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  1. #1
    Junior Member Silverfyre's Avatar
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    Question Want to further my study

    Hi all,

    This may be a long one so apologies in advance!

    I have been belly dancing for almost 3 years now, I have been studying ATS for that time with some tribal fusion workshops and dvds to supplement my ATS. Now, 2 of those 3 years I was unfortunately unemployed so I had ALOT of time to practice my dance, I have been dancing daily for between 1 - 3 hours as well as a weekly 75 minute class. I have been thinking lately what I want to do with belly dance in the future and I really do want to teach it, however I know that with only 3 years experience I am not as far along in my journey as I should be before teaching.

    I'm planning on doing FCBD general skills next year if there is one and then do teacher training in 2014 or 2015 if I feel I'm ready. Unfortunately I haven't had the best ATS teacher, she is usually 15 minutes late to class, always lets a bad day affect her teaching, never taught us zills and she herself has not furthered her training since becoming a teacher, in fact I have learned more via DVD's and online classes than I have in her classes although I still attended so I could get some group experience. As terrible as this may sound, I know that this is definately not the kind of teacher I want to be.

    So, my main focus is of course to further my study of ATS itself and get a good grounding in the moves and technique but I was wondering if there is anything you would recommend for furthering my study in preparation for teaching in the future? Are there certain courses I should take? I am considering doing a First Aid course and an Exercise To Music course, would these be valuable? Any books that you would recommend on culture, history, music? I want to make sure that when I do eventually teach, my students not only learn the moves safely and effectively but understand the culture, the music, the history, everything.

    I know I stated I dance ATS, however if there are any books or dvds related to other styles that you think would still prove valuable I would be very happy to hear any suggestions

  2. #2
    Member AyaKara's Avatar
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    Spend your time completing ATS (especially those zills!) with a new teacher if possible, & then do Egyptian style. Egyptian style is the 'traditional' style, so I think knowing about it can help you really teach the history of the dance & the differences between two. Otherwise, practice, practice, practice!

    Are you considering getting SharQui certification? What's your plan? Do you have to become a fitness instructor to become a non-SharQui BD teacher? Do you feel that you can live off of being a BD teacher for the rest of your life while still keeping your passion for the dance alive? I'm new to this stuff myself, but these are general questions that I would ask myself & look for the answers to if I were you

    I'm sure that the many other ladies & gentlemen here can answer your question much better than I can (I'm just a newbie after all ) but just keep up the good work, work hard, & stay dancing! I'm sure that you'll be an amazing teacher

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    One thing I believe is vital is to study with a range of different teachers. Live teachers - ideally with feedback but even attending a big workshop and experiencing a different approach to teachong is beneficial.

    I also think AyaKara has a good point - if you want to teach belly dance it would be a good idea to know what traditional belly dance is. I've come across too many tribal only people who say some really dumb things through ignorance (for instance not all belly dance is "skeletal" - a misnomer but I do know what they mean - and improv is at the heart of traditional belly dance). If it is just background a year or so would be plenty.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Silverfyre's Avatar
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    Thanks AyaKara and Kashmir for your input.

    AyaKara, I wasn't considering getting that qualification, I will be aiming for the FatChance Belly Dance certification instead.

    I think I may well follow your advice and study Egyptian, I had thought of Flamenco also just as another totally different style but I have a bad knee and I have heard Flamenco is tough on the knees.

    Could you give me some advice on how to find a good Egyptian style belly dance teacher? What should I be looking for? I want make sure I find someone who knows thier stuff!

    I agree with you Kashmir, I have experienced quite a few tribal belly dancers saying stupid things about egyptian and other styles of belly dance, saying it's all just glitz and to seduce men and all that stuff. I know not everybody likes the same styles but I think we should all respect each other as dancers no matter what style people choose to study.

    Is it worth getting a First Aid or an Exercise To Music certificate for teaching or are they unnecessary?

