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  1. #21
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maariku View Post
    I agree with Shira - choreo workshops can actually give you more than just another choreo. Sometimes the background of the style is explained. Sometimes you will learn about specific movements. Sometimes you will understand the connection to the music etc.
    Agreed, I don't mind if it is being used as a means to get across other points - technique, feeling, background etc. I've been to great workshops taught exactly this way, really useful and memorable and better than most pure technique ones.

    It's all part of the accurate descriptions issue for me - if it is billed as learn-a-choreography and you aren't into performing other people's choreographies, why bother? If the teacher IS actually teaching a lot more, then IMO the teacher and/or organiser ought to put that into the blurb. Caroline just posted exactly what I mean: "...the product becomes the focus". It's all about where the focus is.

    If I'm paying and I don't know the teacher I'm wary of making assumptions about the content/focus.

    And agree with you Caroline - 3 hours in one go is too long.

  2. #22
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default WQoekshops, etc.

    Dear Outi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Outi View Post
    As student and teacher I like to have mix of workshops with technique, choregraphy and something between. Usually now I only have private classes for some projects or music, so I haven't been on workshop for a few years now.
    I prefer that, too, and seldom attend workshops, except for the twice a year my company sponsors someone.

    As teacher I like to teach technique. But the problem is how the studets learn to dance only doing technique? Especially if the teacher is there only for very short period of time, I think it's best to have different kinds of workshops. The only way to teach or let the students to understand how the teacher uses and hears music is through choreography or doing parts of one song repeatedly with a preorganized structure and order.
    I deal with this by always having a segment in workshops where we "use the movement in a dance sentence". I refer to this section of my workshops as "Suggestions for phrasing", which addresses the movements we have learned in short chunks,incorporated with familiar movement, in context to different pieces of music, making it clear that there are many other ways in which the movement might be used as well.


    Especially after dancing in Egypt I want to teach the feeling and how to use and listen the music. It's so funny when students ask me question about weight or direction or foot and my answer to them is "What ever you like, it doesn't matter". Because in the end it really doesn't. The feeling and being in the momet and the uniqueness of the moment is so much more important. As a student I never understood these kind of answers.
    I completely agree, which is why I do not go in big for teaching choreographies, which make many people seem to buy into a sort of "forumla of dance" on some levels.

    I agree many of your points. When I have class I want to learn something - anything new. I want to be able to hear what teacher is saying, see what he/she is doing, ask questions. I want to hear as much of the background or his/her feeling or ides of the particular music/style.
    As a teacher I'll do my best to give all of that to my students.
    Me too.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #23
    Junior Member Aurelia's Avatar
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    We get so few opportunities to attend workshops in our neck of the woods that I'm happy to learn or at least experience whatever someone wants to teach! However, I do like workshops that include some choreography, even if I don't remember it 10 minutes after I leave. First of all, it's good for my brain But I also like seeing/experiencing new ways to use dance vocabulary, and even if I don't like the style and wouldn't use it in my own choreographies, there are subtleties of movement (like a different way of weighting an arm gesture) that have stuck with me long after the workshop.

    It may depend on how quickly one can pick up choreography, though. I'm sort of an idiot savant of choreography -- show me once, let me practice twice, and I've got it forever -- so I usually get a great sense of accomplishment from workshops with choreography. But one of my troupemates has a really difficult time with learning even very short routines, so she's often frustrated by workshops that are ALL choreography because worrying about getting it "right" gets in the way of learning anything else.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Default Hello, my name is "sore thumb"

    I actually find choreographies to be beneficial, and it has nothing to do with being able to perform that choreo later. They can show the overall artistry of the teacher, what aesthetic does she (we'll use feminine just to make my typing easier -- and, I have only yet studied with one male teacher) want to convey, what dynamic does she put in a performance, how does she piece combos together -- and why? Is there some rule she always uses to make transitions easier? ("I always turn away from the arm that is up.") Is there a story she tells herself to help her interpret the music? ("Ah, now it's raining. Can you see the wind and rain in the pattern of my veil?") Is there a particular way she is executing the move? ("Yes, what you are doing is a legitimate move; but, what I want is XYZ.") It is also the difference between learning a few random phrases or quotes versus reading the entire work. Compare what you get from learning "We are such stuff /As dreams are made on; and our little life /Is rounded with a sleep" versus reading (or seeing a production of) The Tempest.

    That said, I have benefitted from every workshop I have attended, whether based in choreography or not. The one thing that frustrates me more than anything is a teacher who not only cannot explain something, she does not care whether or not she has "taught" anything. This happened once, and recently, and I lost a lot of respect for her in that process. I actually went to this forum to wrestle with "how to learn when you 'can't learn from' a teacher." I am deeply frustrated by someone who claims to teach, but then does not bend her methods to helping others learn. I can forgive a lot, just not that.

    Regards,

    Anala

  5. #25
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    I hate anything over two hours and I dont care who it is.

