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  1. #1
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    Question To Get Along, instructors and tips.

    A two in one merely because I don't want to double post and take up more room then needed.

    As in my previous greeting post, I had mentioned I had difficulty concerning my lungs as far as my health goes. I know for sure exercising and working the chest muscles will help relax and open up my lungs, however I have extreme difficulty with even mastering a simple chest arch. In the classes I took I was told to simply "move my chest" now, at first I thought it was a matter of jutting breasts forward and up, which there in I found my dilemma. No chest to speak of in that regard, however a few classes in I realized you quite literally are to move the chest. Muscles and all, and not cheat by using breathing. I was told to use my "breathing muscle" to help out as far as belly rolls, however when it came to chest circles, jumps, juts and side-to-side I was awkwardly clumsy and miserably bumbling. I attempted to ask my instructor, but she told me what not to do leaving me too shy to probe for more questions on what to do. Any help would be much adored.

    I need advice, or at least some sort of clarity from some experienced instructors. I had recently finished a beginner class, and absolutely fell head over heels for the Art of Bellydancing. I adored the thrill of dancing in a group, giggling and getting a long with other females (which, let's face it. In the modern world it's hard to find other open and friendly women to chat casually with.) I'm shy by nature and didn't exactly begin to open up until a few classes before the instruction would end, i thought i had been building a good bond with my instructor until on the second to last class she kept calling me by a wrong name. She had confused me with someone else, easy mistake, I was horrible with names too. However I felt a bit put off, it seemed extremely hard to form a casual respectful ground with my instructor, I respect and admire her. She was a very spiritual person, trained horses, very earthy and an amazing dancer. I wanted to gain a connection with my teacher so I would feel less uncomfortable when asking for help or a question. But I never really felt that link was made, and on the day I was called by a different name I knew it wasn't possible.

    My question to instructors out there, do you find it bothersome when a student attempts to gain level ground? Are there certain tips? Or am I just over reaching? I just felt it'd be more welcoming environment and secure if I knew I was treated as an individual, rather then another pair of hips to the class. Or is this typical of classes? To be just that? A walk in, go through motions and walk out? One of the many draws Bellydancing had for me was the tight knit culture it seemed to house. And suggestions?

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Wool,

    As in my previous greeting post, I had mentioned I had difficulty concerning my lungs as far as my health goes. I know for sure exercising and working the chest muscles will help relax and open up my lungs, however I have extreme difficulty with even mastering a simple chest arch. In the classes I took I was told to simply "move my chest" now, at first I thought it was a matter of jutting breasts forward and up, which there in I found my dilemma. No chest to speak of in that regard, however a few classes in I realized you quite literally are to move the chest. Muscles and all, and not cheat by using breathing. I was told to use my "breathing muscle" to help out as far as belly rolls, however when it came to chest circles, jumps, juts and side-to-side I was awkwardly clumsy and miserably bumbling. I attempted to ask my instructor, but she told me what not to do leaving me too shy to probe for more questions on what to do. Any help would be much adored.

    I teach my students to envision moving their chests from the bottom of their rib cages and also to lift from the bottom of the ribcage, either all the way around, or in order to arch in a lift of any sort. Breathing also helps to expand and lift the chest, and you should try to breathe through the movements and use breathing as one of the tools for making movement happen. I have asthma and understand and sympathize with breathing issues!!

    I'm shy by nature and didn't exactly begin to open up until a few classes before the instruction would end, i thought i had been building a good bond with my instructor until on the second to last class she kept calling me by a wrong name. She had confused me with someone else, easy mistake, I was horrible with names too. However I felt a bit put off, it seemed extremely hard to form a casual respectful ground with my instructor, I respect and admire her. She was a very spiritual person, trained horses, very earthy and an amazing dancer. I wanted to gain a connection with my teacher so I would feel less uncomfortable when asking for help or a question. But I never really felt that link was made, and on the day I was called by a different name I knew it wasn't possible.
    As a teacher of 32 years who is 55 years old, I often do not remember students' names and this does not mean I don't respect them. It means I have a lot on my mind and am forgetful. I think you may have taken this incident too personally, but I was not there and can not say for sure. On the other hand, it might help you to think about what it is that leaves you feeling uncomfortable in asking questions. Is it something about you or something about her, or something about the class? If it is something about you, you can fix it. If it is something about her, it may be beyond your ability to iron out.

