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  1. #11
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pleasant dancer View Post
    I think the only way your daughter will find out if she really likes bellydancing it to try another teacher, if she can. Some teachers suit some people more than others.

    I was going to mention exactly the same. I had several teachers and some just didn't work for me, but did work for others. There needs to be a click between the teacher and the student, if not it won't work out.
    Each teacher is different, actually very different: teaching techniques (different ways of explaining, different speed of teaching, if very slow it gets boring for many people), how strict they are (some don't let students have fun and talk a bit at all) etc. Plus belly dance style (there are many styles out there and it's personal taste what someone likes)
    I don't think that just the first 8 lessons are important, the lessons after are just as important

  2. #12
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
    So how did it work out.... the first couple of lessons generated some interest... my kid was sick for the 3rd and missed it... instructor was sick for the 4th and missed again... 5th lesson had a venue change to a cramped location... to many dancers... not enough room... by the 8th lesson desire to dance not really there... asked her if she wanted to continue on and answer was "well maybe but this instructor was to disorganized for her liking".
    At this point, all I can tell from this is that the teacher was sick one day and that the class location was changed (which may have been out of the instructor's hands). Was there something else that made this seem disorganized? To me, this doesn't necessarily sound disorganized as much as a teacher working to meet obligations while sick and having to relocate classes for an unexpected reason.

    Personally, without more information, I can't give any better advice than to understand that if your daughter wanted to belly dance, she would work on getting to classes on her own without your prompting. She may have fabulous potential, but it is up to her to decide what to do with it.

  3. #13
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
    Shanazel...

    I hope the topic of this thread flows towards the thought of the first 8 beginner lessons... are they the most important?...

    I often feel that it's the lessons that come after the first few that are the most important in retaining students' interest. In the first 6+ lessons there is enough of a novelty factor to keep most people interested, however what happens next, i.e. when things get a little more difficult, is the crucial factor. Sometimes students get very disheartened when they find it's actually quite a difficult dance to do well and they need to have the positives reinforced, e.g. how far they have come already.

    as a teacher have you evaluated your lesson plan lately to maximize your effectiveness...

    All the time, every term, and sometimes even half term. I had to do this radically recently for an adult education course when both the number of students and the number of sessions were reduced. The students were a very mixed ability/level group also.


    maybe by making a small change here and there you can retain more students to the next level

    Any teacher worth their salt would be doing this I hope, especially if they have had some form of teacher training.

    But at the end of the day:


    that those with an actual desire to dance will continue on and the rest will weed themselves automatically...
    I'm inclined to think this from my own experience. But each student is an individual and there are many different factors involved, so I can't generalise too much. Students are just humans in all our complexity after all!

  4. #14
    Member MissVega's Avatar
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    "So how did it work out.... the first couple of lessons generated some interest... my kid was sick for the 3rd and missed it... instructor was sick for the 4th and missed again... 5th lesson had a venue change to a cramped location... to many dancers... not enough room... by the 8th lesson desire to dance not really there... asked her if she wanted to continue on and answer was "well maybe but this instructor was to disorganized for her liking".

    WHat Mahasati said!
    I actually had a student get upset at me over this before. She missed a class because it was her daughter's birthday. Unfortunately I missed a class because I was travelling out of province and weather/circumstances way beyond my control, all the roads leading home were washed out, physically was no route home). I sent the email out 48 hours before the class when I realized I would not be home in time. And then one more class I had to cancel because my eye was inflamed and swollen and I couldn't physically see to drive. I did all I could do which was offer to make up for the 2 classes that were missed at a time most convenient for the students.
    I've also had the time of my class changed mid session without any say in it. I got an email telling me that it had happened. I tried to reason with them that they can't do that to the students but they pulled "studio policy" and that was that

    No instructor (that I know) ever wants their students to be unhappy or unfulfilled with the classes, but there are occasional circumstances that can't be helped.

    That fact that your daughter projected her reason to not do it on the instructor says that maybe she just feels it wasn't for her, or maybe that the instructor is the best fit for her. That happens too.

  5. #15
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I missed three classes in October to tour Germany and Belgium with a childrens theater group. The rec center allowed my students to come at their regular scheduled time to practice and after I returned, I added two classes to the end of the semester and fifteen minutes to each of five classes to make up for lost time. If any students complained, it never reached my ears and they all professed delight at my chance to see Europe. I am a very lucky teacher.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #16
    Senior Member nightdancer's Avatar
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    my daughter to start taking bellydance classes. She is no rookie as she has 15 years of Jazz Tap and Ballet experience.
    That means absolutely nothing. The music, the expression, the timing, everything is different. She is truly a beginner bellydancer. However, she may be tired. 15 years is a long time to do anything.

    But I do know she's probably not going to try bellydance again and I think it's a real shame because she could be a great dancer.
    That's her choice, at this point. She is an adult and if she wants to be at class, or is interested in finding another teacher, she will do so. As parents, we have the habit of seeing "potential" in our children that not only are they totally unmotivated for, they actively do not want to do. If you keep pressuring her, she's not only going to resist you, it will turn into an active dislike of bellydance as a whole.

    My eldest daughter is built just like an Olympic swimmer, broad through the shoulder, long-armed, with the hip and thigh as her powerhouse. She was on a swim team, and winning, by the time she was 5. Olympics, here we come... By 7, she'd totally lost interest and fought me tooth and nail about swimming. About 9, I gave up. When she started high school this year, she decided to pick it back up. She was the only freshman on the swim team to letter.

