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  1. #41
    V.I.P. Tarik Sultan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Better go back and read a few more posts, Tarik. You're missing a point or two.
    Wish I could. Could you fill me in?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarik Sultan View Post
    Wish I could. Could you fill me in?
    OP is a beginning student with several challenges, i.e., she is older, out of shape and says she has always been out of touch with her body. She is unhappy with her first course of belly dancing because the teachers is focused too much on choreography for her liking. She is threatening to complain to the rec center where she takes classes in the form of a written letter calling the teacher "unprofessional." She thinks the teacher has been unresponsive to her requests for information about outside study aides such as DVDs or Youtube videos that OP can use to practice with in between classes.

    That's how I see it. The responses have been interesting, to say the least.

  3. #43
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    I probably wouldn't make another decision this way, by committee, but I didn't have enough perspective to do the right thing with the class.

    I've always had a bad relationship with my body. I was a brain without much below. As a kid, I could look down on myself from above when I was stressed out, and I did it until I realized how weird it was, in my twenties. I got interested in alienation from the body, and then I started reading about trauma and dissociation, and how alienation from the body is pretty common in our society, and I started wondering how that happens. How does our society look at the body philosophically, psychologically, spiritually, anthropologically, and are those viewpoints the cause? Is it the media? Is it learned? I wanted to know.

    So I spent two years in grad school, learning about dissociation, and talking about dissociation, and I made a film about it, and I wrote a thesis about it, but in all that time, I never did anything with my body. My advisers would say I was doing great work, but was I ever going to try dance or yoga or any of those other somatic therapies I was writing about? Seven different friends suggested I try belly dancing, but the real question was, was I ever going to get in touch with my body?

    I graduated in 2007, but it wasn't until last year, when I was recovering from some pretty nasty abdominal surgery, that I started doing yoga, sort of seriously every night, using the same video every time, and gradually building a practice. I got stronger, and I liked it. I liked the discipline and I liked the calm, and I liked listening to my body for the first time.

    So then my husband gave me the friggin' lessons, and he's the best man on earth, and that's why I said it was the best gift ever, but also the scariest, because it scared the CRAP out of me to have to DANCE? Are you kidding me?? And then the rec center was stuffy, and the students were cliquey, and the teacher never remembered anybody's name, I'm not kidding, but I tried to talk to her, and I stuck it out for five lessons, and I do practice now from what I learned and what looks good in the mirror, and I think belly dance is the perfect thing for my body.

    I love it. I love how I suddenly discovered my hips. I used to walk stiff in the middle, like an ironing board, because I didn't want to seem too sexy, but now I swing my hips when I walk, every time, because it stretches the muscles I use to dance, and it feels GOOD for the first time to move them. I bought two big mirrors at yard sales and I put on music I love, not the Middle Eastern disco shit they played in class. I play my music, and I try to get my hips to go in all four directions, and I try to isolate my shoulders, and I try to remember what I learned in class, and I do it all for myself.

    I'm a performance poet, so I'm not afraid to perform, but I don't want to perform or be in a troupe. I'm learning belly dance for myself. And for my husband. And so I can maybe live a little longer. And because I really like it.

    The teacher and I were a crappy fit. I knew that, but I didn't know what to do, or what's normal and what's weird in the world of belly dancing, so I came here and asked the students and teachers.

    The sixth class was last night, and I didn't go and that felt just right. I already learned enough from the five classes I took to start learning more on my own, so the money was well spent and there's no reason to ask for a refund. I don't want to burn bridges, so I'm not saying anything to the teacher, and she wouldn't care anyway. I'm not telling anyone in authority either, because as someone said, what good would it do? The other students seemed pretty happy, and I was the only one complaining. I feel like I maintained my integrity and stopped doing it when it felt bad.

    Thanks, all of you, for helping me make an informed decision.

