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  1. #1
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    So, I keep reading about these huge workshops with up to (or even over?) 100 students.
    I am quite amazed. The most people I have ever taught were about 34 and I found it very hard to still see individual students and not just a big mass of people. In one case the room was quite wide and I had to run from side to side to make sure that everybody sees me.

    Does it really make sense to take such a workshop when you are in the 12th row where you can hardly see the teacher?
    Do they give them microphones?
    I have seen a video of Dina teaching on a small stage, is that the norm?
    Is there any correction or does the teacher just run through her program and you either get it right or don't (and you'll never really know)?
    Are these workshops especially cheap to attract a lot of people?

    If you have taken such a mass workshop - would you do it again?
    Or would you be ready to pay a bit more so you'd only be in a room with 40 people maximum?

    MEISSOUN


  2. #2
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Just.... the vibe?

    I think you'd be hard pressed to get a LOT out of it, though if the teacher is on an elevated stage that is certainly going to help.

    Also, I guess if the teacher had personally selected minions scattered throughout the workshop to help out with technical correction, that could also be good. It's the kind of thing I can imagine would work really well with someone who had a school of their own and a technique of their own (eg Suhaila) but I doubt an individual dancer like Dina could, or should, do it. With someone like her, you want to get fairly close so you can really see what she does and work directly with her.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I've been to ones that had around 80 people. As for how much I get out of it, it depends on the sponsor's acumen, the instructor's teaching skills, and what I'm hoping to get out of it.

    Yes, some sponsors do clip a cordless microphone onto their instructors and have it feed into a PA system that amplifies the sound enough. Others don't. In my experience, if there's a microphone and a good sound system, that helps a lot.

    Some sponsors do have a raised stage from which the instructor teaches. Others don't. Yes, a raised stage helps, but that alone is not enough. Here's where the instructors experience at teaching large workshops come in - good instructors will have everyone crouch while they demonstrate something, and then have everyone stand up to try it. This is very effective. Another thing good instructors do when they don't have a raised stage is divide the room into two halves, and then do their demos in the center. That way, there are TWO front rows. And of course, good instructors will rotate the rows.

    In such huge workshops, the instructors might make eye contact with people in the front row and use gestures to signal they need correction, but they typically don't wander among the attendees to make individual corrections.

    And then there's the expectation question. I've been known to go to workshops where I didn't feel all that motivated by the material being taught just as a way of supporting the sponsor. Ie, if the sponsor came to one of my events and brought a bunch of her students, I'll reciprocate even if I don't feel very interested in the topic. But, in these cases, I try very hard to respect the instructor, pay attention, and learn what I can. If the material itself doesn't excite me, I try to study her pedagogy for ideas on the craft of teaching, or look for something else to take away from the experience. Usually there's something of value even if it's not my cup of tea.


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer eshe's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by meissoun View Post
    So, I keep reading about these huge workshops with up to (or even over?) 100 students.
    I am quite amazed. The most people I have ever taught were about 34 and I found it very hard to still see individual students and not just a big mass of people. In one case the room was quite wide and I had to run from side to side to make sure that everybody sees me.

    Does it really make sense to take such a workshop when you are in the 12th row where you can hardly see the teacher?
    Do they give them microphones?
    I have seen a video of Dina teaching on a small stage, is that the norm?
    Is there any correction or does the teacher just run through her program and you either get it right or don't (and you'll never really know)?
    Are these workshops especially cheap to attract a lot of people?

    If you have taken such a mass workshop - would you do it again?
    Or would you be ready to pay a bit more so you'd only be in a room with 40 people maximum?

    MEISSOUN
    I have taught workshops with about 50 students. It was an intro to bellydance series that my old studio used to do. It was more a get everyone in and dancing and maybe they'll take it up later style. It was priced low and promoted as a pre-lesson lesson.

    I have taken a lot of workshops in Tokyo with over 50-100 students. Sometimes there is no other choice. It's go or never study with that instructor.

    The pace is slowed a bit because of translation but generally everyone is focused and there to get the most out of the workshops. There is a lot of respect for instructors and so most people listen and work hard.

    We are also not so space-oriented in Asia. I remember a friend who went to America and was happy to have so much room to dance and then she heard all of the American dancers complaining about not having space. I guess you adjust and do the best you can.


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I wouldn't go to one again.
    But then it only happens here rarely and I tried one with Bosenka in Blackpool last year and she had a mike etc and was on a raised platfrm and I suppose there might have been 50/60. That was Ok but at Fantasia Wendy Marlett had a silly little plinth affair and there were too many dozy mares wearing full tribal regalia, refusing to change rows as requested so some of us had a difficult time ..so no more biggies for me.
    JoY gets it right with numbers and has big names in big enough workshops.


