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  1. #21
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    One of the things I enjoy about online forums is seeing points of view that are very different from my own!

    I haven't watched this video, so I don't know what the teacher on the video is offering, so, this is a general comment about teaching shimmies to beginners....

    I teach shimmies to my brand-new beginners on the very first night of class. I find that students love learning them - they feel as though they're learning a "real" belly dance move. Also, I've noticed from the dialogue I've seen in Egyptian movies that belly dancers are often referred to as "shaking their hips". It really is an very typical move, so why not teach it right from the beginning?

    And honestly, I don't think a basic shimmy is all *that* hard to learn. I do, however, think that some teachers find it difficult to teach.
    It is a very typical move, and depending on the style it's also one of the most important. It should be taught from the beginning, but I find it odd that it would be taught in the first class, and would lean towards teaching it around the end of the first session.

    Of course, I am not a teacher myself, but I am very aware of methodology due to having gotten my initial bearings in this dance via self-teaching, having had multiple teachers, and being a very critical person. I am talking from the perspective of what would have worked for me and what I think would work for the people 'around' me (the people in the classes I've been in, friends who have asked me to teach them or help them with some moves, or people with inquiries on forums).

    That is obviously a different perspective from the one you are offering, of someone who has been teaching this dance for years and years. If teaching the shimmy in the first class works for you, then maybe this dancer in the video is onto something and I am wrong to think that was a bad choice for a first lesson.

    None of the teachers I've taken beginners with taught it right away, and neither did the DVDs that I used when I was starting out. Most belly dance students I know do not start to "get" this shimmy (driven by the bending and straightening of the legs, with slight up and down motion of the hips) until later on, and in fact some of them never actually get it. The up and down motion can not be achieved unless the student already has some isolation ability, and the shimmy itself requires speed, on top of that ability. This is why I didn't find it appropriate for a first class. But I'd love to know what type of shimmy you teach in yours, and how many students get it right away or about how long it takes for those who don't. It's fascinating that your students might be having the opposite experience with shimmies that I see most students having!

  2. #22
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    But I'd love to know what type of shimmy you teach in yours, and how many students get it right away or about how long it takes for those who don't. It's fascinating that your students might be having the opposite experience with shimmies that I see most students having!
    It seems we're talking about the same shimmy. First, I have my students bend their knees a bit, and hold their upper body in the position as if they're preparing to sit down in a chair.

    Then, I have everyone use their hand to reach down and touch the backs of their legs, to draw their focus there, and I have them use their hand to wobble their hamstrings back and forth a little. I do this for the benefit of the tactile learners.

    Then I have them return to the upright position of knees bent and upper body preparing to sit.

    Then I tell them to jiggle the flab on the backs of their legs.

    In all my years of teaching belly dance, I've had only ONE student who didn't instantly do the correct movement I was looking for after introducing the topic this way.

    Most could only keep it going for a few seconds at first, and that's okay. The next thing I taught was how to extend how long they could keep it going. Ie, keep the knees bent, don't let them gradually straighten. If you lose it, take a deep breath and start again. It's okay to let everything wobble - it's SUPPOSED to jiggle! And so on....

    Another thing we do to help them grasp the leg movement I'm looking for is to sit on the floor with feet straight forward. Then, in this position, jiggle the knees so that the backs of the legs flop against the floor.

  3. #23
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    Then I have them return to the upright position of knees bent and upper body preparing to sit.

    Then I tell them to jiggle the flab on the backs of their legs.
    That sounds to me like a vibration type of shimmy, rather than what was taught in that video. I am picturing bent and shivering legs, as opposed to legs that are bending and straightening quickly. The former was the first shimmy I could do, and I could see how someone could be taught that in the first class, but the latter, I still can't see.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    That sounds to me like a vibration type of shimmy, rather than what was taught in that video. I am picturing bent and shivering legs, as opposed to legs that are bending and straightening quickly. The former was the first shimmy I could do, and I could see how someone could be taught that in the first class, but the latter, I still can't see.
    Again, I haven't watched the clip, but the shimmy I'm talking about does involve bending and straightening the legs, not really shivering.