    Starling

  4. #44
    Member chirel's Avatar
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    I think you made a good decision and thank you for letting us know

    One thing I just thought about. Have you heard of Sensory Integration? It means that our senses work together and the brain interprets the signals as a one unit (sorry, bad explanation). Some people have problems with Sensory Integration (SI) and this leads to small and large problems that can be very different in different people. If a person has problems with the sense of balance or the sense of where their own body stops, then they don't like to move. If you've always had these thoughts and feelings, maybe this is the reason.

    Other examples of problems in SI include sensitivity to sounds or light or to cold or heat. One can also the reversed problem: they need sensory stimulation to be able to handle the information, so they like loud sounds and strong sensory input.

    I have this thing and my son has it. That's why I've come to know about this thing. It's not something that can be cured complitely. It's just a way of percieving the world differently than most other people.The important thing is to recognize the reason behind (even if it's not SI) and to learn to live fully despite of it all. Dancing and doing yoga even though it doesn't come naturally to you is a very good thing because you clearly like doing them even when it's difficult.

    (Sorry a little OT)

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by starling View Post
    I bought two big mirrors at yard sales and I put on music I love, not the Middle Eastern disco shit they played in class. I play my music, and I try to get my hips to go in all four directions, and I try to isolate my shoulders, and I try to remember what I learned in class, and I do it all for myself.
    That Middle Eastern disco "sh*t" that you so poetically call it is music I love to dance to. Bellydancing IS Middle Eastern!

  6. #46
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habiba View Post
    That Middle Eastern disco "sh*t" that you so poetically call it is music I love to dance to. Bellydancing IS Middle Eastern!
    She could mean the disco sh*it that comes from the ME. Not ALL the middle eastern music. And I do agree there are some songs that are less interesting than others.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habiba View Post
    That Middle Eastern disco "sh*t" that you so poetically call it is music I love to dance to. Bellydancing IS Middle Eastern!
    You thought the teacher's video was cute. I thought it was wretched. Some people like disco, most don't. Get over it.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by gisela View Post
    She could mean the disco sh*it that comes from the ME. Not ALL the middle eastern music. And I do agree there are some songs that are less interesting than others.
    A student of ME dance after 5 weeks can discern what ME music constitutes as "sh*t"? Maybe... But I'm sure there are far more eloquent ways of stating when something is not to your taste. And as I said, the dance is Middle Eastern and naturally the music in most traditional classes will be too. Besides, the music in the video didn't sound bad at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by starling View Post
    You thought the teacher's video was cute. I thought it was wretched. Some people like disco, most don't. Get over it.
    Charming!
    Last edited by Shanazel; 05-10-2012 at 02:22 PM. Reason: merge

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by chirel View Post
    Have you heard of Sensory Integration? It means that our senses work together and the brain interprets the signals as a one unit (sorry, bad explanation).
    Thanks so much! I'll check it out.

  10. #50
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starling View Post
    You thought the teacher's video was cute. I thought it was wretched. Some people like disco, most don't. Get over it.
    The music in the video you posted was a happy birthday song to celebrate women surviving breast cancer. Are you claiming that you danced to that music in class? Do you think the music, dance, or topic was wretched? The movements in the video were all perfectly reasonable. I didn't even pay attention to the song because it is obviously a special occasion thing.

    Many of the people responding to you have years of study in this dance form. Many are teachers and performers themselves who have taken time out of their schedules to try to help you. Believe it or not, some of us are even academics as well. You have only been to 5 classes at this point in your dance journey. It would be a good time for you to take a step back and re-read your posts and the responses.

    We are all sorry that you had a bad experience in a class, but we can't and shouldn't condemn a teacher sight unseen. Everything you have listed could be either issues of new student perception or existing faults with the class/teacher. For example, I often don't know the names of my students after 5 classes either. As teachers, you see a lot of students come and go, so it can be hard to learn everyone's name immediately.

    I hope that you find a teacher whose teaching style works for you. You may find private lessons a better fit as you have more control over the class topics.

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