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  1. #1
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Default On big workshops and following the bouncing butt.

    Dontchajust HATE it when you are in a workshop and you are choreographically challenged but they are teaching choreo anyway, AND it's follow-the-bouncing-butt but you can't see the butt?

    I guess I am not typical. I can follow most of it these days, but I can't remember more than a few phrases in the short term. So sooner or later I will be following all the way. Now if I am following the teacher I paid for this is still valuable IMO, because I think monkey see monkey do (OK, maybe monkey makes a stab at) actually works for me. I won't have the choreo down, but I will be getting the vibe.

    However... 3 rows back all you can do if you can't lock the choreo in your head straight away is follow the crowd. I am not a happy bunny with this. And, having been p'd off to the extent of sitting out part of 2 out of 3 workshops this w'end because of this, I can vouch for the fact that even if you pick up the gist of the choreo from them, you are not going to pick up vibe of teacher from your fellow attendees. Because they are not doing it the same. (see, I did learn something sitting out! ).

    I've always avoided "learn a choreo" workshops, and have gone for Egyptain/ME teachers specifically for the vibe. I can understand using choreographies to teach, but is this really what people want? Bash through a choreography in 2.5 hours and never mind the style you are supposed to be learning? If you want to learn about XX style wouldn't it be better to focus on a few moves, maybe just a section of the choreography, and some compare and contrast about what makes it XX rather than YY? Should I just start assuming that Star Egyptian Teacher teaching "XX" means "teaching their take on XX, choreographed".

    Is this what the market wants? What do people do with what they have learnt from this type of class? I'm really interested.

  2. #2
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I usually take front & centre for that reason. I am also quite short, so there's no way I can see a few rows back.

    Most good workshop teachers will rotate the room during a large workshop to solve this problem so at least everyone has access to some of the choreo and everyone is on the same page with trying to remember.

    That's actually one reason I wrote off the Fariday Fahmy workshops in Perth next year*. By the time I found out about it, the front 4 rows had sold out, the next six back were nearly sold out & I could choose from only the back rows. Now that might be a great way of making money out of a popular dancer's workshops, but it definitely put me off attending a workshop I would otherwise have sold body parts to attend.

    *Edit: They're actually in November this year, which shows you how much attention I paid to them once I realised I had no hope of getting the content I wanted out of them.
    Last edited by Darshiva; 09-27-2011 at 12:21 AM. Reason: Wrong date - oops!

  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I hate learning choreographed pieces. If I wanted to learn choreographed pieces I'd buy a dvd I could watch until my butt and the one that bounces begin to mesh. In a workshop I want technique, I want showmanship, I want musicality, and I want to see what the heck is going on up in front.

    We are trying to work out details to get Salome to Wyoming. Hoped for November but the studio is not available on weekends that month. Maybe spring if Salome can fit it in (hope, hope, hope). One of the things she plans is a course in arms and upper body movements. Now that is something everyone can incorporate into their own improvisational dances or choreographies.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Dontchajust HATE it when you are in a workshop and you are choreographically challenged but they are teaching choreo anyway, AND it's follow-the-bouncing-butt but you can't see the butt?

    I guess I am not typical. I can follow most of it these days, but I can't remember more than a few phrases in the short term. So sooner or later I will be following all the way. Now if I am following the teacher I paid for this is still valuable IMO, because I think monkey see monkey do (OK, maybe monkey makes a stab at) actually works for me. I won't have the choreo down, but I will be getting the vibe.

    However... 3 rows back all you can do if you can't lock the choreo in your head straight away is follow the crowd. I am not a happy bunny with this. And, having been p'd off to the extent of sitting out part of 2 out of 3 workshops this w'end because of this, I can vouch for the fact that even if you pick up the gist of the choreo from them, you are not going to pick up vibe of teacher from your fellow attendees. Because they are not doing it the same. (see, I did learn something sitting out! ).

    I've always avoided "learn a choreo" workshops, and have gone for Egyptain/ME teachers specifically for the vibe. I can understand using choreographies to teach, but is this really what people want? Bash through a choreography in 2.5 hours and never mind the style you are supposed to be learning? If you want to learn about XX style wouldn't it be better to focus on a few moves, maybe just a section of the choreography, and some compare and contrast about what makes it XX rather than YY? Should I just start assuming that Star Egyptian Teacher teaching "XX" means "teaching their take on XX, choreographed".

