The first conversation

MzHartz

New member
Thank goodness for the internet. I first saw my teacher's dance troupe perform years ago and was impressed then. I followed their website, and later their Facebook page. And then I heard about her classes, but they didn't fit my schedule. It also turned out that we have a mutual friend. So I didn't really have to ask any questions, they were all answered on her website and Facebook, I just had to sign up for the class as soon as I finally could.
 

Kozmique

New member
My first teacher was a man :shok: I asked "A man can teach bellydance??" His response was, "Oh yes honey I am zee best!" :lol:
 

seona

New member
I saw the ad in the local paper and I just turned up. I think all the details I needed to know were on the ad - what to wear/suitability/cost etc. Also my teachers had ads in the paper for salsa lessons, for which she had a recognised qualification, so I thought I must be in good hands! But it didn't cross my mind as to whether she was 'qualified' to teach belly dance. I don't think asking cost to be a strange question, that's a big factor for a lot of people, and if no cost is stated on an ad then that would absolutely be my first question! Also if I'd have had the internet back then, then I would have found classes half hour or so away! (bum, having to wait years!) And no doubt, back then, I would have looked up belly dance on the internet and most likely would have found this forum, and that would have probably given me more of an insight into belly dance and I most likely would have discovered that in the UK there is a JWAAD teaching qualification. I remember asking my teacher on the first lesson about music,( as it was music that attracted me to the dance,) the origins of the dance and we got chatting about her dance background. I'm sure the internet would have definitely given me a bit of an advantage/insight.
 

DancingArabian

New member
For my very first Bellydance class I didn't ask anything. It was through my local community college and the booklet told me how much to pay, registration dates, class schedule and suggestions on what to wear and bring (water, towel, yoga mat, hip scarf if I had one).
 

Yorkshire Lass

New member
Exactly the same as DancingArabian. My first class was with the local further education college. I just booked online and didn't think to ask any questions. Fortunately she was an awesome teacher and I really enjoyed it. I've moved away and not found anyone else who teaches as well as first teacher. I just adored the way she breaks the moves down.

Subsequently, though, I was a lot more questioning of my teachers, trying to find out about their teaching styles, dance styles etc and watching their performances on youtube. I think the more you know about the subject, the more it matters that the teacher is good and teaches in a way that you understand. I also ask about the cost as things are only worth a certain amount to me.
 

MizzNaaa

New member
"Hey mom, am I doing it right?"

"Lift the heel, move your hips, you're not a twig* honey"...

Yep, that was my first question...I think :lol:


*Usually a girl who doesn't know how to belly dance is compared to wood or twigs, we call her "wooden" or mekhasheba, as in can't bend or move right
 

BigJim

New member
In retrospect my first conversation with a real bellydance instructor was pretty humorous.... I had started learning in the basement from Vhs tapes by Neena and Veena.... after a while I decided I liked it and needed more material to work with... after surfing the net I came across a system by an instructor and a phone number to contact...

I phoned her up, explained I was a large,kinda out of shape male who had decided to take up bellydance and was interested in buying her DVD's.... there was a long pause and I'm sure she was trying to decide if I was serious or was someone who was put up to it by some of bellydance buddies to pull her leg...

She was excellent though... she heard me out, suggested I should also work with an established teacher through private lessons (classes aren't an option)to make sure I was learning correctly and referred me to an instructor..

When I called the referred teacher the conversation went something like this..."Hi... I'm a male who would like to take some private bellydance lessons... Hadia said for me to call you as she thinks you are an excellent instructor"

What I had unknowingly done was called up one of the bellydancing greats out of the blue to get advice...

I'll always be thankful to Hadia for the conversation we had and for the referral to a truly great inspirational instructor..

I hope to meet her sometime to thank her in person and I hope she gets a chuckle if she ever thinks about that call..
 

Zanbaka

New member
My first class was offered through the electives program at UW. When I saw the class listing, I knew I had to go. Registration took place through the college, so there was no phone conversation with the instructor prior to the first class.

I do remember getting a few strange phone calls over the past 15 years about my classes. Thank goodness for the internet - I created a pretty comprehensive FAQS page for my instruction several years back.

I'm not currently teaching group classes, but I did get an email inquiry from a potential student a couple weeks ago. When I replied and let her know that I'd be more than happy to refer her to a class, but her main question and concern was about finding a class where there was body positivity and where the instructor wouldn't be "grossed out by having a fat person in their class". That email was truly heartbreaking for me to read. From my experience, most classes in Seattle are body positive, so hopefully she found a safe and supportive space to study bellydance.
 

shiradotnet

New member
In some instances it's very important to check someone's credentials (for example, your surgeon). But I find it a little invasive and confrontational to ask that of a teacher.
I don't think there is anything invasive or confrontational at all about asking a prospective teacher to discuss her credentials. If the person's credentials are legitimate, then she should be proud of her expertise, and therefore she should be happy to answer questions.

If a teacher behaves as though she finds the prospective student's questions intrusive or inappropriate, then I would wonder what that teacher is trying to hide.
 

Yame

New member
I don't think there is anything invasive or confrontational at all about asking a prospective teacher to discuss her credentials. If the person's credentials are legitimate, then she should be proud of her expertise, and therefore she should be happy to answer questions.
I didn't phrase this very well. I don't mean to say that there is something wrong or intrusive about asking a teacher for her credentials. In an ideal world all teachers would be upfront about them and would tell you in the first class or on their website without being prompted. Since that isn't always the case, different people have different ways of finding out the information. Some people are comfortable about asking, whereas others are shy about it.

What I meant to say is that I, personally, would feel weird about asking because I would feel like I might be coming across as confrontational. I'm just the type of person that doesn't really like putting people on the spot, and even if that's not my intention, I'm always afraid of it being interpreted that way. If the teacher really isn't qualified to be teaching, I simply don't want to be the person to confront her/him about it. If I don't like the class, I will just not come back.

But I don't think it would be wrong for other people to take another approach. If you want to know a teacher's credentials before taking her class, there is nothing inherently wrong with asking. I agree that a qualified teacher will have no problem answering that question.
 
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