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  1. #1
    Mega BHUZzer jessedan's Avatar
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    Warm-up session before class...how long?

    I've had instructors who have felt very differently about this. I've had a couple of teachers who have warmed up for about 4 or 5 minutes before beggining a one hour class. This seems reasonable to me because in a one hour class most people don't want to spend half of it warming up.
    At the other end of the spectrum, I've had instructors who will do an entire half hour gym segment of exercise, complete with series after series of abdominal crunches and all kinds of leg arm and torse exercises.
    So, is five minutes of light warm up too little, and is half an hour of exhausting gym training too much? Or do either of these sound about right?

    Regards
    Priscilla


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    I personally do about 5 minutes of warming up for a 1-hour class, mostly using dance moves rather than gym exercises, and transition smoothly from that into review of the previous week's lesson.

    I might use some gym exercises (stretches, mostly) at the end of class for the cooldown, but that usually doesn't exceed 5 minutes, either.

    I'm comfortable with this time allocation, because my classes are typically nowhere close to being as physically demanding as, say, a gym aerobics class. If I were doing high-intensity workouts for the dance portion of class, then a longer warmup would make more sense. But I'm not.

    Also, my students are in the beginner and intermediate end of the skill spectrum. If I had advanced-level students, then it would make sense to do more conditioning (ie, muscle-building and stretching gym exercises) than what I currently do.


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Most bellydance classes don't leap into intensive cardio activity right after warming up, so I don't see much need for a warmup (getting the heart rate up, etc) in the sense that most exercise authorities prescribe. I have people do a few quick breathing/movements to get their major muscle groups warmed, then go right into a technique-based warmup of ribcage slides, lifts, circles, then similar with the hips, then undulations & figure 8s. The whole scenario is less than 10 minutes before we move into drilling new moves/combos and finally choreo.

    (of course, for my baby beginners that stuff IS the new moves/combos so it goes a lot slower!)

    My personal philosophy on the strengthening work is that doing it once a week is sort of a waste, no one is going to build strength or flexibility with a weekly 30 minute training regimen. The only value I can see is identifying areas of weakness in specific muscle groups and recommending a program. (testing & prescripion: "If you're unable to support yourself with your abdominals in this position, you'll find it difficult to undulate as well. If that's the case, you might benefit from doing the following exercise at home at least three times a week.)

    With a troupe that meets at least twice a week, I can see a little more value.


  4. #4
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Haha.. Shira, if I'd seen your post before I started typing I could have saved myself the trouble!


  5. #5
    I could get used to this! bananarchy's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Either is fine. It depends on the class.

    Why do you ask?


  6. #6
    Mega BHUZzer jessedan's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    I ask because I hate to spend half an hour of a class doing the same stuff I do in the gym every morning. On the other hand, if it IS absolutely necessary and customary, then I WILL (albeit grudgingly) do the warm up and try to look happy about it. ..c::

    I thought about it some more and also wanted to add that there have been a couple of older ladies in some of my classes who seem to have had a bit of difficulty getting down on the floor on mats and doing extensive series of crunches and leg lifts, I'm wondering if this kind of heavy warm up might do them more harm than good?


    Regards
    Priscilla

    Quote Originally Posted by bananarchy View Post
    Either is fine. It depends on the class.

    Why do you ask?
    Last edited by jessedan; 04-07-2008 at 04:24 PM. Reason: More thoughts on this


  7. #7
    I could get used to this! bananarchy's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    That is a very reasonable view point. A lot of people feel that way.

    You get to choose what you want, among the options available to you: whether to keep studying w/ that particular teacher, or find a class/teacher you like better.

    If you're bored w/ the conditioning, you could always find ways to make it more challenging. Modify to your level, strenghts and weaknesses. If it just feels like you're wasting your time, then maybe you are and you should find someone else to study with.


  8. #8
    I could get used to this! bananarchy's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    PS: I live in the Bay Area so am spoiled b/c there are so many belly dance teachers here. The variety is great -- there's really something for everyone here: FCBD, Suhaila, Jamila, Jill Parker, Amina Goodyear, Sausan, Liz Strong, Frederique, Mira Betz, and loads of others. I know dancers who take Suhaila for the conditioning and technique, JP for style, etc. We get different things from different teachers, you know?

    Good luck Priscilla! I hope you find what you're looking for.


  9. #9
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    I wonder if there's a polite(r) way to say "Can I just pay for & attend the second half of your class? The first half seems to be all conditioning, and I already spend time & money on that at the gym every day. I'm really just here for the dance instruction."


    Or will that sound snooty no matter how you do it?


  10. #10
    Mega BHUZzer jessedan's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Hmm. Well, I hate to make waves or be a spoilsport. I think I'll just go along with it because the instruction part is totally worth it. I wasn't specifically referring to any one particular teacher, but rather to a couple of them who have liked to do extensive warm ups so this question has been on my mind for a while.

    Thanks guys!
    Priscilla



    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I wonder if there's a polite(r) way to say "Can I just pay for & attend the second half of your class? The first half seems to be all conditioning, and I already spend time & money on that at the gym every day. I'm really just here for the dance instruction."


