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  1. #31
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Teaching/ performing/learning

    Dear Group,
    You also can not tell what kind of teacher someone is by the way they are when taking a class. I am an incredibly slow and thorough learner and a very good teacher, but you would never know that if you saw me in a workshop situation. By the time I leave a workshop, I leave with seemingly much less than many other people, but I know what I have learned to the very last degree of it, and not just superficially. When people see me stumbling around in class, they would never guess what my skill level as a dancer actually is because in class, I am more concerned with leaving with something exactly right than leaving with everything. I also rarely know what other people besides the teacher and I are doing, because if I am paying attention to her/him, I have no time to check out other people.
    On the other hand, when I am teaching, I can usually tell exactly what the student is doing or not doing to make movement happen, and I can correct in most cases, because I have made it my goal to be totally aware of the student on an individual basis. It is about their abilities, not their handicaps.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  2. #32
    V.I.P. slinks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Fink View Post
    __________________________________

    Q. Who evaluates my application?

    A. Three rotating certifiers who have been teaching a minimum of ten years each. The certifiers involved are dance teachers, studio owners, and seminar sponsors. It is this group of people who are the backbone of our dance community. They sponsor the seminars, reach out into the community, and train thousands of students each year.
    The bold typo in the quote above really riles me actually .. I've been dancing 9 years, next year, if I own a studio and am a sponsor of seminars "I can train thousands of students a year" oh my .... need I say more !!

  3. #33
    Moderator Safran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshta View Post

    Possibly hijacking the thread a little, but what if you had the scenario of a teacher who has diligently studied the dance for a long time, has a huge wealth of knowledge, has great teaching abilities but just lacks that crucial talent. They're an ok dancer but will never be a great dancer. Could someone like that produce a good dancer, if they find the student with a little bit of natural talent?
    In general, it depends on what you would consider as talent; and on the teacher's personality, but I'd say that it is very possible. If the teacher bothers to dedicate time on students, teaches them as much as he/she knows and encourages (!) to learn more, from other sources and other teachers.

    Hmm, apparently there's a lot more to the task of teaching than mere instructing

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    As for the theory that a good teacher does not have to be a good performer, I also disagree. If someone cannot execute movements correctly, can't dance in time, has no stage presence or cannot create a professional-level choreography, how can they pass on those skills to someone else? If I watch a performer and their dancing is amateurish, why would I have any confidence in their teaching? Performance is proof of their ability.

    I think there is far too much slack cut in our particular dance form which is one of the reasons that it's looked down upon by other dancers. I've even heard people say that you shouldn't be critical of performances because we should admire people for having the courage to perform in public - 'professional' performers?!
    Raqia Hassan does not perform, unless you count teaching itself--running through the whole choreo in front of the class--performing. She can most definitely execute the movements, definitely has the sense of the music and rhythm, definitely has very pronounced stage presence and I have heard her called the best choreographer in Cairo today. But she does not perform herself for cultural/ propriety reasons.

    I took a workshop from her and thought she was a good teacher. She definitely concentrated on the students, circulated through the studio, corrected us individually, broke moves and patterns down well, talked about the style and feeling of movement on many different levels as well as teaching the choreography itself.

    Cathy

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathy View Post
    Raqia Hassan does not perform, unless you count teaching itself--running through the whole choreo in front of the class--performing. She can most definitely execute the movements, definitely has the sense of the music and rhythm, definitely has very pronounced stage presence and I have heard her called the best choreographer in Cairo today. But she does not perform herself for cultural/ propriety reasons.

    I took a workshop from her and thought she was a good teacher. She definitely concentrated on the students, circulated through the studio, corrected us individually, broke moves and patterns down well, talked about the style and feeling of movement on many different levels as well as teaching the choreography itself.

    Cathy
    Definitely agree - Raqia has such a cheeky personality and I love watching her perform a whole choreo in her workshops! If she *did* perform in public she would certainly have been a great performer. Still, we have her performances with the Reda Troupe preserved in 'Love In Karnak'.

  6. #36
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    but watching fellow ('intermediate' or even 'advanced') students in workshops who cannot execute basic movements such as a Suheir Zaki 'chonk', that really is a damning indictment of their teacher! And as for having been in workshops with *teachers* who cannot execute basic movements...
    Just an aside here, but on top of all the issues about teachers, we each have style-centric ways of judging, this being a good example. The chonk has become a basic move in what I call westernized Egyptian (e.g. Jillina, Aziza, many European dancers, etc), but back up for a moment and consider the movement in its original cultural context. In terms of its origin it is really unique to the modern Egyptian style. Its not found in Turkish (as per Artemis Mourat) or Lebanese (personal observation) raqs sharqi, nor is it generally seen in the vintage American Caberet style. Not even all of the Egyptian dancers do it.