    Is this what the market wants? What do people do with what they have learnt from this type of class? I'm really interested.
    HiAnisteph - we should have had a meet as I was there all weekend on my own. I really enjoyed Tito's workshop. The fact that it was choreo gave me the opportunity to see a move repeatedly so that I could work out what made it Egyptian. BUTwe had to insist on going over the routines with half the class at a time - which actually improved things cos you can concentrate on different things when you are not doing it. He repeated and repeated, with not like this, like this,and I alsohave the dvd. I have to say that sometimes even with the moves broken down it is sometimes only the constant repetition to the end of the choreo that I get them.

    the class before that, I am told startetd out with about 70 and had at least halved by the end

    Khaled was also great -there was lots of getting us to be beetch. " You are dancer everyone think you hookah you got be beetch" It was a choreo and as it was the first of the weekend, I can't remember that but the experience did a lot for me.

  5. #5
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of choreography workshops, especially when they are in HUGE festivals with 60/70 people. Even with rotation of the lines and perhaps big screens you miss a lot. I prefer ones where I can get a feeling for what is being taught, and take away my learning in chunks I can remember and do something with.

    The most successful choreography workshops I've ever attended have been those where the written choreo has been provided so I can go over it when at home. I've never successfully written out my own notes for a complete choreo, something has to give, either dancing or watching, for this to be done effectively. I need repetition to learn. I have trouble remembering my own choreo's until I've taught them several times!

    I didn't attend Shimmy. Couldn't afford it, and had my own dance work that weekend, which I couldn't afford to turn down. Shame, I would have like to watch the shows, competitions. Maybe next time.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    This weekend was the first time that I have ever enjoyed workshop choreo - and the first time that I have been to an Egyptian teacher. I found that going over moves repeatedly in the choreo helped me to study that Egyptian sense of timing. I had the time to say why is mine not like that. Of course I don't remember the choreos but I have go a few killer moves and an inspiration to work on style and timing

  7. #7
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    Just come to Alaska, where the average workshop has about 30 people, lol!

    Seriously, I would gladly pay extra to know there is a class size limit. If there is that much demand, maybe limit class sizes and offer more classes!

    (& yes, I know this is not an easy thing for an organizer to do, but I think it's worth it!)

  8. #8
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    When someone has flown in from Egypt, or the US the organiser has to make back air fair and accomodation as well as fee, so they would have to put on a lot more than double the amount of classes. You could double the fees but that would go up to £70 ($54 )a ticket - and you would get much less than half the participants who could afford that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    When someone has flown in from Egypt, or the US the organiser has to make back air fair and accomodation as well as fee, so they would have to put on a lot more than double the amount of classes. You could double the fees but that would go up to £70 ($54 )a ticket - and you would get much less than half the participants who could afford that.
    I think it depends on the actual costs, the market, the economy at the time- it's something to consider at the very least! We had to up our workshop prices last year, but we did it by cutting off the third day of the workshop and keeping the package price the same. Seriously, there are cases where *not* putting a limit might end up with an organizer loosing money in the long run. There are so many ways to work this, I think it is worth considering various options before dismissing the idea. We have to deal with steep airfare prices in Alaska just getting someone from the states, tho we don't have to deal with the hassle & expense of visas & such.

    Case in point- we're bringing Sahra Saeeda up next weekend for a workshop. I desperately wanted to take the JtE seminar as well, so I found enough people willing to pay $500 each for the 3 day workshop to convince the board to put it on as an add on. We limited class size to 10 and dropped the price to $400 (plus the fee for the regular weekend workshop) and consider it well worth that price tag. Now, we didn't have added travel expense since she is already up here, so that helped as well. Just want to point out that there are several ways to make these things work, and different people have different price points, depending on what is on offer and what else is available via the competition.

  10. #10
    Member Starmouth's Avatar
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    Aniseteph - were you at Shimmy in the City this weekend? Me too! If so, yep the popular workshops were extremely crowded. I was in Jillina's Oriental Style one on the Saturday and even though she was on stage couldn't really see her unless I was at the front. Plus there was a lot of spinning in this choreo so I got hit (and in turn, hit people) a lot.

    I prefer technique workshops with a few combos as I feel you get more from them. Like you, I have problems remembering choreographies unless I go over and over them. Jillina's was particularly complicated too, very 'ballet' in feel and with a rhythm change to Saidi half way through.

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