    Or will that sound snooty no matter how you do it?
    Last edited by jessedan; 04-07-2008 at 05:54 PM.


  11. #11
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Yeah, I wouldn't do it either. I guess it would be like saying 'I only like the traveling steps, but not the isolations, turns or poses, can I just take that part of class?

    I suppose every class is going to have some aspects we love and some we're not so happy with, and we take it as a package deal.

    On the plus side, teachers who do intensive warmups like this tend to be very technique-focused, which is a good thing!


  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer jewelbellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    I think it's fine to offer your teacher feedback if you're not enjoying the warmup - posed constructively and sensitively, of course! And understanding that she's probably happy with her routine and may not change it.

    Personally, I agree with many that I don't want a gym workout in a bellydance class. Many of my students are people that avoid gym-style workouts, so it hardly makes sense to inflict that on them! Having said that, I do do a 5 minute exercise-type warm up (walking/light jog on the spot waving arms around, rotating joints, a few gentle stretches, etc) that aren't totally bellydancy. This is to literally get warm and mobile. I don't feel that's enough of a warmup before going into more strenuous bellydance moves (such as vertical figure 8's) so I follow the 'exercise' warmup with a 'warmup dance' - where we start with basic moves such as hip flicks and drops, shimmies, travelling steps - before jumping into more demanding technique. Simlarly at the end of class I try to wind down with taxim-style moves, then a stretch-out.

    I'm interested to hear what other people do.


  13. #13
    Established BHUZzer TediThomas's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    My classes are an hour and a half and I usually start with a minimum of five minutes of walking warm up that allows me to work my students on the glide walk and step-ball-change (which often proves itself to be a rather difficult step for people to really master - not that it's a difficult step, but the nuances apparently are hard to grasp for many). I also use this walking warm up time to work with their arms (more extensively once they've developed a comfort level) to begin getting them used to this aspect of layering movements. Sometimes we end up doing walking warm ups for up to ten minutes (especially if I feel they need additional work with these basic traveling steps). So they end up getting a decent warm up before we begin work on isolations and drills, but they are warming up with an important component of the dance. Before I forget to mention it, we can sustain the walk pattern as long as needed as I have them travel in a large circle (well actually a large elliptical) around the entire room (and I usually change the direction each class period so we're not always going one way). ..g.:


  14. #14
    Established BHUZzer straightleftknee's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    personally I'd perfer not to do conditioning in the class room, I consider it something I and others should do in our own time but I can see why some teachers would want to incorporate it as it means we can't slack off.

    On another issue, if I was putting conditioning in a class I would put it at the end of the class, work on dance skills while the mind and body are fresh. I really don't understand why trainers would put 1001 squats at the start, it does against everything I've learnt..c::


  15. #15
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    For most normal classes, 5 minutes cardio to bring you to a light sweat is fine - using big muscles. I usually do a range of travelling steps without too much fuss. Then mobilize head to toe (you aren't warm enough at that point to strtech and it isn't needed for most classes).

    I will put drills in at this point to continue warming up next - eg shimmies with weight changes, simple combinations that need to be filed into auto.

    Not only is a full gym workout not what people come to class for, there isn't time, and you cannot tailor it enough to benefit everyone, nor can you check everyone is doing it right (ie effectively and safely). Crunches using the hamstrings anyone?


  16. #16
    Official BHUZzer Bellybabe's Avatar
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    Re: Warm-up session before class...how long?

    Quote Originally Posted by TediThomas View Post
    My classes are an hour and a half and I usually start with a minimum of five minutes of walking warm up that allows me to work my students on the glide walk and step-ball-change (which often proves itself to be a rather difficult step for people to really master - not that it's a difficult step, but the nuances apparently are hard to grasp for many). I also use this walking warm up time to work with their arms (more extensively once they've developed a comfort level) to begin getting them used to this aspect of layering movements. Sometimes we end up doing walking warm ups for up to ten minutes (especially if I feel they need additional work with these basic traveling steps). So they end up getting a decent warm up before we begin work on isolations and drills, but they are warming up with an important component of the dance. Before I forget to mention it, we can sustain the walk pattern as long as needed as I have them travel in a large circle (well actually a large elliptical) around the entire room (and I usually change the direction each class period so we're not always going one way). ..g.:
    This is very similar to what I do based on what my teacher used to do. I do walking on flat feet and toes doing different arm patterns, step slide steps changing directions and with different arm patterns, grapevines, etc. All large movements to get the heart rate up and blood flowing but all dance related so as they continue to advance you are also focused on posture and moving with grace while warming up. We move forward and back, to the diagonals or in circles because I think this is also teaching use of space without bringing it to attention (yet).

    Personally, in a class I want a warm up that is dance related and that will segue into the isolations/drills and choreography we are focusing on. Then hopefully stretching out at the end. I want to learn how to dance. If I just want a fitness class I can get that at the gym.

    I hate it when a workshop or class begins with a warm up and then goes right into discussion. What's the point of the warm up then? Discuss first, warm up and then go right into technique, etc.


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