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  1. #11
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    I've spoken with belly dance teachers on "the circuit" who believe that what the masses want is to learn a choreography they can then take home and perform at all the haflas around town for the next year. I don't know if that's true or not - I know it's not true of me, but perhaps what I want is different from what "the masses" want. Anyway, I think that's why a lot of teachers fill their workshops with choreography.

    I think choreography can be useful when learning a style I haven't studied before - or I've studied it, but don't know it well enough to create my own dances in that style yet. For example, I've been exposed to a little Tunisian, but I don't know it well enough to create a performance in the style, or to teach others. Therefore, it could be helpful to learn a choreography in Tunisian style as a tool to help me integrate the technique. That doesn't mean I'd want to perform that choreography - I'd use it as a tool for practicing and retaining what I learned. But I should also say that I don't "need" a choreography for that purpose - I can alternatively take written notes, buy the music, and drill the combinations at home.

    I prefer to avoid workshops that teach choreographies in "generic sparkly costume" style. And there are a LOT of those out there. The problem is that a lot of those workshops in the U.S. are in a very Americanized style, and I'm trying to remove some of the Americanisms from my personal style. So I don't want to attend a workshop that tries to re-insert habits I'm trying to purge.

    I especially hate the ones that are actually jazz dance with stray hip lifts thrown in - those are false advertising. There were a couple of those offered in my area that had advertised as being "Egyptian style" choreographies. One of them did jazz movement to an Egyptian song, the other didn't even bother to use Egyptian music.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 09-26-2011 at 10:04 PM. Reason: merge posts

  2. #12
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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.
    Re-read your post and want to clarify... I think you went the wrong way with your conversion- 70 pounds would be 108 dollars, yes? & I'd like to know- is that for a 2-3 hour workshop? a full 6-8 hour day? a weekend? Makes a difference knowing what the going rate in various areas is.

  3. #13
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I'm with you, Shira, on the content I want from workshops. I'd much rather get some new moves & combos and a greater understanding of a genre than another choreography I'm going to have to bludgeon into my own style so much so that it no longer resembles the original but I am still obliged to give credit.

    Actually, I've heard a lot of the same from other workshop attendees - that they want the new moves/combos/technique/other wisdom from the teacher. I think too that there are a lot of people out there who do want the choreos, but that perhaps there is more room for the style/technique workshops than is currently being met by workshops.

    I'm about 50/50 with content for my workshops - around half of them are choreo based and the rest are all technique. So far the choreo workshops are proving more popular, but I suspect that's because wings are an exciting 'it' prop at the moment and people are less into specialising in golden age style oriental improv.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default When i started to attend

    workshops regularly, several years ago, i was denying to attend a workshop with too many people. "Too many" might be a number over 30, or a number that is too much for the (small) room the workshop is taking place.

    In 2009-2010 i decided to try again the populated-popular workshops, thinking that at that time i had already enough training to attend any type of choregraphy/technique workshop. Well, all my attempts were real failures. Of course both the teachers and the students (more or less) were following the advice mentioned above for big workshops-be-fruitful.

    But after the workshop, i realised that i had not a real image of how to study afterwards on this, i had not really felt that i had any chance to have access to what the teacher was really teaching. It is not that the teacher was not teaching well. but due to the distance we had, i was unable to see a full sequence of movements as other students were (not in purpose, i think) dancing in front of me, or nearer the teacher.

    After this, i promised myself that i would stick with my initial "workshop policy". I decided that in an art lesson, esp. in a lesson of oriental dance, working with too many people in the room turns the art lesson into a factory-outlet. Everybody can buy something at fair price, but at the end, the quality is so bad, that only if you were looking for low quality (just like a cheap T-shirt for your next picnic) you will be happy with it.

    It might be a bit more expensive but i prefer to pay well a teacher who respects the fact that there are students who do not just want to say "i attended the workshop of X famous teacher" but who want to really learn something.

    I think that if oriental dance world has turned into an industry and if dance education became factory-like (as it is in universities!), then it is up to us, "customers", to impose our standards and press with our stance that this is over.

    PS/Concerning the fact that the market wants famous teachers to give an aura of authenticity to the workshop, choreographies for "ultimate sparkling costumes" and for ca/tri/folk-baret contexts only... well, i think that it is up to students to ask for something else!
    Last edited by walladah; 09-26-2011 at 04:31 PM.

  5. #15
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darshiva View Post
    Actually, I've heard a lot of the same from other workshop attendees - that they want the new moves/combos/technique/other wisdom from the teacher.
    Well there you go; to mix my metaphors I suspected I was ranting to the converted here.

    Gah - why didn't I post an "anyone going to Shimmy in the City" thread? I'd have loved to have a meet up.