    My question to instructors out there, do you find it bothersome when a student attempts to gain level ground?
    What do you mean by level ground? Especially with beginning students, we are equal as human beings and I try to see each individual as a person who has the potential to be a great dancer. They have less experience than me as a dancer and in dance, I do not usually see us as being on level ground in dance, at this stage in their dance lives.


    Are there certain tips? Or am I just over reaching? I just felt it'd be more welcoming environment and secure if I knew I was treated as an individual, rather then another pair of hips to the class. Or is this typical of classes? To be just that? A walk in, go through motions and walk out? One of the many draws Bellydancing had for me was the tight knit culture it seemed to house. And suggestions?
    [/QUOTE]


    I think we might be getting to the gist of the problem now. I believe that every student in my classes IS a human being and an individual. Each gets individual attention in class and each has different needs and desires. I am not sure how this works in other classes, but I have heard that I do have a rather uncommon awareness of students as individuals. There is an article on my website in the library called, "The Student/Instructor Relationship in Middle Eastern Dance". It might be helpful as to what you should expect from an instructor and what the instructor should expect from you. (Raqs Azar)
    Also, I would advise you early on to separate the dance from dancers and to try to keep your heart and mind on th dance rather than looking for fast and true friendships or single mentors in dance. This is a business and as such can get pretty vicious at times. That's just the reality of it all.
    Best wishes to you and I hope it works out.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    Dear Wool,




    I teach my students to envision moving their chests from the bottom of their rib cages and also to lift from the bottom of the ribcage, either all the way around, or in order to arch in a lift of any sort. Breathing also helps to expand and lift the chest, and you should try to breathe through the movements and use breathing as one of the tools for making movement happen. I have asthma and understand and sympathize with breathing issues!!



    As a teacher of 32 years who is 55 years old, I often do not remember students' names and this does not mean I don't respect them. It means I have a lot on my mind and am forgetful. I think you may have taken this incident too personally, but I was not there and can not say for sure. On the other hand, it might help you to think about what it is that leaves you feeling uncomfortable in asking questions. Is it something about you or something about her, or something about the class? If it is something about you, you can fix it. If it is something about her, it may be beyond your ability to iron out.



    What do you mean by level ground? Especially with beginning students, we are equal as human beings and I try to see each individual as a person who has the potential to be a great dancer. They have less experience than me as a dancer and in dance, I do not usually see us as being on level ground in dance, at this stage in their dance lives.


    I think we might be getting to the gist of the problem now. I believe that every student in my classes IS a human being and an individual. Each gets individual attention in class and each has different needs and desires. I am not sure how this works in other classes, but I have heard that I do have a rather uncommon awareness of students as individuals. There is an article on my website in the library called, "The Student/Instructor Relationship in Middle Eastern Dance". It might be helpful as to what you should expect from an instructor and what the instructor should expect from you. (Raqs Azar)
    Also, I would advise you early on to separate the dance from dancers and to try to keep your heart and mind on th dance rather than looking for fast and true friendships or single mentors in dance. This is a business and as such can get pretty vicious at times. That's just the reality of it all.
    Best wishes to you and I hope it works out.
    Regards,
    A'isha[/QUOTE]

    This was great feed back, thank you very very much. As far as the chest stretching goes, it's incredibly relieving to know breathing is a big part of it. I already feel eager to test it out as soon as I can.

    I guess the relationship I was looking for was something of a respectful but comfortable relationship. I suppose I worded it a bit off by insisting I wanted to be best pals, I just wanted more to feel comfortable enough with her without feeling selfconscious. I suppose the fact that no other student in the class seemed to be asking questions, I felt selfconscious about approaching. But the fact you do treat your classes so respectfully yet keep your standing is great, I hope I can find an instructor like that. That feed back was just what I was looking for!