    You noted that perhaps a teacher shouldn't focus on teaching more advanced students new concepts, and really focus on the newbies. But let me posit this--Newbies that stick with it are going to become those more advanced students. If they feel they are not receiving instruction, they are going to leave. Every class cycle brings brand new students and then those on their journey. You cannot ignore one for the other. From a business sense, that's suicide. It's your repeat students that pay the bills. If someone is a good teacher, she will balance those needs.

  7. #17
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    I can see both sides of the argument here. I have found that some studios/teachers focus more on dance as a fun hobby, while others take it more seriously as a discipline (definitely also true in ballroom dance and other activities, I'm sure). It is a difficult balancing act and sometimes you have to try a few different teachers till it feels right. But, if the interest is not there in the first place, you could have a hard time convincing someone that another shot is worth it.

    All I know is, after a belly dance class I feel invigorated and ready for more, no matter who is teaching it, or even if I'm at home with a DVD. The music, the exercise, I love everything about it.

    However, when that desire is present, a good teacher (or one that you just connect with) can definitely enhance the experience. When I first walked in to my current belly dance class, I didn't expect much because it is an ongoing, open level class for members of my gym. But the teaching style of my instructor, who focuses on anatomical correctness and building a solid foundation rather than satisfying curious newcomers with veils and prancing about, really hooked me. She really balanced what continuing learners need to reinforce with what newcomers need to learn, and the newbies are "infected" then with the enthusiasm and keep coming back. Or they don't, but that just brings us back to square one.

  8. #18
    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Teaching belly dance is not like teaching math with carefully designed lesson plans to reach carefully calculated goals. There are no clearly defined universal levels of belly dance (student A shall be able to execute perfect chest circles, an American shimmy, and balance a sword on her head while skipping on a log across a pit of alligators).

    Every class requires on the spot re-evaluation and adjustments to meet the changing needs and skills of a wide variety of students. I may have a semester where the entire class advances by leaps and bounds and another where students struggle to learn a decent gliding walk.
    I agree and disagree with this. I agree that belly dance classes RARELY have an organized pattern of teaching them, and that the mixed levels of students contributes to the adjusting (of the course content) the instructor has to do to keep students engaged.

    But, I disagree in that I think far too many instructors use "I never know who will show up this (session, week, class)" as an excuse for not preparing. Now, I have to be careful how I say this, because I have many, many friends who teach (disclaimer: I do not); but, there is a difference between having a plan and deliberately tweaking it vs. showing up and making it up as you go along. I find it fascinating that certain teachers who only dance choreography when they perform come into class unprepared and improvise their way through it -- and they dare to look down on improv dancers! (ok, off that tangent now)

    This lack of preparation appalled me as a student:
    "Oh, I must have left my notes at home."
    "I have to figure out what music to use."
    "What did we do last week?"
    "How many more sessions are there in this term?"
    "Didn't I teach you that already?"

    There were certain teachers that I completely lost patience with because each 1 hour class lost 20 to 30 minutes to digging for notes, trying to find music, trying to sell (scarves, music, etc.), and plugging workshops. Very little instruction or dance happened, and it was a complete "Whitman's sampler" of moves -- you never knew what teacher X would come up with that week.

    There were moments of teaching brilliance with all of the teachers I studied with. I was lucky, in that I had a foundation from "good" teachers before I studied with the one who did every example I provided above. And, having time to mull this over over the years, it has made me REALLY think about what approach I would take if I were to teach. I am all for a syllabus of what will be covered, thought about each week's lesson plan, a framework of how to build on what was covered last week -- in essence, a level-appropriate way of helping students understand what they will be "getting" in that session.

    Now, I may be dismissed as not knowing what I am talking about since I am not an instructor. That is a fair argument.

    But, I have over ten years of experience being a student. So, I think I am WELL qualified to offer critiques on what I did or did not get out of classes. After all, I paid for every one of them.

  9. #19
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    My first teacher was biased, had her favorites, although she gave out some real kick butt classes. My second teacher catered mostly to newbies as the rest of us were in agreement that she didn't really want to work too hard after that. The third teacher taught me good technique but not much else. The fourth taught all improv and catered to those who mostly just wanted a good workout and ignored the students who wanted to become dancers. The fifth was the best of the bunch but she taught what SHE wanted and not want the students wanted.

    There are good teachers and bad teachers. But my point is that no matter what, I was going to become a bellydancer despite whether teachers were good or bad, I moved on to what I needed when I felt the teacher was no longer interested in my education. I had a run of bad luck but it never, ever stopped me from becoming a dancer. So it was MY decision and if that is not first and foremost in a student's goals, no one else can make a dancer unless the drive and passion is there first.

    By the way, I did learn a lot from all of the above teachers and the one I have now is the best. I took what I needed and when there was nothing more I could learn, I moved on.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    i did not see or perhaps missed it...how old your ,,little one ,, is but if she did already 15 years she is not that little....i geuss?....the yes it was metioned before perhaps another teacher ? she was not lucky because differant things classes are not on....but what is said above aswell ,she is new in oriental dance so a beginner a very much beginner student and has to be patient....and you have to be patient aswell.....she will only be a succesfull dancer if she wants to be...if she realy likes it she will not care for anything she will go back and be ,,bored,, patient,, take a crapy teacher on top of that...if she want to do this she will...and if she keeps on making excuses just forget it....it will be a waste of time...

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