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  1. #1
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Default email from my teacher

    Some of you may know about my dealings with my first teacher who only passed 2 students from her beginners to "advanced" class out of 20.

    6 months later when teacher 2 is temporarily off the scene I went to ask if I could now join "advanced" class. I said I could fit in with other intermediate classes I had been to and this indescribable look came over her face, and she said "I don't think so" I said "I'm not a beginner!" and she replied "Well I think you are". Although I knew she hadn't seen me dance for 6 months, I still took this hard as a blow to my confidence.
    Actually I am currently in someone else's beginner class, mainly because the style she teaches is too athletic for my knees. I am receiving appropriate help. THIS teacher has eyes in the back of her head and constantly gives feedback both critical and praise.
    Anyway back to subject. I emailed Teacher 2 about private classes and she replied recommending a RBrice dvd for practice exercises saying "They are challenging but I think you have the ability to have a go at this level. Practicing to this intensity will really start you off in good stead to advanced level, and then when I see you for private classes I can help with what you find difficult and to hone your skills."
    I am so pleased. I knew in my heart that I could be good, but it is so difficult when the local scene is so small. additional difficulty is that I really want to dance egyptian. the first teacher is the only egyptian style dancer in this town, but I really don't rate her teaching style. I have a friend in Advanced who says it is just as bad there, so I will eventually have a problem in development.
    But for the moment

  2. #2
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    Hang in there Jenc, a few months ago I thought my belly dance days had come to an end, as there was only one teacher in my city and I had so many problems with her...

    Then, one fine day, a dancer that had been living overseas for years, comes back to the city with this amazing experience and knowledge (egyptian style) and I am learning so much from her

    And now, because of work, I have to move to another city, where there are tons of good dancers, so I will finally be in a situation where I can explore and choose, or maybe even learn different styles.

    So, as you can see, the bellydance fairies protect us, and I am sure things will work out great for you

  3. #3
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Congratulations for finding someone who has enough faith in you to let you have a go! What would be so dreadful about teacher 1 just letting you have a go at the "advanced" class and seeing how you get on?

    How long does she expect the average student to stay in beginner class Jenc? Don't the ones who are nearly ready to be "advanced" get, er, unchallenged? alongside new beginners. I could understand it if she was giving lots of individual feedback on your technique so you could progress at your own rate within a multi-level class, but it doesn't sound like that's how it works.

    All these classifications are pretty unhelpful without explanations IMO. One persons advanced is anothers improvers. I wonder whether it says something about the teacher's estimation of the dance if she has enough advanced students for a whole class (and one with a stringent entry policy at that)...

  4. #4
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    Ditto to the above. Good for you that you found a good teacher who is encouraging and positive. I know from experience, one bad teacher is all it takes to turn you off to something. I am glad you stuck with it...Your an inspiration to all

  5. #5
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    She told me that beginners only want to learn a dance I got from this and the whole situation that she thinks that most people who start aren't serious and will just leave at the end of beginners - which they do.
    She also said that it is a shame that she doesn't teach intermediates.... That's when she offered me the chance to retake beginners and she would try and layer the class. I wasn't convinced, since I had already been bored that she would be able to do that.
    Firstly, I dance a lot better than some in Advanced, who snuck in under the radar by signing up directly to what the college calls Level 2 classes. Thing is by not teaching intermediates and by stating that you take "Advanced" at your own risk, ie she won't be able to lower the teaching level to help anyone new, she effectively doesn't engage in teaching technique by constructive crticism. Many of the students in advanced have been with her 4 or 5 years and some of them have unresolved issues. For example a dancer of 5 years who says at Hafla in front of her teacher that she can't do shoulder shimmies. One girl I dance with elsewhere has problems with a basic shimmy. They got into that class years ago, and have had no help since. The class focuses on 5 dancers that are a troupe with teacher. There used to be only one teacher back then of course.
    I don't want to do teacher baiting. I just want to move on. I am just so pleased and relieved that someone thinks I am good enough. I have been having cold sweats thinking what if I am dreadful and the new teachers just aren't saying so. BUT NOW I AM

  6. #6
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    You are lucky to have someone in the UK who is capable of teaching "advanced" lessons.