    However...

    Some people refer to the shimmy that Raqia Hassa teaches as the "straight-leg shimmy" or the "Egyptian shimmy" - is that the one you're thinking of? If so, it's really the same thing as the shimmy I described, it's just that you do the one I described in an "about to sit down" position with weight more on the heels while you do the one Raqia teaches in a "standing fully erect" position with weight more on the toes. Either way, the leg motion is the same, but they look different because of the posture and weight placement.

  5. #25
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    Again, I haven't watched the clip, but the shimmy I'm talking about does involve bending and straightening the legs, not really shivering.

    However...

    Some people refer to the shimmy that Raqia Hassa teaches as the "straight-leg shimmy" or the "Egyptian shimmy" - is that the one you're thinking of? If so, it's really the same thing as the shimmy I described, it's just that you do the one I described in an "about to sit down" position with weight more on the heels while you do the one Raqia teaches in a "standing fully erect" position with weight more on the toes. Either way, the leg motion is the same, but they look different because of the posture and weight placement.
    Then it sounds more like my "main" shimmy, which is also the shimmy taught in the video (except I tend to exaggerate it more than that dancer). It is like Raqia's shimmy but with a different posture, as you said. In Raqia's, the legs are straight, the pelvis is less tucked, and the weight is more forward. In the one that I do, the motion of the legs are the same, but because the knees are slightly more bent and the tailbone down, the motion allows for the hips to move up and down whereas in the Raqia shimmy the effect looks more like the belly is wobbling forward and back (if the mechanics of the legs aren't seen).

    Interesting that your students don't have much trouble with that shimmy! Most dancers I have come across do.

  6. #26
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    I want to dance like Shakira!!!

    I'm fine with all the people offering classes with "dance like Shakira" as the come on...just as long as they teach safely and break things down...and as long as people realize that they're not going to be able to dance exactly like Shakira (meaning do every move she does) perfectly after one class...and that if it's a belly dance course...they're not going to get her latin dance moves.

    There's a huge difference there. If a teacher goes over the very basics, then says "Okay....Shakira's signature belly dance moves are Maya hips, egyptian shimmy, etc. so we're going to focus on those"...that's wonderful. If you get a teacher who goes "Take my free 10 lessons then pay me XXX amount of dollars for the rest of the 6 week course and you'll be able to dance just like Shakira!" that's someone ripping you off. So I think it all comes down to whether or not they're being completely upfront about any further costs and making reasonable promises.

    If I looked this over and it seemed safe and realistic and they were upfront about any further costs, I'd absolutely do this. I have almost no money after bills and expenses each month, so I have certainly taken advantage of free online lessons.

    The Soul Studio Belly Dance Dictionary (suggested to me by Elfie) has been my most useful free online resource.

  7. #27
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    As I understand it what is onffer once you finish the course is 2 choreo vids. However, there are no clips anywhere of this dancer in actoin

  8. #28
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    First lesson is up and dancing...okay, I'll admit I have bought the first package on offer. It's very good and professionally filmed. I had to go with the SD version though as the HD version was nearly 3Gig in size. I think she might be onto something...I like it...just my 2pence as usual :-) No doubt others will have other views. By the way the link is here belly dance classes
    Last edited by Gillian; 12-29-2010 at 03:19 PM.

  9. #29
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    In defense of Shakira, I have to say that she has attracted many new people into learning more about bellydance. It's a good beginning. But just like crawling, it shouldn't be done forever and dancers' tastes should grow.

    However, it would be nice if Shakira would learn more herself <sigh>

  10. #30
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian View Post
    First lesson is up and dancing...okay, I'll admit I have bought the first package on offer. It's very good and professionally filmed. I had to go with the SD version though as the HD version was nearly 3Gig in size. I think she might be onto something...I like it...just my 2pence as usual :-) No doubt others will have other views. By the way the link is here belly dance classes
    I must admit that I was not impressed by the clip. All that twirling - apart from being very repetitive would make me too dizzy. Can you say if the rest of the content is very varied - and whether it is good for beginners only etc.

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