  6. #6
    I could get used to this! muneera's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by eshe View Post
    We are also not so space-oriented in Asia. I remember a friend who went to America and was happy to have so much room to dance and then she heard all of the American dancers complaining about not having space. I guess you adjust and do the best you can.
    And you have to hope they don't try and do wings as one of the topics - Asian or not, trust me when I say that a room full of 60 dancers within whacking distance doing wings is NOT a good idea.


  7. #7
    Razia
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    The idea of taking a workshop with that many people turns me off. I'm willing to miss out on a good workshop or two if it means I can actually see and hear the teacher when I do decide to pay for one.


  8. #8
    Master BHUZzer Surida's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I took a huge workshop with Jillina a while ago - I'd do it again in a flash! She did have a small platform, used a microphone, at one point even stood on a chair, some parts were done in a large circle with Jillina in the center, and she would also after demonstrating something up front then go through the room front to back looking and correcting. It worked with a master teacher like Jillina who has boundless energy.


  9. #9
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    It's not unusual for us to have 80 people at a workshop here in St. Louis, and there were certainly more than that at Fifi last year.

    As stated above, a raised platform, microphone, and rotating the rows regularly helps a lot. With most instructors, if you try to make lots of eye contact with them you can get a nod or a correction shouted out from the stage, but that's about it.

    These workshops do NOT tend to be cheaper necessarily, because it's the big-name, in-demand instructors who draw such a crowd.

    What I get out of them: instruction from teachers I wouldn't have been able to learn from otherwise. In many ways, it's not much better than learning from them on video, except I would never have the discipline to make myself work with a video for 5 or 6 hours, so I do absorb a lot more of an instructor's style from a workshop. Plus the opportunity to ask questions and to get a stronger sense of their nuances from the in-person exposure.


  10. #10
    Mega BHUZzer Bellydancingcaroline's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I think that there is an optimum size for proper learning, and it's around the 30 students mark. I limit the classes I organise to achieve this. I realise the way to make money though is to run these monster classes with a hundred odd students in them. I feel that I'd much rather develop small scale, high quality workshops. I also feel that we charge a fair whack for these workshops, and the least people can expect is proper floors, sound system, mirrors etc.


  11. #11
    Mega BHUZzer mekyria's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I've been to workshops with 60 people that had a pa system, raised stage, microphone and an excellent instructor. I got some really cute combinations out of that workshop, though I need to work on them to make them look right because interaction with the teacher was close to impossible.

    I would pay a regular workshop price if the teacher was a Big Name and if I would consider the workshop material good enough to use even without corrections from the teacher. I would never sign up for a veil/wings workshop with so many people: I'd go crazy by lack of space and disoriented because of all the twirling and whirling around me.


  12. #12
    Mega BHUZzer Elianae's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I've never been to a large-scale workshop like this-though that one with Jillina sounded like fun. I also really liked Lisajuk's comment about her workshop experience. The "Mares in Full Tribal Regalia who wouldn't move from spots"! Haha!


  13. #13
    Just Starting! Halewa's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I've been to big workshops (over 100 studentd in the room, instructor on a 5 foot raised stage) & to small ones (less than 20 students in a room. If I want to take from the instructor, I'll go back to a big workshop. As a matter of fact, I intend to go to big Wal-Mart sized on in a few months.

    As mentioned before, there are several things
    that can help (raised stage, etc). As for the hussies who wouldn't switch rows, the seminar producer can help with that by keeping an eye out to maximize the attendee's experience. As an event producer, that's my primary concern.

    That said, what you get out of a workshop does depend on what you put into it. You have to speak up & stand up for yourself to get your money's worth. And if I want one-on-one time, I'll inquire about getting a privae lesson.


  14. #14
    Mega BHUZzer indigostars's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I went to the huge workshop with Aziza in Chicago. I don't know how many people were there, but it was pretty crowded. They divided us into groups so we could switch rows from time to time. She also had us circle her and do various things.

    I'm not sure what one is supposed to get out of a workshop (it was my first workshop), but I enjoyed it. It was partially the sheer idea I could get physically through it. I also got something out of Aziza demonstrating


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer Lilaravena's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I have taken a few Suhaila workshops and she will often switch the rows from time to time to keep everyone engaged. She also uses 1-2 assistance to help with teaching. Even though all the workshops were packed with ladies, I walked a way with a lot of info and feeling like I got some "Suhaila" time. Prefer smaller workshops. Have been thinking about the Raqia Hassan workshop in the DC area in May but I hear there may be 150 students! Wow!