    I went to Khaled's Mohammed Ali St - I expected the choreo format (and to get lost), but he repeats a lot and gives you background and "not like that, like this", and always does a demo, and in my experience will drop some of the choreo if people aren't getting it. I know what to expect, no gripes there.

    Wael's Hagallah Fantasy I enjoyed despite choreo frustrations. It was Tito's Sha'abi on Sunday, the one I'd been really looking forward to, that drove me nuts. Where I was - no corrections, no like this not that, no chance of seeing what was going on and no chance of catching up if they rotated the rows or split the class, 'cos my view is still 95% someone else's butt. On the plus side, Famous Bellydance Megastar behind me can't follow a choreo she can't see either, which made me feel a lot less useless.

    I don't expect personal feedback. I don't expect to get more than a couple of take home ideas/ lightbulb moments. But until I gave up the struggle and sat out and watched I was getting a big fat nothing and learning diddlysquat about sha'abi, which is what I'd signed up for, and feeling rather ripped off.

    Perhaps everyone in the class at this level was expected to know it all already... well I'm no expert but watching people doing it all sharqi'd up - ummm, no, they don't. Why not try to teach it to them? Please?

    I'm absolutely not dissing Tito - I'm sure in a small class he is pure awesomeness. Watching him was interesting and I did get something out of that (in a dance-scholarly way, of course...).

    It's the format: learn so&so's XX style choreography, with an emphasis on the choreography, rather than learn about XX style. It really puts me off future workshops.

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Unless you can see the instructor where he/she is mounted above or have enough room to see then it's almost not worth going to. I usually don't remember the choreo from just a workshop but I do like workshops that feature a lot of combinations. But even if I do take a choreo class, I don't go with the idea of remembering it but learning new moves and combinations. And the really big workshops I don't go to anymore, it's too much!

  7. #17
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    I was there I gave up on Jillina we kept moving to new stuff before I had even seen the combo - let alone got it right

  8. #18
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Well there you go; to mix my metaphors I suspected I was ranting to the converted here.

    It was Tito's Sha'abi on Sunday, the one I'd been really looking forward to, that drove me nuts. Where I was - no corrections, no like this not that, no chance of seeing what was going on and no chance of catching up if they rotated the rows or split the class, 'cos my view is still 95% someone else's butt. On the plus side, Famous Bellydance Megastar behind me can't follow a choreo she can't see either, which made me feel a lot less useless.

    I don't expect personal feedback. I don't expect to get more than a couple of take home ideas/ lightbulb moments. But until I gave up the struggle and sat out and watched I was getting a big fat nothing and learning diddlysquat about sha'abi, which is what I'd signed up for, and feeling rather ripped off.

    Perhaps everyone in the class at this level was expected to know it all already... well I'm no expert but watching people doing it all sharqi'd up - ummm, no, they don't. Why not try to teach it to them? Please?

    I'm absolutely not dissing Tito - I'm sure in a small class he is pure awesomeness. Watching him was interesting and I did get something out of that (in a dance-scholarly way, of course...).

    It's the format: learn so&so's XX style choreography, with an emphasis on the choreography, rather than learn about XX style. It really puts me off future workshops.
    I loved it - but sometines had to stop and just watch. was also analysing every move as to what makes this different - (I found this easier to do in person than watching a dance on Youtube) Ibut a lot of people were just learning the choreo and didn't seem to take the style on board.

    I also have the dvd - which Tito GAVE me! So I will be studying that. i think it was valuable to go over a whole choreo in terms of what makes that style, or his style in particular.

    Mind you this is because I adore his style and that is exactly how I want to dance. I just couldn't get my head round Jillina's workshop because I will never dance like that in a million years and don't aspire to.

  9. #19
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lara View Post
    Re-read your post and want to clarify... I think you went the wrong way with your conversion- 70 pounds would be 108 dollars, yes? & I'd like to know- is that for a 2-3 hour workshop? a full 6-8 hour day? a weekend? Makes a difference knowing what the going rate in various areas is.
    Ok the price was for a 2.5 hour workshop. With a big star that is £35.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    Ok the price was for a 2.5 hour workshop. With a big star that is £35.
    Thanks for clarifying! So currently, in the UK a 2.5 hour workshop is running about 55 for a big star (yes, I just said that to get it into my barely awake brain!) That's about going rate for workshops here too.

    Considering how many people (myself included) are willing to pay $75-$200 *per hour* for private lessons with traveling instructors (going rate here), I suspect you could find enough people interested in a middle ground of a small class for an intermediate price- just one more option to consider when hosting a workshop.

    So, I am wondering... what is the maximum number of students *you* are comfortable with in a workshop class? what is the most you would pay for a class which you know will be limited in size?

    BTW- I really hope you are all telling the workshop organizers about your problems too! It's hard to fix things and make a better workshop if one does not know there are problems in the first place!

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