Up coming solo

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I did my first beginner solos (and all subsequent ones) as improve. Choreography is necessary for ensemble dance, sure, but I toss my students into improve as soon as they've got three or four movements in their repertoire. Awkward at first, better with practice and encouragement. Haven't had any of them hang up their dance shoes then and there, either. 'Course, my students don't wear dance shoes. ;)
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I do see the benefit of choreo in bellydance, but I honestly think it is detrimental to beginners to learn a choreography, especially if it's in place of improvisation. Improvisation is an essential skill in bellydance, it is imperative that beginners learn it at the earliest opportunity (be it from day 1 like I do or after a few classes when they have a small body of moves like Shan does) You can create choreography through improvisation. The reverse is not true.

Improv teaches one how to respond to the music in a very personal way. Choreography teaches time-keeping and unity.

I recently decided to remove choreography from my term classes and instead teach choreographies and choreo composition as workshops. Time-keeping, unity and sequencing can be learned without learning a choreography and are integrated into my lesson plan in a way that suits learning to dance for and from the self. I've found that when beginners learn choreography from the beginning they develop a reliance upon it. This is my way of dealing with that issue whilst still building the skills essential to learning and forming choreography. I may not like choreography but I'll be damned if I'm not going to give my students the best dance education I can possibly give them! I may be going off topic here, but I would LOVE to hear how other teachers integrate those elements in their lesson plans.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
(be it from day 1 like I do or after a few classes when they have a small body of moves like Shan does)
Shan's students have a small vocabulary by the middle of the first lesson. ;) I actually teach more choreography now than I used to since my students delight in ensemble work but there are several very good solo dancers in the group whom I tossed into the deep end of improvisation years ago. No reason not to toss the others in as well.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has chimed in on teaching beginners improv. Yes, I know choreo has a place in bellydance, but I'm afraid that choreo is a staple far too often in my area. I remember as a baby belly how much I just wanted to learn how to DANCE, to be able to just hear the music and have the confidence to just "go with it," but I was in a performance troupe that emphasized uniformity and choreo. :( I know that our troupe was in a business, but learning choreography after choreography did nothing for my creativity or confidence. I'm so very glad to be taking classes that not only teach me how to dance, but helps me to tap into my own creativity. :D
 

BigJim

New member
Just finished a great weekend of workshops in Regina with Ashley Kirkham as the guest instructor/performer. Also performed a solo in the show on Saturday night and am happy to report that there were no major incidences with the cane work. The transitions from one pattern to another felt a little shaky at times but for a first effort not bad. Am hoping to get a copy of my performance and if I do I'll post it on the forum.
 
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