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  1. #1
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    When is it ok to go out on your own???

    Hi girls, I am fairly new to the Belly Dance scene but have been dancing in various forms since I could walk and Fire Dancing for quite some time....Recently at a party I was doing my thing like you do and some girls asked me if I would teach them... I said I would if they could get ten girls together not expecting them to... I now have a class ... I was wondering about the etiquite of that... is it too soon (have been bd for 9 months) will my instructor be ok with it .... was wondering what you think...

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I don't know if you're a good bellydancer, but I personally think only 9 months bellydance experience is way to short to start teaching. I think it's ok to teach friends a few moves you know, but you can't really call that a "bellydance class". I'm taking bellydance classes myself and I really like to have an experienced teacher that doesn't only know how to dance, but also knows a lot about the music and the history of the dance and, very important, she knows how to teach!
    If I were you, I would clearly explain to these girls that you like to teach them some moves, but you're not very experienced, you're not a real teacher and if they really want to learn how to dance, it's better to send them to a real teacher (maybe your own teacher?).

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    Thankyou for replying moon.. i understand what you mean.... thats why i was hesitent.... fire dancing is similar to BD in ways but it is very tribal... I told them that i could only show them the basics and what I know and feel they would benifit by going to another teacher but they are pretty incistent... What I do is a fusion of tribal fire dancing and what I would call belly dancing.... i understand that i would have to emerse my self deeply to get a true understanding.... i was just wondering, what the deal was and if i was commiting a massive faux pas

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    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    I cannot agree more with Moon!

    If it was only a one-time thing, where you show off a few moves to a group of friends, part of, let's say, an oriental-flavored "girls' evening" of some sort... sure!

    If you want to introduce your friends to this wonderful dance and this wonderful world by showing a few moves, and then encourage them to sign up for classes with your teacher for example... why not?

    I think it's great that your friends are interested in knowing more about the dance, though! But after 9 months, I don't think you are quite ready to teach But that's my personal opinion of course, not a "professionnal" opinion!! (I've only been dancing for 2 years and nowhere near pro level!)

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    Thankyou Mariyam, I took the advise both you and Moon gave me and asked my teacher about it which was the essence of my ??? she feels that I have the capabilities and has told me to go for it and to take some formal training in regard to teaching.... thank god I did'nt make a big blunder and have her get mad at me she has been dancing for twenty years and has eased the concerns about my limited BD experiance.... I should have explained that after my first lesson I was placed in the advanced class and given three solo's in our repitoire (not bragging) I will show them what I know then pass them on to Galina for the further training.........

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    V.I.P. chryssanthi sahar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elly-beth View Post
    i was just wondering, what the deal was and if i was commiting a massive faux pas
    Well actually you were! Teaching belly dance after having participating lessons for only 9 months is a joke!!
    Even if your teacher approves your teaching abilities, this doesn't really give you the skills to teach. And if I am honest, I even doubt about the professionality of your teacher, if she finds it o.k. that a total beginner (because this is what you are after 9 months of belly dancing) teaches a class on her own. Maybe you are very talented, but still you lack a lot of knowledge and experience. And a last question: do you know at all what style of belly dance you are dancing?
    Sorry for the hard words, but I belong to the people who adore this dance and take it very seriously ( I've been dancing all together for 22 years now, 6 as hobby and 16 as a professional dancer and teacher) and I am not amused at all, when I hear about things, who harm the dance and make the level sink. I suppose I made myself unpopular, but I had to tell my sincere opinion, because this is a serious faux pas!

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    Default when it is ok to go out on your own

    Hi there, i think you are very sweet to ask this.....But i have to agree with the above that 9 months is still a verry short time,i dont understand why your teacher agree,s and tell you to go for it....There is so much to learn stil for you be patient,and spend your time studying this art and than the time will come ,,to go out on your own,, study more if you want to perform...and muuuch more if you want to teach....but dont looze your sweetness on the way....best of luck and happy dancing huggiies Lydia

