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  1. #1
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    Default How to pick a teacher?

    Hi. I hope this isn't seen as misusing the forum, but I'm trying to pick a teacher but I don't know what to look for. I found a site and the teacher has been dancing for a while and has a few vids on her site. I watched them and they look ok... I was wondering if I put the link here could you guys tell me whether you think she'd be a good teacher based on how well she dances? If it sounds silly or inappropriate I apologize in advance.

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Basically you need to be sure s/he can teach and is safe - both physically and emotionally (lots of psychic vampires out there who just want to be loved). I wrote and article on this years back - Finding a Teacher. What is missing is checking what sort of belly dance is being taught. It would appear that some teachers out there are teaching all sorts of crap and calling it belly dance.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonstruck View Post
    Hi. I hope this isn't seen as misusing the forum, but I'm trying to pick a teacher but I don't know what to look for. I found a site and the teacher has been dancing for a while and has a few vids on her site. I watched them and they look ok... I was wondering if I put the link here could you guys tell me whether you think she'd be a good teacher based on how well she dances? If it sounds silly or inappropriate I apologize in advance.
    THe perfect teacher can dance, inspire, give and be able to break down movements safely and teach sound technique.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonstruck View Post
    Hi. I hope this isn't seen as misusing the forum, but I'm trying to pick a teacher but I don't know what to look for. I found a site and the teacher has been dancing for a while and has a few vids on her site. I watched them and they look ok... I was wondering if I put the link here could you guys tell me whether you think she'd be a good teacher based on how well she dances? If it sounds silly or inappropriate I apologize in advance.
    I'd be happy to look at them, privately if you want.

    The important thing with a teacher is does she teach in a way you can learn from? My first teacher was a good dancer, danced a great style, but I did not learn well from her. I was lucky that the next teacher I found is REALLY good! I have friends who think she is amazing too ("the best", "why didn't you tell me about her, you are keeping her a secret!"), and other friends who think she is not good at all ("only for beginners", "she just likes to drill you to death", "she's just not a good teacher"), of course we don't agree. (this is about the teaching style, I have seen no one criticize her technique, because she is awesome!B)) So remember that all teachers have flaws, you just need to find someone who works for you. If you are not progressing after one or two series of classes and practicing at home, or you don't like going to that class, then try another teacher.
    Last edited by da Sage; 06-12-2009 at 05:02 PM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    My first teacher I thought was pretty good, until I found my 2nd teacher, then moved to a third (that i am still with, and I also have a 4th. The 4th scared me to death LOL! at first, but she is amazing. I have learn't so much from her and have really forged ahead from her tuition. The 3rd is also a great teacher and I love her to bits we have actually become fast and good friends outside of the dance and travelled together to Egypt in January. She keeps me very grounded

    I do think personality comes into it, you try a teacher out and you either click or you don't. My 2nd teacher is a good dancer but her teaching skills is a bit too much of the Diva for me, yet others like her. Overall I think you need to give a teacher a try out, to see if you and the teacher click .. if you don't click, the lessons become a chore and not something you enjoy.

    Teacher 3 & 4 (mine) are exactly what I need, they are different, but suit my needs and I look forward to classes
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  6. #6
    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    The first thing to consider isn't a video of a performance but word of mouth, find others who their students are (or have been in the past) and ask what they like or don't like about the teaching.

    Then ask both the teacher and the students these questions:
    • What style does she teach? (Egyptian, Turkish, Folk, Cabaret, ATS, Tribal Fusion, etc)
    • How does she teach? Is it "follow the bouncing butt", a breakdown of each move individually, or a combination?
    • How safety conscious is she? Does she make allowances for injuries or health issues?
    • Is there a warm up at the beginning of each class or are you expected to come early and take care of that yourself?
    • What does she consider Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced? Is it based on completing a certain number of classes or are there minimum skill requirements?
    • What are the expenses involved? Do you have to have shoes for class (what kind), are you required to perform, etc...?
    • What are the hours the classes are available and do they work with your own schedule?