    That actually may be too much for even me :-)


  16. #16
    Official BHUZzer Michaela's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by eshe View Post
    ...

    I have taken a lot of workshops in Tokyo with over 50-100 students. Sometimes there is no other choice. It's go or never study with that instructor.

    The pace is slowed a bit because of translation but generally everyone is focused and there to get the most out of the workshops. There is a lot of respect for instructors and so most people listen and work hard.

    We are also not so space-oriented in Asia. I remember a friend who went to America and was happy to have so much room to dance and then she heard all of the American dancers complaining about not having space. I guess you adjust and do the best you can.
    Typical workshop with a big name master teacher in Tokyo has attendance of about 70, cost is roughly 40 USD per hour, so you really want to concentrate on what is being taught, and get the most of your money if you don`t want to pay several times more for 1-to-1.

    Hot weather and humidity bugs me more the cramped gym, (some idle time while the other group is dancing, really helpes to cool down and refresh), I don`t really feel there is a lack of space. Been to some workshops in Europe with similar student density (number of dancers per space) as in Tokyo.

    Dancers in Europe are lucky that an average price for the same level of workshop here is cheaper then in Tokyo and attendance is lower. Sometimes Tokyo has an `advantage` of learning the material as first, for what they pay most of course.

    Japanese dancers are very concerned with their image, attend in groups (troupes) and are quite advanced level, so they have a high potential to find out and correct their mistakes. They usually reconfirm the material learned between each other. If there is sb. beginner level, who can`t get the move right, then the teacher repeats the technique and makes the student in question to follow ok this time. So there is a certain level of individual attention.

    Then, the big name master teacher observes dancers as personalities, too. I got advices just for me from several master teachers on several occassions. Though, it might be exception, being a caucasian face in Far East.

    ETA: I always concentrate on what is being taught, so I pick up the material quite well, and consider the money well spent.
    Last edited by Michaela; 04-21-2008 at 11:38 AM.


  17. #17
    Ultimate BHUZzer Suzana's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ravenadesigns View Post
    Have been thinking about the Raqia Hassan workshop in the DC area in May but I hear there may be 150 students!
    I have no way of verifying this, but I was told by one of the organizers to expect a maximum of 75 people. I really hope that's still the plan! If size is a deciding factor for you, you might want to e-mail Yucy, Faten, or Saphira to double-check. (And report back, maybe? )


  18. #18
    Advanced BHUZzer Nepenthe's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    If the class is rotated, if it splits into groups (some dancing, some sitting & watching), if people are careful not to block other people's view completely during demonstrations, if good dancers can be followed (because they can see the teacher, and I can see them) - then it can work.

    I went to a huge Dina workshop. I would count it among the most influential workshop I have taken in my life, although I can't pinpoint why and in terms of learning, it was one of the most challenging with the number of people and being unable to physically execute movements due to the packed-in nature.

    But in general I prefer a smaller workshop.


  19. #19
    Mega BHUZzer Linnyg's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    As a beginner, large groups are hard for me because I KNOW that I will need more help then the more advanced in the group. But at the same time, if I look around and place myself near someone who seems to be getting it, I have someone upclose that I can model.


  20. #20
    Master BHUZzer Adishakti's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    It's certainly not ideal... but for those of us unable to make our way to Egypt to study with some of these dancers - it's our best option. (Unless of course you can arrange a private while they're in town).

    You simply take what you can out of it. Take lots of notes, and if you can - go with a friend to compare notes.


  21. #21
    I could get used to this! CharisseZohara's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I agree with Adishakti, attend large workshops with a friend or several--it's amazing how you'll each retain different things and be able to compare/augment the experience after the fact. I attended the same Aziza workshop as indigostars, and found that going over the material after the workshop really helped get it down. I would definitely do it again! Aziza is one of my favorite instructors/dancers, well worth sharing space with what I think were about 80 dancers... Like various people said, there are ways to make it work depending on the physical space, the skill of the instructor and organizer, and the cooperation of your fellow students.


  22. #22
    I could get used to this! mandyt's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    The Jewel of Yorkshire festival in the UK ( JoY)
    Limits workshop numbers to 25 to 35 people depending on the room size & 15 people to master classes.

    So if you want a class with Raqia Hassan in October with a 35 people limit - come to the UK.

    About the Jewel of Yorkshire.


  23. #23
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Oh man... when my first teacher invited Raqia to Zurich looooong time ago, we were maximum 20 people in the room and some of us went to have pizza with her afterwards. That was before she got so enormously famous. I guess I was lucky then! ..g.:

    The biggest workshop I ever took was at Fantasia in London with Khaled Mahmood, about 45 people. We mostly danced in a circle around him (big room) and it went quite well.