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elly-beth View Post
    Hi girls, I am fairly new to the Belly Dance scene but have been dancing in various forms since I could walk and Fire Dancing for quite some time....Recently at a party I was doing my thing like you do and some girls asked me if I would teach them... I said I would if they could get ten girls together not expecting them to... I now have a class ... I was wondering about the etiquite of that... is it too soon (have been bd for 9 months) will my instructor be ok with it .... was wondering what you think...
    Good topic elly beth. My opinion is this, the beginning level is a crucial one. This is the foundation that students will build everything on so the education needs to be very strong and thorough so they can progress with a solid foundation. Posture, movement families, proper execution, music, purpose, cultural information, essence etc. A teacher should be able to instruct her students on every point. I’ve seen students with under a year of training that show great talent in technique. Which is wonderful! But there is a lot more to the dance than technique. Could you tell your students what style you are teaching, about its essence, what its history is, Oriental dance in the Mid east, its cultural context, can you teach your students about the oud, saz, kanun, tabla etc. how to dance to the music, to taqseem, to the different sounds different instruments produce, how to fulfill purpose as an Oriental dancer, emoting the music, improvisational technique, choreography… Do you feel you could field questions accurately, because there will be questions, about the dance? Can you break down movement in a variety of ways, can you structure a class in a proper progression, what comes before what…? In most circumstances I don’t think 9 months is enough to have a command of most I mentioned. So in the long run the teacher would be doing a kind of disservice to the students and to the dance ultimately. Students trust that the teacher is an expert so your word is gospel. If I were you I might re-think holding a class on my own. I began teaching after 5 years of formal study and my first class I co-taught with a seasoned dancer/teacher. If your teacher is supportive of you teaching, what about approaching her to co-teach with you?

  9. #9
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,
    Good question Elly-beth, I've been thinking about this since I've seen it happen in my area from time to time but I cannot do anything else than agree with this and what the other ladies here are saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chryssanthi Sahar
    Well actually you were! Teaching belly dance after having participating lessons for only 9 months is a joke!!
    Even if your teacher approves your teaching abilities, this doesn't really give you the skills to teach. And if I am honest, I even doubt about the professionality of your teacher, if she finds it o.k. that a total beginner (because this is what you are after 9 months of belly dancing) teaches a class on her own. Maybe you are very talented, but still you lack a lot of knowledge and experience. And a last question: do you know at all what style of belly dance you are dancing?
    Sorry for the hard words, but I belong to the people who adore this dance and take it very seriously ( I've been dancing all together for 22 years now, 6 as hobby and 16 as a professional dancer and teacher) and I am not amused at all, when I hear about things, who harm the dance and make the level sink.
    This is how I feel also. Even with just three years of experience in my case I can certainly say 9 months of experience is not enough. I've been learning and educating myself day by day but still feel I'm not experienced enough to teach(now I also suck at teaching anything lol but that's just me )
    Dear Chryssanthi, your words may sound harsh to some people, but they are simply true and coming from a highly knowledgeable person.

    The fact is that 9 months of experience is way too short to start teaching. You might know moves and would be able to teach some friends to do some moves, no doubt, but fully teaching a class? How on earth could any proffessional teacher approve of this anyway? How about everything else you need to know? Culture, music, dance styles... so much information you need before even thinking of teaching.
    One needs to have a solid foundation for teaching, not just 9 months of experience, no matter how good you are or how fine your technique is.

    Hearing about stuff like this happening makes me feel like anyone could proclaim to be a danceteacher whenever they feel like it, regardless of what it does to the reputation of the dance, not to mention the foundation the other students will get learning from an underexperienced teacher.. That's my two cents anyway.

    My advice to you would be to hold off on teaching, practise and learn till you drop, and ofcourse till you know enough to say that you are really capable of teaching a class, with (IMO) at least YEARS of experience.

    Best wishes, Yshka
    Last edited by Yshka; 08-09-2006 at 10:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Member Hadassah's Avatar
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    I'm sure you are a marvelous performer, Elly-beth. However, I have to agree with the others. Teaching at this point in your dance career would be detrimental to yourself, and especially to your students. We've had quite a few discussions on this topic, and we've pretty much come to the consensus that less than five years of dance experience(on average) is much too soon to teach.

    Especially in the style of Raqs Sharki(Egyptian), isolations and foundation moves are the CORE in which all other movements are layered onto. If a student never grasps those ten or so core movements, she will never be able to call herself a true bellydancer. And bad habits are hard to break.

    I am not a good teacher. I cannot explain the muscles, joints and such,used in each movement. I can show you, but I can't tell you in a concrete way. And beginners need a concrete way to understand the dance.

    Perhaps you could focus on teaching workshops on fire exclusively, since this is your forte. I'm sure you have knowledge to lend there, and this would perhaps satisfy your obvious desire to teach. I just would hate for your students to become flustered and upset at you because of your limited knowledge of ME dance. Please hold off for at least another year or two...
    Much affection.

    Also, you are very lucky your teacher didn't get angry at you for going ahead and teaching a class without her knowledge. This is a MAJOR faux-pas, and pretty disrespectful.. I'm surprised that with 20 years experience, she never told you this...Don't mean to be harsh, but here again, ethics are the core to professionalism.
    Last edited by Hadassah; 08-10-2006 at 02:26 AM.

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