    I teach mostly Egyptian style, and I have many intermediate students who come in not familiar with Egyptian movements that emphasize the weighted hip, the front of the body, the waist, the core. These have included several Europeans who had very Lebanese-influenced teachers, as well as Americans who learned the dance with American styling. Its a stylistic thing, not evidence that their past teachers were no good.

    Sedonia

  7. #37
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    Hi Slinks,

    I don't know where the bold print in the quote from me came from- it was not in my original post.

    The point is that to get certified through NATCMED you need to have been performing for five years and teaching for two years. It is the certifiers- those who evaluate the applications- who need to have ten years experience teaching.

    My wife, Z-Helene started dancing in 1976 and I started drumming for her in 1981 and it was a large scene even then. Most of the dancers I knew then are still in the scene and so it's really easy to find dancers who have been teaching for over twenty years!

    If you look at the certification reqirements I think most people will agree that they are pretty reasonable. If you look at the student choreographies we require- one beginner/ intermedediate and two intermediate/ advanced you will understand why a teacher has to have been teaching for at least two years. How could she do it in less?

    We could have required fifteen or twenty years experience and that would have really set the senior dancers above the rest but we didn't do this. Instead we made the certification accomplishment based to give skilled younger teachers a chance to grow and succeed.

    Take care, Rick Fink

  8. #38
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Rick, just curious, but what about teachers who don't approach teaching in a choreographic way at all but rather teach improvisational skills only? After all, oriental dance is, at its essence, an improvisational solo dance form, whether we are talking about Egyptian, Lebanese, or Turkish styles. It is only in the westernized styles that choreography and group choreography play a very important role.

    So could a teacher submit videos of some of their students performing their own improvisational solo dances?

    Sedonia


    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Fink View Post
    Hi Slinks,

    I don't know where the bold print in the quote from me came from- it was not in my original post.

    The point is that to get certified through NATCMED you need to have been performing for five years and teaching for two years. It is the certifiers- those who evaluate the applications- who need to have ten years experience teaching.

    My wife, Z-Helene started dancing in 1976 and I started drumming for her in 1981 and it was a large scene even then. Most of the dancers I knew then are still in the scene and so it's really easy to find dancers who have been teaching for over twenty years!

    If you look at the certification reqirements I think most people will agree that they are pretty reasonable. If you look at the student choreographies we require- one beginner/ intermedediate and two intermediate/ advanced you will understand why a teacher has to have been teaching for at least two years. How could she do it in less?

    We could have required fifteen or twenty years experience and that would have really set the senior dancers above the rest but we didn't do this. Instead we made the certification accomplishment based to give skilled younger teachers a chance to grow and succeed.

    Take care, Rick Fink

  9. #39
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Certification, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    Rick, just curious, but what about teachers who don't approach teaching in a choreographic way at all but rather teach improvisational skills only? After all, oriental dance is, at its essence, an improvisational solo dance form, whether we are talking about Egyptian, Lebanese, or Turkish styles. It is only in the westernized styles that choreography and group choreography play a very important role.

    So could a teacher submit videos of some of their students performing their own improvisational solo dances?

    Sedonia

    Dear Rick,
    I was going to ask abut this, too. I teach exactly one choreography, to my beginners. I have no intermediate classes at all; only beginning and continuing. (I have been dancing 33 years and consider myself to be a continuing student.)
    In my personal opinion, people usually only begin to really get some clues about the dance after having studied for 5-6 years. In general, we are not ready to teach until at least 6 years into our own dance careers on average. ( I know from personal experience, having started teaching after only 2 years. I did a real disservice to my students at that time by not knowing enough yet about what I was doing.)
    I also feel that at some point the length of time someone has been dancing is only an indicator of that and nothing else. There are some very terrible teachers and performers who have been dancing a very long time and some good ones who have a lot less practical experience, because good teaching requires the person to actually care about the dance and the students, and to be able to not only impart information on a lot of different levels, but also to be able to LOOK at the student and see them. This is, I think, a personal skill that can be built on, but certainly not everyone has it.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  10. #40
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    Hi Sedonia,

    Good point. There are a large number of skilled teachers who don't teach choreography either solo or group. And in a lot of ways the skilled dancer doing improv with live muscians is at the heart of our scene.

    The problem is that for certification we can't certify what we can't see and so we need concrete examples of a teachers influence on her students and the best way is to see her students performing her choreographies. We have three certifiers reviewing each application and we want to make sure that at least two of them don't know the applicant so that the process is fair.

    Helene has been following this thread and asked me to make this point. When she teaches choreography at her college the attendance stays higher than when she doesn't. For the record the first part of her class is a structured improv and the second half is choreography.

    Another reason we ask for troupe or class choreographies is that we need to see that you're able to teach your students the basic moves. Go to: http://www.medancecertification.org/syllabus.html on our website and you will see two examples of course outlines by Shadia and Desdemona. Most of you will recognize the basic moves as variations on those you teach yourselves.

    We need to see a video of students performing their teachers choreography and doing the basic moves that she herself has taught them. This proves to us that she knows her business!

    Take care, Rick

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