Your first class,as a male, what was it like ?

khanjar

New member
I thought to post this question after reading the article,' Finding a teacher and getting started ' on Zorba's website. I had not read the article before I had my first class, but can seriously relate to what is written there, for me, my first class was terrifying, but I am over that hump, and will continue when the classes start again in the fall. I was wondering of other males here, how did you find your first ME dance class ?
 

Mago

New member
I just took my first class tonight and there was my wife and another dancer... and I loved it. I love that my instructor is willing to train a guy, and her other dancers are willing to put up with my dipped-in-concrete shoulders and martial-arts hand waving (my previous dance experience is a Brazilian marital art called capoeira).

It was a great way to learn something graceful... i think I'm hooked, or at least I will be once I get some of the basic steps.
 

taheya

New member
Slightly off topic Khanjar but which teacher did you find to go to? Hope you enjoy the classes!
 

khanjar

New member
Slightly off topic Khanjar but which teacher did you find to go to? Hope you enjoy the classes!
That would be Siouxsie Cooper who I will say when I emailed her, replied no problem, so terrified I was at the first class, and hopeless but she was very patient and understanding. I apparently went to the last class of the season, they are now finished until the fall when I will go again, but this time hopefully I will not be so wooden thanks to Jenna.

Bellydance Southwest Home Page
 
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Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I just took my first class tonight and there was my wife and another dancer... and I loved it. I love that my instructor is willing to train a guy, and her other dancers are willing to put up with my dipped-in-concrete shoulders and martial-arts hand waving (my previous dance experience is a Brazilian marital art called capoeira).

It was a great way to learn something graceful... i think I'm hooked, or at least I will be once I get some of the basic steps.
Feeling a bit clumsy around all the graceful gals, are you? :)

Don't worry, virtually ALL guys, and more than a few of the gals feel the same way! Perseverance moves mountains. :dance: I've been Belly Dance for 7+ years, and Greek Folk Dance for almost 13 - and I *STILL* go into "major male blunder mode" when I'm learning something new!
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
First time

I was really scared. I wasn't quite sure that Morocco was telling me the truth and that men really did move this way in its native culture, but I loved the music so much, I wanted to know how to move to it. I had no plans of doing it anywhere but in my bedroom as I listened to my music.

Once I got to the actual class I was surprised that no one took my presence as being anything worthy of attention, which really helped me to feel more comfortable. During the class, I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't have time to pay attention to what anyone else was doing, but the few times I stole glances around the room, I saw that they too were very absorbed in what they were doing.

Because I'm West Indian, I was use to using my hips, but the torso, FORGET IT! Of course the fact that I had a sunk in chest, stooped shoulders and a severe sway back didn't help things, but I was determined to stick it out and practiced as much as I could at home. No one treated me any different than the other students, although they did find it interesting to see what the same movements looked like on a guys body. Just mild curiosity.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
The only male student I ever had was another dance teacher, so he wasn't the usual newbie belly dancer, but as Tarik points out, most people are too absorbed in their own dance issues to pay much attention to the students around them. What perhaps male dancers fail to realize is that most WOMEN (at least in America) are not any more accustomed to moving the way one moves in belly dance than are men. I have had female students cry in a first night class just because they were stepping so far out of their comfort zones into a place that feels out of control and dangerous, at least at first. For some students, this is part of the allure. For others, it is what finally drives them away.
 

khanjar

New member
My first class, well I very nearly didn't make it what with public transport and all being unreliable, but I was determined. I did not trust the next bus, so I ran to where I thought the venue was, about a mile and a half away. I got to the venue and guessed it was the right place judging by some of those who were going in. I went in and sheepishly went up to an organised looking person and asked, yes I had found the class. Once I had made my introduction, the pressure lifted a bit, first hump. The class, well, it was a dance studio, cushioned floors and mirrored walls.

Then the dancing, the instructor tried her best with me, but I was hopeless, things that I was trying to make move would not and co ordination, forget it. It was a taster class, and I tried to learn what the others were practicing, which was one of the walking movements, again hopeless but I tried, then came practice for a performance they were doing, I chickened out at this and watched and noticed something. All the others there were very impressive, they could do the movements no problem, but they had been doing it for six months plus and the thought is, if they can do it to a standard that looks impressive to me, then I can do it in time, my gender is not a bar to learning and practicing this dance, especially as I have at this point, no intention to do anything more than be able to move to the groove.

The instructor Siouxsie Cooper told me she had taught males before and has no problems doing so again. The rest of the class, as Tarik said, the same here, they just got on with the dance lesson and paid no attention to me. One of the ladies there saw me struggling to move my feet which felt as though they were stuck to the floor, and she said everyone was like that at the start and it takes time, but it comes in time.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Yep - Tarik and Khanjar's reflections pretty much mirror my own. We're talking about MAJOR blunderbuss here! :pray: Nothing worked, my ribcage was welded to my pelvis, my arms were hopelessly rigid, my feet wanted to go in opposite directions, and I was convinced that "everyone" was watching me (of course they weren't)!
 

taheya

New member
Lucky you Khanjar Siouxie is a great teacher I hear! I have friends who have been to her workshops.
 

khanjar

New member
Lucky you Khanjar Siouxie is a great teacher I hear! I have friends who have been to her workshops.
Yes lucky me, in that she was the only one of many that had no problem accepting a male who wished to learn. I am only miffed I missed their performance at a locally held festival, (I got my months mixed up, I thought it was July as the month of the festival).

