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  1. #1
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Default Choreo-teaching question.

    Since I am new to teaching bellydance I am thinking all the time about various methods and angles to teaching.
    I'd love to hear you thoughts on this subject:


    When teaching or learning a piece of the choreography, do you prefer to-

    break up the moves and steps first and go through it slowly several times before putting it al together and trying it to music

    or

    let the students see the piece of choreo and try to follow, and then go back and break it up, going into depth with each movement?

    I have had teachers do both of these methods and they both have pros and cons.
    Last night was the first class where I began to teach the choreo and I did some kind of mix between the two. First practicing some of the combos involved and then showing the piece two times, then letting them follow along a few times, and after that we went into details.

    I thought it worked quite nicely, I just need to be a bit more sure of myself but that will come in time

  2. #2
    Moderator Safran's Avatar
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    Default

    How about showing them the whole choreo at first, when you start teaching it? This way they get the whole picture of the dance and know what they are working towards. And then teach a portion every time, starting right from breaking down the movements and combos.
    Just a thought...

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Safran View Post
    How about showing them the whole choreo at first, when you start teaching it? This way they get the whole picture of the dance and know what they are working towards. And then teach a portion every time, starting right from breaking down the movements and combos.
    Just a thought...
    I agree. I had a teacher who would go through the footsteps first, because she said once you remember the feet, you can add the rest. Just knowing the steps without adding the layers was a very good start.

    But don't get too discouraged if they don't remember or don't get it right if they don't practice. Because that is the students' responsibility, and many times they don't do that in between classes.

  4. #4
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    It depends on how your students are learning:
    • Some prefer to see the whole choreography before they start learning it, to get an overview. The choreography needs to be finished and you need to know it before they start learning it.
    • Some prefer to break it down into large chunks, following the bouncing butt and further break-down if necessary.
    • Some prefer to break it down piece by piece, drilling the pieces on their own and then puzzle the thing together.


    Why don't you try the different versions to see what works best with your group?
    --
    Daim.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Really depends on the learning style of your students and their experience.

    When I'm learning I like to be given a chunk and follow - if there is something not obvious go over the sticking point. When I'm teaching, I tend to teach the bits in isolation then stick them together. Say drill 16 counts over a few times then slot it in. With this method it is important that people have any transitions.

    One thing though - teach it plain - without staging. For instance, you may intend to dance it in a circle or have people crossing lines and sides but teach the dance in lines facing the mirros first.

  6. #6
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I teach it backwards so that they are always coming up to something familiar. (I forget where I found that tip, but it's an excellent one). I demonstrate the segment first, then break it down building up layers from the feet up, then we play follow the bouncing butt.

    I've found that:

    *The ones that like then bouncing butt will copy you while you're demonstrating, get a little annoyed during the breakdown, and then are happy again while we're in drill phase.
    *The ones that like the breakdown watch the demonstration & follow along cautiously during the breakdown and then are happy when we are in drill phase.
    *The ones that like a description watch the demonstration impatiently, listen carefully during the breakdown and drill quite happily by the time we come to it.
    *Everyone is weirded out by backwards learning at first but by the third segment are very grateful we're doing it that way (and I quote) "because (they) don't have to remember anything".

    This way works for me. Find the way that suits you and play with it.
    Last edited by Darshiva; 09-14-2011 at 11:03 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I love the backwards idea!

    We do it in chunks from the beginning. If there's a new move/combo in the next section it usually appears in the follow the bouncing butt warm up dance, then will be broken down, drilled a bit if necessary, then put into the choreography. Every week we add another chunk, and will practice both the section we are learning and the whole thing from the beginning, with and without the teacher. For new beginners who aren't going to be performing it maybe it's not necessary to make them do it alone, but personally it helps me focus if I don't have someone to follow.

    I get a bit bored with the beginning after a while, but at least it makes me learn it.

    A demo of the whole thing is nice to see what you are aiming for, but FTBB when it's completely new is not much help to me. Nowadays I can follow and fake it, but nothing sinks in as I'm too busy trying to keep up. As a new beginner without the necessary technique I'd have just fallen over my feet and got frustrated and discouraged.

  8. #8
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    I love the backwards idea myself, but it didn't work with my group.

    One advantage - particularly if there will be a performance - is that the finale probably will be the strongest part vs times when you really don't get enough time to focus on the finale.
    --
    Daim.

  9. #9
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    That's the idea behind it. For a particularly long choreo I will sometimes teach it backward to the middle then teach it forward for the rest. Sometimes it really helps to change direction just to give the brain a bit of a reset.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    It really depends on your students. One size won't fit all, and you tend to need a combination of different approaches within the one class.

    More advanced classes I find prefer to see the whole piece first, as their own experience gives them an idea of how the dance is and will fit together. Beginners can get scared off by seeing it all at once, and feel expected to repeat it.

    Break it down into small chunks, which you can then join together into increasingly longer sequences (this can help if in later classes you have choreographies with similar combos - you can use past examples to remind students that they have already done it).

    Teach a segment without the music, so you can pace it to the class until they have got the moves, then repeat it with the music to see where confusion occurs.

    Concentrate on foot work and direction before trying to layer it. Ending up on the wrong foot, or facing the wrong way, causes confusion for everyone and needs to be corrected from the outset before it becomes an issue or a habit.

    I'm sure you know all this, and that you'll find for yourself the best way to teach your own students. Students are a constant surprise and a challenge, in a good way.
    You learn as much from them as they from you.
    Best of luck.

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