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Thread: Frustrated

  1. #1
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Default Frustrated

    Ok my beautiful people, here's my rant. I currently have 3 classes at the time all within the first 12 weeks of our Beginner A curriculum. This is the first time I've had classes of students who do nothing but walk upright. The greatest frustration is coming from the students themselves and it's so hard to see them struggle with just standing in basic position. Last night my 6 pm class (which is in week4), we were adding variation to the 4 ct base step(forward,middle,back,middle)I had to b-r-e-a-k i-t d-o-w-n v-e-r-y slowwwwllllly and they were introduced to this step in week one. it was just awful to watch feet flying all over the place and bodies swaying in all sorts of directions.Usually there are 1 or 2 such students but the whole class!
    My teacher who was there also, heard but didn't see the class, after the torture was over, she just rolled her eyes. I asked her for feedback and she felt I did what was appropriate for the class at the time. Again the hardest part is that the students are acutely aware of that they have serious lack of coordination. My teacher and I have already started recovery plan:
    1) Stop here in the curriculum, progress no further until the students can truly understand what they are doing.
    2)Drill the moves only esp during warmup-and focus on one set of movements during combination section. For example, just use hip circles with medium paced music.
    3)Offer continued encouragement.
    Does anyone have any other ideas, plans experience along these lines. I truly believe that bellydance can actually help them overcome these physical obstacles and hope they stick around long enough for it to work.
    Yasmine
    Thanks for listening

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you have a good plan, they probably just need more time. I don't suppose you could do a short video from them to practice at home with?

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Dearest Yasmine, all my sympathy and a big hug to you. Keep in mind that what you are teaching these slow ones will most likely change their lives and the way they look at themselves. Immortality is in the people you influence.

    My only suggestion is to let them play for part of the class. When people start to play, they start to giggle, then laugh, and that loosens them up and allows them to let go of some of the inhibitions that add to their awkwardness. I generally have one lesson in "slink-walking" where the point of the activity is to slink across the floor, batting eyelids, smoldering at other students, and pretending to be the hottest item since Theda Bara. It sounds silly, and it is silly, but by the end of this particular activity, everyone is laughing and loose and ready to settle down to the real work.

    Good luck to you! Shanazel

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Students

    Dear Yasmine,
    My guess would be that they are not all clumsy for the same reasons. What kinds of individual issues have you noticed among the students? Are there specific problems that have come to your attention as you watch each student move as a single entity?
    Regards,
    A'isha

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    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    .....slink across the floor, batting eyelids, smoldering at other students, and pretending to be the hottest item since Theda Bara.
    Bwaaaahaaahaaa! Ooh your classes sound lovely, I want to play too!

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    I think that in a situation like this you have to present the material, but back off and go on to something else before the students' collective frustration reaches critical mass. So if after 10 minutes, no one has the foot pattern down, go on to something else that doesn't require stepping -- hip circles or something. No one wants to try and fail at one thing for an hour.

    Continue to cover the movement the next class period, but don't let it take up a huge amount of time.

    Sometimes a class just has a strange group brain fart going on. I have had a class fail to get that particular foot pattern that you described. The next class period I tried again and it went much more smoothly.

    Sedonia

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    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Yasmine,
    My guess would be that they are not all clumsy for the same reasons. What kinds of individual issues have you noticed among the students? Are there specific problems that have come to your attention as you watch each student move as a single entity?
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Hi Aisha, most students as you know begin classes with some mild coordination issues, but often resolve over the course of the curriculum. And you are right not all of them have the same issues(just at the same time). A majority of the group are overweight and it's difficult for many of them to maintain a neutral pelvic position and flexible knee-they are not used to the new weight distribution in basic position, so they pop back to straight leg-butt out-chest forward. The entire class have very limited upper ROM and strength-so for the most part their ribcages hang down over torso. These students do not have kyphosis(humpback). I have not observed the usual reasons such as lordosis, inward or outward hip rotations. During mild dance movement, most are winded and all can't hold their arms at their side for more than 1 minute. Since I have 3 classes, the most junior of the three is past 4 weeks. By this time I've always seen some level of improvement.
    My first analysis at this point is that most of these students DO NOT participate in any form of exercise.There is poor neurological connection from/to the brain and muscle group. The same happens with stroke victims who have paralysis. There's nothing wrong with the limbs it's just that the brain can no longer make a connection to the muscle groups.
    My second analysis is that they do not follow directions despite multiple and varied explanations. Once a positive correction is made and they feel the difference within a split second they are back to maladaptive movements. I don't want them to get hurt.
    Thirdly, they do not ask any questions and do not give feedback when I ask them a question. It's like someone drove them to class and dropped them off at the door. So far Aisha, I think the students are passive learners used to immediate gratification. I'm just going to have to take the class very slowly, create some confidence building experiences. Right now it isn't about learning bellydance but about moving in a purposeful manner.
    Yasmine

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    V.I.P. Kharmine's Avatar
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    Maybe these students have misconceptions -- they've heard how "sexy" this dance is supposed to be, how "alluring" and sensual and whatnot and they're just frozen up with self-consciousness.

    Maybe you could sit 'em all down and ask why them in a friendly getting-to-know-you way why they wanted to take your class and what sort of movement experience they've had before -- as a way to help them open up, feel more comfortable and see what their background is like.

    I once had to teach a small bunch of people how to do a pavane -- an extremely simple court dance from the Renaissance that is basically putting one foot before another in a timed sequence.

    As far as I could tell, they were all able-bodied and willing but they fumbled it time after time. They were way too self-conscious and uncomfortable (we were practicing in a public park).

    I moved them to a more secluded area and we spent a little time getting to know each other while I explained how this particular dance evolved. It was really just an excuse for the upper class to peacock their outfits without having to be very good dancers. Basically, I said, I don't care how "elegantly" you do this, just step to the beat. We did a few stretching exercises to loosen up, and they did better after that.

    But I have to admit, they never were what I could call performance material!
    Last edited by Kharmine; 03-02-2007 at 11:09 PM.

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Yasmine,
    It sounds like you are giving them the individual attention they need and can pinpoint the problems! It is SSSOOOO difficult when people are so out of communication with their own body that they can not tell if their knees are flexed or straight, or if they are standing with the weight on one leg or the other!! I can sympathize as I have just one person like that in class right now, and it can get frustrating for us both!
    Comes the moment, like you say, when you realize you have to teach them to move with purpose, or figure out what they are moving, even!! To have a whole class made up of people who have no sense of their own bodies would indeed be hard to deal with.
    I liked Sedonia's idea of backing away from the movement for awhile and moving on. Sometimes I am amazed at how people can do something two weeks later that was impossible before.
    Best wishes with this class, and you sound like a wonderful teacher!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

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    Member Ariella's Avatar
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    I'm going to agree with A'isha and second what Sedonia said. As a student, it's really helpful if the instructor takes a step back and does something different. I would always get really frustrated when I first started out - I could never get things in class, but then I would drive home and give it a try. Usually I would suddendly be able to do the movement, and be able to do it in class next week. Somehow it always felt a lot less complicated when I took a step back and returned later.
    I think this happens because our brains continue to process things even when we aren't directly thinking about them. Ever go to bed thinking about a problem and all of a sudden the next morning the solution pops into your head in the shower the next morning? It's the same concept. In summary, taking a little break when they just can't get it can be helpful.
    Additionally, if many of them are out of shape, perhaps you can suggest some "bellydance" exercise. For example, suggest certain arm exercises to improve the way they hold their arms, recommend abdominal exercises to promote proper pelvic posture....

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