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  1. #11
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Yasmine and Gabi,
    I call these movements that are difficult to get, "Nemesis Movements". We all have that one movement that we just can not learn for ages. I believe that this is because a lot of belly dance movements are not based on having physical strength but on building neurological connections, and sometimes it just takes longer for the body and brain to agree that the person can do the movement. Somtimes it just never happens. I have a Soheir Zaki lock with the ribcage that I have been trying to perfect for about 10 years and it still looks awful. There are also movements that, after trying to learn them for a long time, it's like magic and one day you can just wake up and DO them!! This has
    happened for me over and over again and it is the reason that I think the way I do about learning the dance.
    Sometimes you can go to a different instructor and that person can explain it in just the right way to help a student make the connection. Feiruz Aram taught the upward body undulation in just such a way that, after having tried to master it for about 5 years, her technique for teaching it was like a miracle for me. The same instructor might not be able to help someone else do the same movement.
    Anyway, the Nemesis Movements happen to everyone and I agree with Yasmine that there is no positive result in getting too intense about teaching a movement to a student who just needs more time with it. Also, if a student never does get the movement, there are plenty of others to choose from as long as the student has firm basics.
    REgards,
    A'isha

  2. #12
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabi View Post
    I often wonder how you all stand it when you have to go over the same stuff ad nauseum - it's so embarrassing as a student when I feel I know she told us that a thousand times but I still don't get it *arrrgh*
    That's actually one of the more interesting challenges of being a teacher. How many ways can I think of to say or demonstrate essentially the same thing before I hit on the magic formula for a student who is struggling? Sometimes, though, it just ain't gonna get got, and that is not a tragedy of Greek proportions. God knows, I have learned to work around my share of weak points and still be able to put on an acceptable performance. No reason students can't learn to do the same thing. That's a valuable lesson, too.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Yasmine and Gabi,
    I call these movements that are difficult to get, "Nemesis Movements". ..........I have a Soheir Zaki lock with the ribcage that I have been trying to perfect for about 10 years and it still looks awful. There are also movements that, after trying to learn them for a long time, it's like magic and one day you can just wake up and DO them!! ........REgards,
    A'isha
    Ahhhh thanks for the encouragement and hope for "Aha moments". At my age I have only so much time to get better before I'm going to be fighting getting more limited

  4. #14
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Teaching, etc.

    Dear Gabi,
    I consider myself to be a better dancer now than I have ever been. Somewhere along the line I have learned that the physical limitations of my age and body are not the mark of what makes me a dancer. It is the ability to transmitt what the music is saying and what I am feeling within the boundaries of authetic movement and spirit that make me a good dancer. Fortunately for me, belly dance is not very externally athletic, but is instead about utilizing certain types of movement to the fullest within cultural boundaries that do not require me be able to do splits, backbends, jump through hoops or any other very strenuous movement. That, I think is part of why the dance is ageless. Each time of a dancer's life can be a vehicle for bringing out special characterisrics of the dance itself.
    Regards,
    A'isha

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabi View Post
    Ahhhh thanks for the encouragement and hope for "Aha moments". At my age I have only so much time to get better before I'm going to be fighting getting more limited

  5. #15
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    Being able to break down the move so it's seems so basic even though it really isn't! My teacher was telling me that in Egypt you basically follow the teacher and learn by watching and copying. I would have quit ages ago hahaha. Other factors which i think are important include:
    *being passionate and living and breathing the dance and therefore needing to pass it on
    *Not corrupting the art with moves that belong in a jazz class!
    *Knowing the history.
    *not teaching a choregraphed piece for a term
    *Patience
    *Respect for the art
    *Being able to positively critique students and give them appropriate feedback
    *The ability to dance gracefully that people are swept off their feet when they see and just need to learn!

    In addition to this i think that there are many people who take lessons for 2 years and think they can start teaching. This is unfair to students as the teacher is really a student themselves!!

  6. #16
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I agree with Wildfire. Looking at the list I really appreciate my teacher! (well I did anyway, but these lists confirm it).