    But I guess as a teacher in front of 100 people I would really have to adjust. I am so used to seeing every students face and giving out individual correction all the time...
    Has anyone of you done it?

    MEISSOUN


  24. #24
    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Room size does factor in, of course, but even if I had an enormous room in which to sponsor a workshop, I'd not want more than 50-60 and would be certain the instructor had a microphone and raised teaching space.

    In my current location, the max I can have is 36 based on room size. When I had Jesennia and her 4 yard veils come to town, the maximum was 20 -- otherwise, it would have been impossible!

    For me, about 30-40 is about the max with whom I want to share a workshop. I don't really expect any personal correction or instruction in a workshop that size, which is okay, since I'll be taking a couple of items home and making it my own over the next few days anyway. As Shira mentioned, I, too, often attend for the pedagogy that I can pick up, rather than a bunch of new moves/combos.

    Deborah
    Last edited by casbahdance; 04-21-2008 at 06:17 PM.


  25. #25
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharisseZohara View Post
    I agree with Adishakti, attend large workshops with a friend or several--it's amazing how you'll each retain different things and be able to compare/augment the experience after the fact. I attended the same Aziza workshop as indigostars, and found that going over the material after the workshop really helped get it down. I would definitely do it again! Aziza is one of my favorite instructors/dancers, well worth sharing space with what I think were about 80 dancers... Like various people said, there are ways to make it work depending on the physical space, the skill of the instructor and organizer, and the cooperation of your fellow students.
    I was also at the same Aziza workshops, and I was amazed at how much I got out of them considering the attendance. Sonya (the sponsor) really is a master of organization. We were all given colored paper bracelets when we checked in, to it was very easy for Aziza to sort us into groups and rotate lines - she'd just call out "And now the purple group come forward!". I thought it was a brilliant idea. Other things like the vending and lunch service were just so well set up that it ran smoother than many workshops I've been to with just 20 or so people in it.

    I also thought it worked much better than I expected because of Aziza herself. She has such an enormous personality and radiates warmth, so that you feel like she's talking directly to you even though she's addressing the entire group. And amazingly, she did offer individual correction, of which I was the honored recipient a couple of times.


  26. #26
    Advanced BHUZzer CalgaryBibi's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    I don't like them at all. I get claustrophobic in crowds, particularly because I'm short, and I can't see over people's heads, so I feel surrounded and trapped.

    At the ones I've been to, we did change rows, so that meant I could see the instructor about 1/4 of the time. I found it frustrating, as I could not always figure out the nuances of the move from watching the backs of other students.

    I just don't think a big workshop like that gives me a very good bang for my buck. Those big workshops tend to cost as much as several weeks of classes would, so I'd rather put that amount of money toward several weeks of classes. I can understand it for people who are beyond the level of weekly classes, but I'm not.

    It's rather awkward, since my instructors and other dance contacts do sponsor big workshops regularly, often accompanied by shows in which I'm sometimes invited to dance, and there seems to be an expectation that I will want to attend these workshops, but I just don't. I do go to smaller workshops offered by local instructors, because I do find it beneficial to learn from different instructors and to try different styles. For example, I'm going to a Turkish/Rom workshop next month, but it will probably have 20 students at most. That's more my style, and I know I'll get something out of it, as I'll be able to see the instructor well and ask questions, etc.

    I've decided not to spend much more of my not-unlimited dance-instruction funds on the big workshops, however.


  27. #27
    Established BHUZzer Uulady's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaela View Post
    Hot weather and humidity bugs me more the cramped gym,
    Me too! Years ago I did a workshop with a big name in a big workshop with no AC during summer in Canada. We were making sweat angels on the floor during breaks! Eww!


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer eshe's Avatar
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    Re: Workshop with 100 students - what do you get out of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaela View Post
    Japanese dancers are very concerned with their image, attend in groups (troupes) and are quite advanced level, so they have a high potential to find out and correct their mistakes. They usually reconfirm the material learned between each other. If there is sb. beginner level, who can`t get the move right, then the teacher repeats the technique and makes the student in question to follow ok this time. So there is a certain level of individual attention.
    Most of the Japanese girls I'm friends with don't attend in groups or troupes. I see a lot of girls from different schools show up alone and then meet people they know at the workshop. And there is a lot of variation in ability. IMO like anywhere else there is a pyramid effect: most are fairly new, some are intermediate and the population of super experienced dancers is smallest at the workshops I've attended. I haven't met many dancers from anywhere who don't care about their image.


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