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    snipped and rearranged for clarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    AyaKara, I wasn't considering getting that qualification, I will be aiming for the FatChance Belly Dance certification instead. Is it worth getting a First Aid or an Exercise To Music certificate for teaching or are they unnecessary?
    You really need CPR and First Aid if you are teaching in the USA. A nice compliment to those basics is a certification in personal training from a reputable company. Not the kind you do in a weekend or just send money to in exchange for a certificate. It's been my experience that most weekend fitness certifications are mostly brand licensing and will not be useful for teaching dance as art. Most aren't even useful for teaching fitness.
    Next, you *could* choose to go through a certification course with a dancer/school who offers one. Sometimes they mean something and sometimes they don't. Pick one based on who you want to dance like and teach like and if they are well respected in the belly dance community.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    Could you give me some advice on how to find a good Egyptian style belly dance teacher? What should I be looking for? I want make sure I find someone who knows their stuff!
    I'm sure Kashmir and others will also weigh in on this.

    Go to as many classes as you can to find the best fit. Watch the teacher perform if you can. Ask how long they've been teaching how long they were a professional performer before starting to teach. Ask what they cover in their classes and who their favorite dancers are. If they name mostly non-Egyptian dancers as their favorites instead of Egyptian ones, they might not be as knowledgeable as they could be about Egyptian dance. Ask for book, CD, and DVD recommendations. Ask yourself if the teacher's knowledge and tastes matches what you want to learn and do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    I agree with you Kashmir, I have experienced quite a few tribal belly dancers saying stupid things about egyptian and other styles of belly dance, saying it's all just glitz and to seduce men and all that stuff. I know not everybody likes the same styles but I think we should all respect each other as dancers no matter what style people choose to study.
    Ugh. I really hate hearing that that "cab-uh-ray is just tits and glitz" attitude is still around. I was hoping it finally died out

  6. #6
    Junior Member Silverfyre's Avatar
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    Thanks Jane for your advice

    I live in the UK so I'm not sure if I need CPR and first aid but for myself I would prefer to get a certificate in it before teaching, I did do one in college here but you need to renew it every 3 years and I haven't yet.

    I'll definately take up your advice on finding a good Egyptian style teacher, I'll get looking tomorrow and see who I can find.

    Yes I was quite surprised to hear the whole "glitz and tits" talk from some tribal dancers I know, I think a lot of it is caused by lack of knowledge to be honest. Most of tribal dancers I know have only studied tribal and haven't ventured outside of that.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    I think I may well follow your advice and study Egyptian, I had thought of Flamenco also just as another totally different style but I have a bad knee and I have heard Flamenco is tough on the knees.

    Could you give me some advice on how to find a good Egyptian style belly dance teacher? What should I be looking for? I want make sure I find someone who knows thier stuff!
    Flamenco posture would help with ATS - but otherwise it is very, very different. So you can save your knees (although the few weeks I did don't seem to be that hard on them)

    Now, what do you mean by "Egyptian style belly dance teacher"? Do you just mean traditional belly dance? or actual Egyptian style? or are we talking Hilal? Personally I would avoid Hilal if you want to learn belly dance - although in the old days their teaching of technical movements was very good and worth going for.

    If you have a choice of teachers ask about where they learnt; how long they have been studying; when was the last workshop they attended as a student; what styles they teach. (Avoid anyone who "has always danced" - or "was a dancer in a previous life" - or gives mostly non-bellydance training. Look for at least 5 years study - and ideally several years teaching experience. Also avoid anyone who says they have learnt everything they need to know - unless they can actually show a couple of decades of hard slog. If they don't know what style they are - they maybe suss - ask who their influences are. Or they may really teach a valid fusion of styles)

    Bonus marks for a teacher who knows something about how the body works and how to safely warmup (I'm attending a comtemporary class at present where we "warmup" by rubbing our skin - needless to say I get there 15 minutes early to prepare for a very demanding class)

    If they are teaching "Egyptian" as well as Orientale they should know some Egyptian folkloric styles as well. (But veil and zills are not needed as much)

    I wouldn't be too fussed about how they perform unless it is obvious they really don't know what they are doing. Many excellent dancers are not good teachers - and vice versa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    Is it worth getting a First Aid or an Exercise To Music certificate for teaching or are they unnecessary?
    This may depend on where you are teaching and also on your insurance. First Aid is always useful. I also found papers and workshops I did in Safe Dance very useful - that is a mix of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology plus stuff about student liefstyle choices and also the physical teaching environment. The Uni paper was heavily biased to ballet - but there was scope to adapt as need be (belly dance movements, though, are much harder to analyse than ballet). I was also very lucky to attend many hands on sessions with a physio who also knew belly dance - but they'll be rare.