    Then you just take a good look and see if the answers you have gotten will fit your needs. I know some dancers who won't take lessons from anyone who requires them to perform in public. Some people don't mind doing their own warm up but for others it's a must to have it in class. Personally I nearly took lessons from someone who teaches ITS because I didn't ask her style and I would have hated it. I'm also very technical, I can't "follow the bouncing butt" or I get completely and totally lost, others learn best that way. I will warn you that this is a very expensive "hobby" because it is so hard to say no to one more outfit or trinket, but hopefully you already know that. So whatever the minimum expense is... just double or triple it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    The first thing to consider isn't a video of a performance but word of mouth, find others who their students are (or have been in the past) and ask what they like or don't like about the teaching.

    Then ask both the teacher and the students these questions:
    • What style does she teach? (Egyptian, Turkish, Folk, Cabaret, ATS, Tribal Fusion, etc)
    • How does she teach? Is it "follow the bouncing butt", a breakdown of each move individually, or a combination?
    • How safety conscious is she? Does she make allowances for injuries or health issues?
    • Is there a warm up at the beginning of each class or are you expected to come early and take care of that yourself?
    • What does she consider Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced? Is it based on completing a certain number of classes or are there minimum skill requirements?
    • What are the expenses involved? Do you have to have shoes for class (what kind), are you required to perform, etc...?
    • What are the hours the classes are available and do they work with your own schedule?
    I would like to do this but even after living here a year I've met very few people and none of them have tried any form of belly dance. Most sites list different levels and schedules, but I don't know how I would go about contacting current students... but that doesn't always seem to work either. My first teachers were ok but I was dissapointed how uninformed on the history they were (which wouldn't matter except they pretended to know so much). My second teacher rocked and I wish she still taught but a lot of things came up (plus I left the state). Even though I love ATS I realize it may be hard to find anything too close to that... but I'm hoping if I take classes with anyone I'll be able to network and eventually find the right place for me. This is a video of one of the teachers (I believe they are in this troupe, but not the 'leader'.. site was a little confusing). It looks nice ^^

    http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3QfORT65Q

  8. #8
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonstruck View Post
    I would like to do this but even after living here a year I've met very few people and none of them have tried any form of belly dance. Most sites list different levels and schedules, but I don't know how I would go about contacting current students... but that doesn't always seem to work either. My first teachers were ok but I was dissapointed how uninformed on the history they were (which wouldn't matter except they pretended to know so much). My second teacher rocked and I wish she still taught but a lot of things came up (plus I left the state). Even though I love ATS I realize it may be hard to find anything too close to that... but I'm hoping if I take classes with anyone I'll be able to network and eventually find the right place for me. This is a video of one of the teachers (I believe they are in this troupe, but not the 'leader'.. site was a little confusing). It looks nice ^^

    http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3QfORT65Q

    OK, I liked them. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know whether that was ATS or ITS, but I enjoyed it, and if you like that style I'd say it makes sense to study with one of the ladies in the troupe. I am a big fan of just jumping in and taking classes, because you can always try someone else if you don't like your first teacher's classes as much as you thought you would. I agree that it's trickier when you have previous dance experience, or a strong style preference (as you do), but the best way to find your place in the local dance neighborhood is to jump in, work hard, and spend more time listening than talking (especially at first).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by da Sage View Post
    OK, I liked them. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know whether that was ATS or ITS, but I enjoyed it, and if you like that style I'd say it makes sense to study with one of the ladies in the troupe. I am a big fan of just jumping in and taking classes, because you can always try someone else if you don't like your first teacher's classes as much as you thought you would. I agree that it's trickier when you have previous dance experience, or a strong style preference (as you do), but the best way to find your place in the local dance neighborhood is to jump in, work hard, and spend more time listening than talking (especially at first).
    Yeah. The only thing that worries me is that they include zills in the beginners class. I have some really nice zills... but even with practice I'm somehow worse than a beginner with them lol. I always thought zills were more of an intermediate thing

  10. #10
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonstruck View Post
    Yeah. The only thing that worries me is that they include zills in the beginners class. I have some really nice zills... but even with practice I'm somehow worse than a beginner with them lol. I always thought zills were more of an intermediate thing
    Around here almost everyone teaches zills right from the beginning. Class levels run from 1 to 3, 4, or 5 (depending on the teacher). I always tell dancers new to the area to start out in level 1 or 2 just to learn the zills and local terminology; they can move up later once they are more comfortable. I'd say take the beginners class, and see if the teacher will let you move up mid-session if their beginner's becomes too easy even with zills.

    I've been out of classes for a few months, and I'm thinking about starting all over again at level 1, when I am able to take classes again.

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