It is clear that you have never attended an actual lesson and have been 'auto-learning' around.... some of the expectations are common sense as

-introducing people and middle eastern dance
-warming up
-the choreography workout danced by the teacher
-posture and movements from scratch... one movement at a time

if time allows, a bit of combination with the better mastered steps from the group...two-three moves per lesson depending on students' progress...

-stretching to cool down.


combinations and improvisation ('free bellydance' in your terms) are no way of use for a first lesson...

if a teacher finds your level of knowledge on a first lesson class, he/she would have to add elements to your routine, and keep the true beginners with the basics... obviously after checking that your understanding corresponds to your performance... it is not always the case!

and definitely layering can only be properly done after mastering basic single technique... actually after achieving the intermediate level (combinations and some layering) they recommend a dancer to go back to the beginner's level, to 'clean up' the technique...






Quote Originally Posted by Elfie View Post
So. As I have never taken an actual class before, I wanted to chime in here. If I were starting a beginner class, this is what I would expect from my teacher, as well as a few things that could be fun and informative at the same time. Some of it may not be reasonable, I don't know. I've never taken a class. But this is what I expect out of the very first lesson - a sort of orientation type deal, with some fun elements.

I'd expect:

*to see my teacher dance for a short bit - maybe a two minute number
*introductions between the teacher and the students (any fun things like gifts or games could be worked in with this like the one Shanazel suggested - the ME dance name thing sounds awesome!)
*show and tell of dance items from the teacher - simple stuff at first - showing zills, drums, veil, hip scarves (maybe even have a costume or two on mannequins to show them and talk a bit about - the sparkles always make it interesting!)
*a bit of background on ME dance and music (video clips, music clips etc.)
*safety and health stuff - the importance of proper stretching etc.
*warmup
*proper posture and "dance" pose; then on to basic isolations and the "twist" shimmy
*simple weight changing and single "step-together-step-together" moves
*framing arms
*combine twist, single step and framing arms; after a few repetitions to the left, right, front and back, introduce arm paths - free movement to get used to moving the arms during dance
*a few minutes of "free belly dance" (improv) so the teacher can assess the students in a casual fashion
*cool down
*class conclusion

I don't know how plausible that would be for a first lesson. But I would absolutely expect to see my teacher dance and to be assessed by the teacher from the very start. That way he or she could better know where potential problem areas are right from the start. And if you're a "hands-on" type of teacher, this bit could help you introduce that aspect of your teaching method. Walk through the students and do small corrections such as lifting their arms up higher, nudging the shoulders back - it's all about the students being comfortable with you and you with them, so it's better to establish this kind of thing right off, I think. And, it gives you a more casual setting as a teacher to walk among the students and chit chat, offer encouragements, and with the small "hands-on" approach, you can establish if any of your students have an issue with touching without them feeling "singled out". Some people do.

This is what just one classroom newbie (meaning I have never taken a class) expects to see when she does finally get a class together. I don't know if it's even a doable lesson, per se, but something very like that is what I would expect from my teacher. Granted, I've been self studying and know a bit more about the dance than most true beginners do (though not much more, I admit LOL!), but I've never had the benifit of a classroom setting or a live teacher. So maybe I expect more from a live teacher than I should. But maybe it will be helpful to you. Good luck!

Luckily for you that you're teaching belly dance. After a few lessons, you should have no trouble keeping them interested. Belly dance is so much fun in itself that you won't have to try quite so hard to keep it interesting!