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Dear Wool,
    I am happy to have been of help. One thing about this particular forum is that there are a great many people here who take teaching seriously and have the students' interests at heart!! It's one of the reasons that I stay active on this one, and because I feel that the quality of many of the discussions is above average! ( Though we DO all seem to slip into moments of profound insanity on occasion around here. We make the most of it!)
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #5
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    Oh, my dear Wool, please don't make too much of a teacher not recalling your name! I adore all my students, but I struggle with names, especially if I am fighting off a migraine. I have also been known to mistake one person for another person. I am 53, have been teaching one subject or another since I was 21, and I have reached a point in my life where everyone I see looks like someone I used to know.

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Moving the Chest
    I use the term "ribs" to focus in on the ribcage. We practice just up/down, then forward/back then left/right before combining them. For "up" I play the walking down the street and wanting to impress game, "down" on a trigger that deflates eg "Wow, he's cute - drat, he's married"

    "Forward" - I get students to hold their hands in front of their chest and get them to push out until they touch their hands. I do something similar for them for the "back" - sometimes touching between their shoulder blades to indicate where the movement comes from.

    Side movement - place your hands on the bottom of the ribcage and push. Then work out how to do it without using your hands.

    For all movements - shoulders and breath are not involved. I also discourage gross movement from the spine - especially the lumbar area.

    Recalling Names
    Like A'isha names are a bugbear for me - even when I was in my 20s and teaching High School (I had a set of photos for each class with names written under them which I used in class and for writing school reports). Not being able to fit the right label to a person doesn't mean you aren't an individual. When I see a student I may not remember her name but I'll know what she is good at, what she struggles with and sometimes her past injuries.

  7. #7
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    Default Clear as day! Thank you all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha Azar View Post
    Dear Wool,
    I am happy to have been of help. One thing about this particular forum is that there are a great many people here who take teaching seriously and have the students' interests at heart!! It's one of the reasons that I stay active on this one, and because I feel that the quality of many of the discussions is above average! ( Though we DO all seem to slip into moments of profound insanity on occasion around here. We make the most of it!)
    Regards,
    A'isha
    It's extremely comforting to know that so many with so much experience dwell the forums and are eager to help. Makes for a very safe enforcement to ask questions. As for the insanity bit? That sounds just perfect to me!


    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Oh, my dear Wool, please don't make too much of a teacher not recalling your name! I adore all my students, but I struggle with names, especially if I am fighting off a migraine. I have also been known to mistake one person for another person. I am 53, have been teaching one subject or another since I was 21, and I have reached a point in my life where everyone I see looks like someone I used to know.
    I completely understand with name sake! I was awful at learning names for a long while, but it was a modest class of originally eight people (one gal had to leave mid way.). I didn't take it too personally, just was slightly disappointed. However I do respect her deeply, and had hoped at least she would have recalled my name. But it was understandable! Especially since she has taught for so long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Moving the Chest
    I use the term "ribs" to focus in on the ribcage. We practice just up/down, then forward/back then left/right before combining them. For "up" I play the walking down the street and wanting to impress game, "down" on a trigger that deflates eg "Wow, he's cute - drat, he's married"
    "Forward" - I get students to hold their hands in front of their chest and get them to push out until they touch their hands. I do something similar for them for the "back" - sometimes touching between their shoulder blades to indicate where the movement comes from.
    Side movement - place your hands on the bottom of the ribcage and push. Then work out how to do it without using your hands.
    For all movements - shoulders and breath are not involved. I also discourage gross movement from the spine - especially the lumbar area.
    Recalling Names
    Like A'isha names are a bugbear for me - even when I was in my 20s and teaching High School (I had a set of photos for each class with names written under them which I used in class and for writing school reports). Not being able to fit the right label to a person doesn't mean you aren't an individual. When I see a student I may not remember her name but I'll know what she is good at, what she struggles with and sometimes her past injuries.
    That has to be quite possibly the most adorable explanation of a chest move I've ever heard. And surprisingly helpful, although I'll have to resist giggling when I think of "Wow, he's cute!" line. Thank you, and that hand move should help as well. I was able to do the up down decently but as far as circles and even forward and back I was at a complete loss.

    For the name sake? Yes, I am the same way. I am a visual learner so that includes names and faces. So it is completely understandable.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Double chest lift Fabulous! Wow!

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