the choreo and take it for her to see, that way I can do commentary while she watches it.

    And ReenBlom, you're really hitting it on that head that I need to find challenges and present those to her to work on. Last time I did ask her about a particular combination, but she wasn't familiar with it and I ended up working it out on my own. I need to work harder at finding specific combos and moves to work on. The difficulty is in finding something new that I'm not familiar with, you know? It's tough to look for something when I don't know what it is.

    But I will review performances and clips that I like and see what I can pick out. It will be a different kind of challenge!

    Thanks so much!

  9. #9
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Our teachers in the general level classes we go to encourage us to do the basics and add shimmy to everything if we want. not that you would add shimmy to everything when dancing, but to strengthen our shimmies and extend ourselves.

    by the way - one of my teachers NEVER does basic drills, never corrects posture, and that is in itself very frustrating.

    you say you find your classes boring - but that you have difficulty following. I do sympathise with the difference in private performance and following someone else's choreo - I suffer from it myself. BUT are you switching off in class. IMO you can get more out of a basic class if you do the drills concentrating on adding arms, concentrating on the line of your body etc. if you do this, this might help to raise your teacher's estimate of your ability, and it would also be helpful to your own improvement.

  10. #10
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Good thoughts Jen, but I don't think I'm switching it off. I'm just bored of a stale format that I've gone through 1000 times. Drilling doesn't have to be boring--at home I switch it up in ways that make it more fun for me. But in this class I think -she- is switching off.

    I had a class with the owner of the studio and am still just blown away by all of it. Even when she was just talking, I was learning so much. She's definitely a different level of teacher and dancer. It's a short series, but I'm going to soak up everything!!!

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