    I know of only a handful of advanced (are we talking Egyptian style here?) dancers in the UK and not all of them would teach advanced classes by their own admission.
    I don't know who your teacher is but I assume she has the credentials to call the class advanced
    It really is time we rethought the labels we give to our classes. After having seen so called advanced classes at halfas and felt my jaw drop with disbelief, with knowing the high standards demanded by say the JWAAD sceme of training belly dance teachers and knowing that I am having to work very hard as part of dance troupes.
    I also heard how dancers at a festivals just didn't get some of the more technically good dancers around and yet some will fall all over the bopper throwing herself around to Shakira or some soul mooning around listlessly to New Age music.

    Having said that if you have a really proficient teacher, drilling basic moves is never gonna do you any harm. Why not get together with other good beginners and form a small dance troupe to lift you own performing interest. Do you want to belong to a closed and maybe unwelcoming group who may be there because the teacher understands the group dynamics as much as the ability. I know of a teacher whose students just arrived at her more advanced class on the grounds of their longevity with her and how difficult was it to tell them...well actually you are not as good as some newcomers.Of course she couldn't so there they are and they preen themselves as "advanced"!!!!!!!!!!! They are loyal students and customers. You just might be better off if you have unfriendly souls in advanced, staying in a so called beginners . Make sure you attend workshops and festivals and improve on your own terms.
    An anaology. My husband started a B team for snooker at his local sports club and before too long it was the B team not the A that reached the first division of the league.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    PS I can give you examples of truly advanced dancers in this country beginning with Tracy Gibbs ( my fave........who pops up here on the odd occasion) Do the girls in your advancedclass reach that standard?
    I bet not!

    I truly hate these labels!!!!! Advanced should mean just that.
    Ho hum we live in an age when someone is a star because they get the knickers off on Big Brother!

  8. #8
    Member Salma Parvaneh's Avatar
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    Hi!

    Here in Germany, we have a good infrastructure in teachers. It begins in the smallest village with a most unknown name and end in our capital city, Berlin.

    But there are some pieces of land where -if you are on a very high level, you are a teacher, a masterclassy or something like that- you have difficulties to find the right teacher.

    to be honest: if you are a teacher or masterclass - it is not a reason to stop taking lessons!

    What we did was to hire some good teachers, picked a city in the middle of nowhere so that we all had to travel and told him (yes, it is a male dancer from egypt) what we expect and he told us what he was missing in our dance. We meet once a month.

    Why I write this? I think it is a possibility for you to find (for example by internet or belly dance magazines) some women who suffer from the same problem and build a community. Then you can find a teacher/several teachers and a place to meet. It is not necessary to meet every week, once a month is quite good if it is intensive.

    Try it-it will work!

    KR
    Salma

  9. #9
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Why do you think I put "advanced" with quotes. The "Advanced" class that won't have me, learn choreographies in 10 weeks instead of 20 but there is no teaching of improv or music or what makes egyptian dancing different/special. They may learn "advanced" steps, but without proper feedback or without revision of basics. I went to a workshop organised by this teacher with the excelent Heather Burby who advanced my understanding of egyptian dance, and in practice too. Afterwards she and her troupe had a private with Heather. My spies tell me that nothing from this workshop filtered down into class. The dance style is carbon copy teacher and is too petite and precise for me. you are not encouraged to find your own style. I am happy not to be there.

    The new teacher when she returns is an unknown quantity. BUT she has promised to teach choreography and develop dancers' own styles.

    As for local class advanced being the same as national advanced, I think we all know the gap. (except maybe Teacher1...). Ithink that is part of the problem for UK that we have many teachers who should be continuing their own development, and are just having occasional workshop.

    My new teacher is tribal inspired, although she is a wonderful stick dancer, so I hope she can teach me what I want. But actually, it will be wonderful just getting critical feedback after having to use dvds to supplement my lessons. Most of where I am now is down to dvds and I assume that I will have some issues when with a good teacher. for example, I spent my first year with an uncorrected posture. I could see that other dancers wre having problems doing some moves because their posture wasn't lifted, but it wasn't until I saw photo of myself dancing that I realised that I had a problem myself. I was actually told that teaching good technique (specifically posture because that is what I asked about) wasn't necessary for beginnners. I now curse the lady as it is a bad habit that goes right through your dance and requires serious hard work to put right.
    Last edited by jenc; 03-09-2008 at 12:24 PM.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    You lucky girl to have had Heather Burby to a place near you.
    D'you know, I know of a teacher who sounds just like yours..keep it all to herself so she can seem so superior to her class ! Mmmmmm another pet hate.
    Whatever she is like, I reckon your new teacher sounds a better bet!

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