    Also I'd add
    * letting students know about other belly dance events and encouraging them to go to workshops etc.
    * helping students who want to do it to perform, eg. having class recitals, or taking the class to perform at other events.

    IMO the teaching after 2 years thing is like thinking you've conquered the mountain when you're only in the foothills. Well done for finding this little hill easy, but that's the mountain over there...

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Gabi,
    I consider myself to be a better dancer now than I have ever been. Somewhere along the line I have learned that the physical limitations of my age and body are not the mark of what makes me a dancer. It is the ability to transmitt what the music is saying and what I am feeling within the boundaries of authetic movement and spirit that make me a good dancer. Fortunately for me, belly dance is not very externally athletic, but is instead about utilizing certain types of movement to the fullest within cultural boundaries that do not require me be able to do splits, backbends, jump through hoops or any other very strenuous movement. That, I think is part of why the dance is ageless. Each time of a dancer's life can be a vehicle for bringing out special characterisrics of the dance itself.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    I've been thinking and thinking about this and I wonder .... do you think this can also apply to people who learn the dance at an already *cough cough* advanced age? I can see that the moves can be almost as gentle as we care to make them but still it is a surprise to see how much some parts have gone to pot i.e., posture and the isolation can be really weird if you aren't used to the movements. Being pretty athletic already I find I have more trouble with some of the refinements than anything strenuous also, moves that are quite opposite from the movement I've been used to and WoW those posture muscles, I've been slowly sinking into the olde lady posture of neck out, shoulders slumped forward, chest in stomach out .... you get the idea.

  8. #18
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Instructor, etc.

    Dear Gabi,
    The first thing to have is AWARENESS that you can change your posture, unless you have terrible arthritis in your spine or some similar ailment. Every day, start out by standing up straight and feeling what that feels like. Each time during the day that you think about your posture, if possible, go to a mirror and straighten up, being aware of what that feels and looks like.

    I have had students as old as 80 and I believe they saw some improvement in their physical selves due to the dance. We should have reasonable expectations for ouselves. For example, I have recently decided to put a lot of energy into learning Turkish Rom dance. I expect I will never be a truly great Turkish dancer because I do not have the lifetime left to really experience the dance and and its essence in the way that I have with Egyptian dance. But, I have an awareness of my limitations here, and can still work to my fullest potential in the dance form. I do not yhave to be an expert at everything, but I do have to be real about my limitations and not lead anyone on about my skill and knowledge level.

    Regards,
    A'isha



    Quote Originally Posted by Gabi View Post
    I've been thinking and thinking about this and I wonder .... do you think this can also apply to people who learn the dance at an already *cough cough* advanced age? I can see that the moves can be almost as gentle as we care to make them but still it is a surprise to see how much some parts have gone to pot i.e., posture and the isolation can be really weird if you aren't used to the movements. Being pretty athletic already I find I have more trouble with some of the refinements than anything strenuous also, moves that are quite opposite from the movement I've been used to and WoW those posture muscles, I've been slowly sinking into the olde lady posture of neck out, shoulders slumped forward, chest in stomach out .... you get the idea.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Gabi,
    The first thing to have is AWARENESS that you can change your posture, unless you have terrible arthritis in your spine or some similar ailment. Every day, start out by standing up straight and feeling what that feels like. Each time during the day that you think about your posture, if possible, go to a mirror and straighten up, being aware of what that feels and looks like.

    I have had students as old as 80 and I believe they saw some improvement in their physical selves due to the dance. We should have reasonable expectations for ouselves. For example, I have recently decided to put a lot of energy into learning Turkish Rom dance. I expect I will never be a truly great Turkish dancer because I do not have the lifetime left to really experience the dance and and its essence in the way that I have with Egyptian dance. But, I have an awareness of my limitations here, and can still work to my fullest potential in the dance form. I do not yhave to be an expert at everything, but I do have to be real about my limitations and not lead anyone on about my skill and knowledge level.

    Regards,
    A'isha
    Thanks, that makes sense. Yes, there is comfort in realistic expectations; you can learn just for fun .

    The posture thingie LOL - I am just around now getting aware that it's not sticking my chest out, it's standing straight.

    Enjoy the Rom, it looks like great fun

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