  8. #8
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Since you're in the UK, you could consider the JWAAD 'safe delivery of bellydance classes' course (JWAAD Safe Delivery of Belly Dance Classes). I did this before I started teaching and I'm glad that I did. They teach about health & safety requirements, anatomy for dancers, safe warmups, lesson planning, and various other useful stuff. Although the focus is on Egyptian dance, some tribal dancers also do the course, and I think it's applicable to everyone.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Silverfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Now, what do you mean by "Egyptian style belly dance teacher"? Do you just mean traditional belly dance? or actual Egyptian style? or are we talking Hilal? Personally I would avoid Hilal if you want to learn belly dance - although in the old days their teaching of technical movements was very good and worth going for.
    OOPS!!Thought I had replied to this ages ago, clearly I must have typed my reply and then closed the window

    Anyhoo, by egyptian style I mean actual egyptian (sorry, should have been more specific!)

    I've looked for teachers nearby, one teacher says she teaches "Baladi, classical Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, Tunisian,
    Algerian, pop Arabic, Polynesian, Tribal, Indian Bollywood" To me that sounds weird that she is adept in SO many styles but maybe thats just me, should I be wary of someone who teaches lots of different styles? Should I be looking for someone who focuses on one or two styles?

    Also, could any of you lovely ladies recommend me some videos of what you consider good egyptian dancers? I saw a performance the other night of a dancer doing Raqs Sharqi....and I found it pretty awful, I actually felt a bit embarrassed for the girl. But maybe she was just not particularly skilled so I dont want to judge the entire dance on her performance. I am eager to see what people who know what they are talking about would recommend

  10. #10
    Member Imeera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverfyre View Post
    Also, could any of you lovely ladies recommend me some videos of what you consider good egyptian dancers? I saw a performance the other night of a dancer doing Raqs Sharqi....and I found it pretty awful, I actually felt a bit embarrassed for the girl. But maybe she was just not particularly skilled so I dont want to judge the entire dance on her performance. I am eager to see what people who know what they are talking about would recommend
    I am sorry I can't help more but I can give you examples of Egyptian dancers as an Egyptian style dancer in training I recently asked this question myself to get a feel of what Egyptian style is really like as many videos I am not sure of or are Cabaret. Dancers from the Golden Era of Raqs Sharqi in Egyptian Cinema is and always will be the best place to start if you want to see what the dance is like. Dancers like Fifi Abdo, Samia Gamal, Naima Afek, Sohir Zaki (please forgive my spelling!) are just some of the dancers that are amazing. However it is an older style of the dance and obviously has changed. However to see more I found this amazing Facebook page via the Bhuz forums that has the ledgends in high quality videos; http://www.facebook.com/raks.sharqi.videos

    In a thread I started to find dancers alive today Jane and Kashmir gave me a list of dancers that are Egyptian for me to look at and learn the style. Thread: http://bellydanceforums.net/dance-st...vorites-2.html

    Where they are from are highlighted because Kashmir said one very important thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    If you want to dance like an Egyptian ie "Egyptian style" - I would strongly suggest you start with only Egyptian born dancers. Once you can see what the real Egyptian style is then you can move onto foreign dancers who dance Egyptian - like Yasmina, Shareen, Ranya. Then you can start to see what is Egyptian and what is a foreign accent. If you start with anyone who is labelled "Egyptian" you are likely to miss the whole point of Egyptian.
    Outi of Cairo- Finland
    Diana Tarkan- French Algerian and lived in many countries
    Samasem- Sweden
    Dandesh- Egypt
    Nour- Moscow
    Aisha Azar- USA
    Randa Kamel- Egypt
    Aida Nour- Egypt
    Raqia Hassan- Egypt
    Orit Maftsir- Israel
    Lena Helt- Sweden
    Zahra Zuhair- USA
    DaVid of Scandinavia- Norway, currently USA
    Saida- unsure?
    Shareen El Safy- USA
    Tito- Egypt
    Ahmed Fekry- Egypt
    Faten Salama- Egypt
    Lubna Emam- Egypt
    Aziza of Cairo- Italy?
    Camilla - Egypt
    Adia Nour - Egypt
    Raqia Hassan -Egypt
    Dina - Egypt
    Lucy - Egypt
    Lubna - Egypt

    Good luck!

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