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  1. #11
    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Default Scale it to where *you* are in your dance

    Kayshier,

    Everyone raises a lot of very good points; one can tell that there is a wealth of experience here that we can draw on. That said, this is the first time you are going to a workshop, so many of these (again, very valid and useful) tips may not make sense for some time. I think that there are differences in what one should look for when starting to attend (vs. after some experience in attending). I am embarrassed to say that I did not start going to workshops until 2005, after I had been dancing for 4 years; the plus side is that I still remember how I felt . . .

    So,

    1. How many people have you studied with? One skill we need in our study is to learn how to learn from someone new. If you have only studied with one teacher, you will be developing this at the same time as you are trying to lean the material in the workshop. It can be overwhelming, so pace yourself.
    2. How good is your endurance? If you only dance for an hour a week, a 4 hour plus workshop may exhaust you. If you have to travel to and from that day, factor that in, too.
    3. Do your teachers like the instructor(s) in that workshop? If you like your teachers, find out if they like that instructor. Details like that will tell you if you can build on what you already know (a good thing), or if you will be tackling new territory (can be a good thing, but is also more demanding).
    4. What is the overall value proposition of that workshop? Only you can do the math on this one.

    In my case, the first workshop I attended was a one-day, six hour workshop, with three instructors teaching between 1 and 2 hours each (with breaks), and out of town -- it was at the Beach! I went because one of my favorite teachers recommended it as one of the events she attends each year. At that point, I had studied with 4 or 5 different teachers, so I wasn't worried about "sudden teacher confusion" -- I figured I had enough experience in adapting to teaching style that I could manage. I was exhausted by the end of the day; but, since it was at the beach, my husband agreed we could make a long weekend of it, so I had time to recover before we had to drive (4 hours) home. For my mind, that math worked. Of course, I now had a new addiction to contend with.

    Caroline, you asked, "If you see someone perform and it is not up to your standard, do you not want to learn from them? does it put you off?" This is actually something I have been struggling with and posed in another thread. I can say it is particularly daunting if you don't discover the issue with the instructor until you are in the workshop. I am at a place in my dance where I am trying to figure out what I can learn even under those circumstances.

    Regards,

    Anala

  2. #12
    Senior Member Marya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I was thinking about what people have said aboput seeing people perform first before taking a workshop with them.

    I am interested in exploring this if anyone is interested?

    It got me thinking about people I have seen dance and did not like it and wondered if I could respect them as a teacher?

    I also thought of the workshops i have enjoyed but never saw the teacher dance (name went before them sort of thing), Shareen El Safy, Morocco, Aida Nour (have done so since) etc. etc. I knew them by name only.

    If you see someone perform and it is not up to your standard, do you not want to learn from them? does it put you off?

    honest answers please
    good question as usual Caroline,

    It is not a straight forward answer though. I have taken workshops with people whose dancing I did not really like because they could either teach really well (their technique was just fine) or they were teaching something I couldn't get anywhere else.

    Mostly it is style that I am looking at, if I don't want to dance like X then why would I want to take a workshop from them? Some dancers teach more than one style and so while I may not want to study Raks Sharki with X I may want to learn Raks Assaya or Gawazee from them.

    But it is also knowledge base, does the teacher know more than I do? I am at that point in my dance education where I know more about the music, culture and history than a lot of the big name (USA) dancers out there.

    I can tell by watching someone dance what they know about the dance and what it means to them and what kind of person they are. I wasn't able to do this until recently, I had to reach a certain level of understanding myself before I was able to do this. I know this sounds like just blah, blah, blah, but in a way it is like having a conversation with someone (watching them dance). Only this kind of conversation really reveals their soul.

    Marya
    Last edited by Marya; 12-06-2008 at 04:04 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I was thinking about what people have said aboput seeing people perform first before taking a workshop with them.

    I am interested in exploring this if anyone is interested?

    It got me thinking about people I have seen dance and did not like it and wondered if I could respect them as a teacher?

