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  1. #1
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Default Attention Teachers

    You have got to read this thread of Shira's over on facebook!

    https://www.facebook.com/Shira.net/p...52419081835313
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
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    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Great catch!!


    I REALLY wish we had ONE place to have all these great discussions -- with a good way to thread and archive old messages. Our collective wisdom is spreading out over dead sites like LiveJournal and Tribe, still active places like Bhuz and OD, a million different Facebook forums, plus Yahoo mailings and the old MEDance list -- it's too bad we can't keep it in one place.

  3. #3
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    We can always link it all back here when we spot them.
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
    Skype classes a specialty.
    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

  4. #4
    Member MissVega's Avatar
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    I didn't read the thread, mainly because I have always taught that from first class to private lessons, musicality, improvisation, listening to the music and feeling how to move, and why to move etc should be taught from the very beginning. If you only teach technique (at any level) you teach someone a movement, not how to dance.
    I've actually gotten a bit of flack for it before, so I'm glad that it is being talked about.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    There's a lot more to belly dance other than technique. Musicality, expression, cultural elements, stagecraft, etc should all be taught.

    But at the beginning level, honestly, there is only so much you can teach before the student has at least some basic technique under her belt.

    Musicality and culture are things I try to throw in from the very beginning because it needs to be taught alongside the technique (technique doesn't exist in a vacuum), and some very basic elements of stagecraft are thrown in there as well (things like how to position a move for best audience visibility, when to enter, etc) but expression I never ever teach until the student can do basic moves with some confidence.

    I just think it's ridiculous to expect someone to express themselves before they have a reasonable level of technique mastered, I feel like it's too much to ask them to focus on at once.

    But by the time you are doing choreography or improvisation (at middle to advanced beginner levels or intermediate levels) absolutely, expression needs to be talked about or else the student will develop the bad habit of focusing only on technique and performing this way.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    I just think it's ridiculous to expect someone to express themselves before they have a reasonable level of technique mastered, I feel like it's too much to ask them to focus on at once.
    I agree.

    However, in my post on facebook, I wasn't talking about SELF expression, I was talking about EMOTIONAL expression. There are things that can be done even at the level of brand-new beginners to help people capture and feel the FUN and JOY of dancing. Ie, the teacher can choose to use joy/fun as the emotion to be expressed, and then do exercises in class that will allow those emotions to come out while dancing.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    I agree.

    However, in my post on facebook, I wasn't talking about SELF expression, I was talking about EMOTIONAL expression. There are things that can be done even at the level of brand-new beginners to help people capture and feel the FUN and JOY of dancing. Ie, the teacher can choose to use joy/fun as the emotion to be expressed, and then do exercises in class that will allow those emotions to come out while dancing.
    But even for something like that, you need at least some mastery of basic technique, wouldn't you say? Or are you telling me that from Day One (or Two, or Three) you are doing exercises to allow emotions to come out?

  8. #8
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I know I am. I'm tying it in with posture, but yep, it definitely comes in before we get to technique, musicality, improv or choreo.
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
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    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    But even for something like that, you need at least some mastery of basic technique, wouldn't you say? Or are you telling me that from Day One (or Two, or Three) you are doing exercises to allow emotions to come out?
    On Day 1, after teaching a couple of basic moves, such as hip drops and shimmies, first I drill those moves, going around correcting technique individually. Then I put on some lighthearted Arabic pop music with a good beat and have them experiment with switching back and forth between the two, improvisationally. Then I add a third move, such as hip bumps, and drill that with corrections, then add it into the improvisation. Then I pause the music, compliment them on what they've accomplished so far, and warn them that I'm going to try to make them laugh. I put the music back on and have them start improvising again - as they do so, I make funny faces at them and do other stuff intended to lighten them up. It works - by the time they finish that improvisation exercise, they're smiling and having fun.

    The way I see it, this dance began as a social dance, as something people do for FUN. Most of these students will never perform in front of strangers, not even at a hafla. I feel it's a higher priority to teach them how to dance socially, for fun, than it is to perfect technique - at least in the first 2-3 days of class. This also gives me an opportunity to mention the social-dance aspect of belly dancing, which is the history/culture lesson aspect of the first day of class.

    I wouldn't delve deeply into intricate emotional expression the first day of class, but I do think it's valid to get them to experience the dance as FUN right from the beginning.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    That's interesting, but I don't love that approach for myself. I don't start improv or choreography exercises until students have some belly dance vocabulary under their belts. I think it's important to incorporate improvisation in classes early on, just not as early as Day 1.

    The way I see it, if I'm trying out a new class I'm nervous enough as it is... I'd feel a bit stressed about having to improvise using material I just started learning and probably can't even execute yet. For me it would be impossible to think about expression... even if I am having fun, it would take away from my focus, having to think about trying to show that I am having fun.

    So I approach my classes from that angle... trying to think about how I personally would have preferred to be taught. But I am sure it works for your students.

    Anyway, this is why it's good to take classes from different teachers. Different teachers have different philosophies and teaching methods which will resonate with different students.

    And details aside, the main point still stands. It took me many years to find a teacher who taught anything other than just technique so trust me, I know just what you mean. I had to teach myself a lot of what I know by reading, interacting online, and watching videos, so it's very important for me to pass on that knowledge when I teach.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 01-28-2013 at 09:25 AM. Reason: merge

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