    If there is a lunch break in between then OK, I can go back and do another two.
    Actually I wouldn't travel for a 2 hour workshop - 3 hour minimum - all day even better (I love the Brisbane intensives which often start at 9am and go to 5pm - granted with breaks and sometimes lectures) For MEDANZ a workshop has to be a minimum of two 4 hour days to even be considered as "maintaining expertize.

  6. #26
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    In praise of small friendly workshops: I've just got back from easily the best tabla workshop I have ever been to. It was small so we could all have a go at transitioning between different rhythms and moods with the drummer, which you don't get a chance at in a big class.

    And I managed to do an improvised drum solo with a real live tabla player. Wooo HOOOO! How much fun is that? Belly dance ROCKS!

    (carry on, I just had to share... )

  7. #27
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Workshops, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    In praise of small friendly workshops: I've just got back from easily the best tabla workshop I have ever been to. It was small so we could all have a go at transitioning between different rhythms and moods with the drummer, which you don't get a chance at in a big class.

    And I managed to do an improvised drum solo with a real live tabla player. Wooo HOOOO! How much fun is that? Belly dance ROCKS!

    (carry on, I just had to share... )

    Dear Aniseteph,
    Congratulations on your improv!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I also like friendly workshops. Re the length of a workshop: Some years ago people used to do these marathon workshops that lasted 4-6 hours, and by the end of them you were exhausted and remembered just about nothing. I decided that if and when I was ever in the position to teach, I wanted to do something different. I did some studying and found that on average, an optimum learning time for most people is about 3 hours, with a break in the middle. I structured my workshops that way and I eventually wrote an article that came out in Zaghareet! Magazine. It was sort of roundly trounced by a couple of teachers that were also on the workshop circuit. So, now I see people going the opposite direction and charging a fortune for 2-21/2 hour workshops loaded with 60 people and it rather makes me a little ill. There has to be a happy medium where we can somehow charge a reasonable fee for a workshop of reasonable length, coupled with not overcrowding the classroom. This is what I try to accomplish. I will never get rich, for sure, but I can feel good about what I am presenting and feel like I am doing right by the students.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  8. #28
    Member Morocco's Avatar
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    Default What I want from a workshop!

    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    A challenge but not a drill session
    To pick up at least one new thing..that doesn't have to be a move . I just want a penny to drop.
    probably not a choreography but that's me. I take weeks to get to grips as my troupe mates will know. However a miracle worker called Morocco actually taught me one in one 2 hour workshop. That has never happened again
    I do like to go to someone new but equally am happy to revisit someone I have found a great communicator eg. I eagerly await workshops with Khaled and Maria at JoY.
    I actually do not want to do anything new, out side of the box. But I would like to expand my expertise of North African folk dance.
    Thank you so much!

    FWIW, I always start my classes with basic Oriental technique as the warmup, but in a very specifically planned sequence & timing, so that the muscles warm up from the larger, more external ones to the smaller, more internal ones.

    First the slower, rounder moves then the hip articulations that will be used in the routine.

    My routines are specifically designed to incorporate technique, phrasing, musicality (the quality of the instrument playing or the phrasing of the singer), "combinations", so that the body & mind will remember them later, when the dancer needs to call on her/his own technique & inspiration.

    It comes along with verbal advice/ cultural info & what IS & isn't Oriental dance. Too often we think: "Well, I can do it, it looks good, it feels OK" & put something in that does NOT belong in a real Oriental dance.

    We are too "into" bigger, harder, faster,stronger". That's not Oriental dance. Jazz, Break dance, Hip-hop, Broadway, maybe, but not Oriental.

    "Drilling" doesn't do it. That is like repeating the same note on a paino ad nauseum in the hopes that a concerto will appear.

    I believe in correcting gently, with proper examples & reasons why - never in a negative manner or by embarrassment. The latter is an ego trip on the part of the instructor & not teaching.

    Will I see you at Majma or Celebrate Dance this year??

    Aunt Rocky

  9. #29
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    Dear Aunt Rocky,

    I am going to sell my liver if that's what it will take for me to get to one of your folkloric workshops. A good friend of mine came to your workshop at Christmas and thinks your just marvelous!

    I wonder if there will be enough of me left to dance by the time i sell my liver to get to you and my kidneys to get to A'isha.

  10. #30
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mya View Post
    Dear Aunt Rocky,

    I am going to sell my liver if that's what it will take for me to get to one of your folkloric workshops. A good friend of mine came to your workshop at Christmas and thinks your just marvelous!

    I wonder if there will be enough of me left to dance by the time i sell my liver to get to you and my kidneys to get to A'isha.


    Dear Mya,
    From many conversations with you on the forum and in emails, I know that you have a great heart and mind, and from what I can see in photos, a way beautiful face as well. You got lots of stuff still left!!
    A few years ago somebody had set up a thing out West here, where Morocco and I were planning to have a blast, as the person had hired me to teach at one of her events where Mz. M. was to be headliner. We were so looking forward to it and then it turned out the woman was a fly by night. Boy, were we pissed!!! But, it would have solved your problem if we were both teaching in the same place!!
    Hugs to you,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 02-17-2009 at 01:43 PM.

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