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  1. #1
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    Default Am i learning with this teacher?

    I have been taking from a teacher on & off for about a year now. She is a professional BD in the area and an awesome dancer. She has about 4 loyal students who have been with her approx 7 or 8 years. One of them who is very young has become quite a great dancer herself. The others seem to be there for the exercise and social aspect. I am there to learn and to drill. One of the girls who has been with her for about a year had a lot of prior dancing and is not too bad but still struggles. During class, all we do is dance or (attempt to dance) to her difficult choreographies that she dances in her performances. All of us cannot keep up with her and/or do not perform all the moves and transitions properly (Ok, I'll speak for myself). And her loyal students do not seem to mind that they are not dancing well or improving. Iím feeling lost and beginning to feel inadequate when I take her class. I have suggested to her that we do some drilling so that we can learn how to do the moves and improve on technique. However, she says we need to practice the choreographies that she performs in case we ever want to perform (she goes thru a new choreo so quickly and then starts a new one that she performs before we even come close to having the first dance down). She is very sweet, though. Every time a new student that is a beginner or beginner advanced takes her class, they never come back and the teacher will say why donít I ever have new students who continue? Please tell me if I can benefit from her style of teaching or is my self confidence being undermined?

  2. #2
    Member Imeera's Avatar
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    Being a beginner myself all I can say is that I am sorry to say but I don't think you will learn much with this teacher. I think she expects too much from beginners and doesn't realise their capabilities. I think maybe she is trying to make it fun and look to the future, but doesn't realise the importance of learning the basics. Going on and off probably does not help as it wouldn't in a normal class, however, if choreography is all she does it probably doesn't matter as your not drilling anyway so your not missing anything. My teacher dances a simple choreography, more a series of moves, and we will follow. She tells us what we are doing with the move and there are simple or no transitions between moves, its very easy to follow. This is drilling made fun, it is done to fitting music to we learn what moves go where as well. We also do moving moves across the floor and repeat different moves or small simple choreographies eg walk shimmy walk with fitting music as well as a fun dance at the end basically a repeat of the first thing and of ourse cool down and warm up. Also if we ask for more in depth explanation about a certain move she will stop and help the individual with whatever she needs. I think this is the type of learning your teacher might be looking to do, but regrettably not fulfilling the needs of the student. She probably is, as you said, an amazing dancer, but teaching is a skill you can't really learn and not listening to students isn't helping either. I think changing teacher would be best for you, until you gain the ability to follow the choreographies at a more advanced level. But being a beginner I might be wrong, I just gave my view on this, more experienced dancers who also teach will be able to tell you more I am sure =] Good luck!

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Sounds like this teacher might be a good teacher for you once you have more of the basics down, but for now she is not meeting your needs.
    Can you find another teacher? How often do you practice at home?

  4. #4
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty View Post
    ...she says we need to practice the choreographies that she performs in case we ever want to perform...
    I don't want to read too much into this, but it sounds really odd. If she has plans for you to perform them as her students/troupe it makes a bit of sense, but as individuals? When you get to performance standard you don't need to be able to perform her choreographies. But you do need decent technique and if she won't or can't teach you that then I agree with Yame - you need to look for someone who can.

    Focusing on learning choreographies for their own sake rather than as tools to learn technique is putting the horse before the cart IMNSHO, and totally dispiriting when they are pitched too far ahead of where you are now.

    If she is nice and is seriously wondering why new students don't come back maybe she would be open to feedback and would consider working on some simpler choreographies that you could use to really get to grips with the technique.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    That sounds like a strange way to run a class to me too...and no, it doesn't sound like you're learning. I have the opposite problem in my learning...I have too much drilling and not enough learning to actually dance with the moves I am learning...but the opposite doesn't sound very effective either.

    It might be a teaching skills issue. Some people are wonderful at what they do, but aren't very good at passing that on to other people effectively...so she might just be leading you guys through coreographies because that's what's important to her career and what works best for her to focus on.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    She may be an awesome dancer - but she does not sound like a teacher. This style of "teaching" works with people with a good existing grasp of the form - ie isolations, layering, transitions etc - only then can you gain anything from "follow along behind in my practice time"

    I suggest you find another teacher - one who actually can and does teach - and if in 2-5 years you want to give this one a try again, do it.

  7. #7
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    I suggest you find another teacher (or even 2) and take a sample class. Then you will have some idea of the differences between teachers and can make an informed decision.

    I know if might not be easy if teachers are sparce in your area, but it really will be worth it in the long run.

    Good luck, but whatever happens, don't stop dancing!

  8. #8
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty View Post
    I have been taking from a teacher on & off for about a year now. She is a professional BD in the area and an awesome dancer. ... During class, all we do is dance or (attempt to dance) to her difficult choreographies that she dances in her performances. ... Every time a new student that is a beginner or beginner advanced takes her class, they never come back and the teacher will say why donít I ever have new students who continue? Please tell me if I can benefit from her style of teaching or is my self confidence being undermined?
    I feel so sorry for this teacher. She sounds like one of those people who just can't teach - but she needs to teach to supplement her income, so she soldiers on.

    I find a lot of bellydancers assume that if they can dance, they can teach, and it's not the case at all.

    I agree with others - you need to move on. You've probably learned more than you realize, but you're not going to make real progress at that school.

    You've done your best - you've given her your feedback. If she can't put two and two together and act on the feedback from students, that's not your problem!

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