    I also thought of the workshops i have enjoyed but never saw the teacher dance (name went before them sort of thing), Shareen El Safy, Morocco, Aida Nour (have done so since) etc. etc. I knew them by name only.

    If you see someone perform and it is not up to your standard, do you not want to learn from them? does it put you off?

    honest answers please

    Hi Caroline! I've only been dancing for a year but have been to lots of workshops during this time and so will have a go. I think if I see someone perform and don't like their dancing, then yes it does put me off going to their workshop. There are a great many workshops to choose from here in the UK, so I would choose to save my money for a workshop I'm really looking forward to. Money and time are always constraints and I want to make sure I learn from who I really WANT to learn from. I hope this answers your question.

    The first thing I do when deciding whether or not I want to take a particular teacher's class is try to find a video of them dancing, be that on you tube, on the teacher's website or other forms of media, if available. This does not always work of course, but most of the time it does. I also have a regular teacher who is very much like me in what she expects from a class. She also knows what I'm like, what my interests are, my personality and my strengths and weaknesses. So, her valued input if always welcome if she's taken from that particular teacher before. Forums like this are also helpful when it comes to finding out people's experiences with certain teachers and the way they teach.

  4. #14
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oona View Post
    I think if I see someone perform and don't like their dancing, then yes it does put me off going to their workshop.
    I agree with you. But like Marya said, if they are teaching something I'm really interested in, or their technique is fine and it's just something about their style that isn't my cup of tea, why not. I'd quite like to have a go at sword balancing and at this stage I would be less fussy than I might be with more experience.

    And I've seen dancers when I've been too much of a noob to appreciate what I'm seeing and what I might be able to learn from them. It's worth keeping an open mind!

  5. #15
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    I am going to bring another point into the discussion. I am a person who due to isolation has to rely on DVD's for my learning most of the year. I started going to workshops about 3 or 4 years ago on a regular basis so I can get some live teaching. I have even attended a workshop of a dancer i'd never heard of but was assured by the organizers that she would be teaching things I would enjoy. What I've found is that I have gotten something out of every workshop I have attended even if it is choreography. Usually I forget my notebook so I never get to write notes down but I do come back with things I can use and think about. I even buy the DVD's from Little Egypt so I can get things I'd never get otherwise. some workshops are great, others not so great BUT I've gotten things out of every one I own. I think I made a decision early on that I would find something worth remembering and I have.

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the thoughts and I am still thinking about this one..

    Do you think there aresome people who have become more well known through their teaching and personality?

    I am thinking of a few people who are very well known, but I didnt think their dancing was very special at all.

    I thought it was perhaps my tastes but I also know the difference between a great dancer and someone who is just OK, and it has little to do with taste.

    I have asked others about their thoughts and they say... yes, great teacher, person bla la bla ..performance..not really.

    What do people think of this?

    can people become 'well known' before people learn the difference between what is good and average or what?

    Help me fathom this one out please.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    If you see someone perform and it is not up to your standard, do you not want to learn from them? does it put you off?
    I wasn't think so much "up to standard" as style. Some styles leave me cold - BDSS spring to mind

    But if the dancer's technique is actually poor - as opposed to in a style I don't like - but s/he has a good reputation as a teacher - and the dance isn't actually beginner level. Then yes, I would attend the workshop if it covered something I wanted to learn.

  8. #18
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    When I was a workshop virgin I was happy to take on anything and everything, luckily for me that first festival and following workshops were mainly technique and drill based.

    Choreo based workshops seems to be a current trend and although I get something (even if its just one new move) out of each one I find them less rewarding. I don't take notes or video the dance so if something sticks then great. I prefer to improvise.

    Raqia Hassan was my first follow the bouncing but style and I got heaps out of it back
    then but if I hadn't practised a bit with the old Reda video I may have been at a loss
    .
    Today though I am more picky and do the research before signing up.
    as for the question "would I take a class with them if I thought the performance was not up to scratch?" more than likely Not unless someone I respected raved about then I would consider it.

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