I have only but praise for her for her patience with me and her observations, which I have yet to do something about, (spine is twisted). I would recommend Siouxsie to anyone so impressed was I.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Khanjar,
Say a big hi to Siouxie for me. We both initially trained with the same teacher and was in the dance company together. I last saw her a year ago at a festival.
She also came on her first trip to Egypt with me about 10 years ago.
She nuts too :D (she probably thinks the same about me as our backgrounds couldnt be any more different!) She was in touch with nature and I was in touch with the city...
 

khanjar

New member
Hmmmm, yes Devon and pylons, oops sorry, city, down here is so much different than up there, I know as I used to live up there.

Of course I will say a big Hi from yourself, come the fall, Autumn when the classes start again. Are you the Caroline mentioned on Siouxsie's Bio in regards to the Mimi La Sardine 1998 to 2000 production ?
 

Mago

New member
I am happy. UNfortunately, due to cash constraints, Im only trianing once a week, but I have my martial arts to play with, so I'm ok.

Thanks for the warm words - its kinda scary to be the one guy in a sea of girls. I know, most guys would act quite foolish, but I had to focus on the dance too much to notice anything...

I don't think i died. apparently i can shimmy well. Nothing else worked though LOL
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Hmmmm, yes Devon and pylons, oops sorry, city, down here is so much different than up there, I know as I used to live up there.

Of course I will say a big Hi from yourself, come the fall, Autumn when the classes start again. Are you the Caroline mentioned on Siouxsie's Bio in regards to the Mimi La Sardine 1998 to 2000 production ?
Yes, that is me.
small world on the internet eh!
 

BigJim

New member
First dance class.... very nerve-wracking... I had started dancing on a do-it yourself basis using dvd's so I had an understanding of the basics. I was lucky to get in touch with a truly great instructor who didn't hesitate to give private lessons to a beginning male student.I live in a small rural town a long ways from the city so regular dance classes are not an option.She gave me enough confidence to attend workshops when they came thru the city.... the first workshop was the most nerve-wracking thing I've done in along time. When I started I was 6"3 and 300 lbs so when I walked into the workshop I didn't exactly blend in... I was an oddity (and probably still am) but besides a few curious glances I was treated great... probably what made it easier on me and the rest of the class was that I had that basic understanding and could fit into the flow without tripping over 2 left feet. Once that first class was over I felt I had overcome a major hurdle and have attended several workshops since. I am happy that I am getting to know a few of the regulars that attend these classes and it's great to feel welcome... P.S.... I'm still 6"3 but am down to 255lbs and feel great....
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I don't think i died. apparently i can shimmy well. Nothing else worked though LOL
Take it dude, take it! I still have problems with "regular" shimmies - 3/4 shimmies I can do, but the straight shimmies I'm on the bottom side of incompetence. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't!
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Can I add a slightly different perspective?

I dont teach weekly classes and only teach workshops by invitation.
I was teaching at a festival April and experienced my first male student.

I want to be honest about my experience as this is about sharing and learning.
The first thing that came into my mind was in the middle of stripping off to change into my workshop gear. I thought oops, followed by a mental struggle of should I go elsewhere or carry on as normal? I carried on as I thought leaving at that point may have been too obvious and made him feel awkward.
He had obviously more experience of this than me and was cool about the whole workshop. I gave him the same attention as the rest of the class but had to think about how I explained some things so as not to come from an entirely female perspective.
It was a small challenge for me but I felt like I dealt with it fine and it all went without a hitch.
What advice would male students give me for the future?
 

Mago

New member
my instructor told me not to worry too much. The dance is the dance is the dance, and you will interpret the techniques automatically accordingly. I have a hard time checking the aggressive energy (im a martial artist) for the smooth flow, but im working on it.

That would be what my instructor told me - she said a male will give the dance male energy and the female give it female energy, and not to worry.

Mago
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I want to be honest about my experience as this is about sharing and learning.
The first thing that came into my mind was in the middle of stripping off to change into my workshop gear. I thought oops, followed by a mental struggle of should I go elsewhere or carry on as normal? I carried on as I thought leaving at that point may have been too obvious and made him feel awkward.
He had obviously more experience of this than me and was cool about the whole workshop. I gave him the same attention as the rest of the class but had to think about how I explained some things so as not to come from an entirely female perspective.
It was a small challenge for me but I felt like I dealt with it fine and it all went without a hitch.
What advice would male students give me for the future?
Carry on exactly as you always do. Don't worry about the femininity - male students are immersed in it and are used to it.

My article on the subject:

Male Student, Now What?

As for dressing room stuff - that's something to play by ear. When I first started, my dance sisters wouldn't even let me IN the dressing room. Then they'd let me in, but shoo me out as needed. Then they'd simply ask me to turn my back. Now, sometimes, they don't even bother with that - and I have to do a quick pivot around - "uh, warn me next time you're gonna take off your bra!"

ETA: What Mago says is truth.
 
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