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  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer SidoniaOfNashville's Avatar
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    A couple's workshop?

    Somebody suggested to me and the owner of the studio I teach at, to consider teaching a special couple's workshop for Valentine's Day. I think this would be such a fun thing to do, however, going about it is another story. I'm not sure I'm going to do it yet but I'm brainstorming on the what if's. First of all, does anybody have any experience in this area? I've seen professional husband/wife duos that are just amazing and adorable, that's the kind of thing I'm gravitating towards but don't know if I have the expertise to do it.

    For half of the workshop, I would probably just teach bellydance basics (for everybody). Then I start teaching partner-based combos. Both genders would do bellydance moves, maybe "feature" each other dancing, that kinda thing. Nothing silly or too sexy, so I would hope nobody would come to the class expecting a how-to lap dance or a how-to on embarrassing your S.O. at the next wedding reception. Somehow I'll have to shoot down those ideas before people walk in the door.

    I know I would automatically have two couples, the owner of the studio I teach at and her man who took my class a few weeks ago. And the ballet instructor and her man who was really really interested in learning to dance himself after I performed at the studio's grand opening party. I'm hoping I could make this appeal to more than 2 couples but that could be tricky...

    But my biggest problem is that I think I need an assistant. My husband just does not dance, and I don't have any male students. My husband suggested I use one of the girls in my troupe as the assistant, but I would think that the guys who were unsure about this sorta thing would rather have a male presence at the workshop and/or on the flyer. I could try teaching both people at once but I wonder if that would be really difficult to do. Do you think I'm about to bite off more than I can chew? Nothing's been set into motion yet... Any advice is much appreciated!


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer _Tanya_'s Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Could you do a basic drumming and drum solo class?
    Not dancing together per say but men may be more interested in banging on a drum then being graceful on their feet.


  3. #3
    Official BHUZzer SidoniaOfNashville's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    That's true. I don't know any male dancers personally, but I do know some drummers so that's always an option if this other idea doesn't work out. Dancing together would be so much fun though! I wish I knew where to hunt down some couples that would give it a shot!


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer _Tanya_'s Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    I would also make sure it's marketed clean. You wouldn't want people thinking it's a "bellydance for your lover" type class :P


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer SandraDances's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Tanya_ View Post
    I would also make sure it's marketed clean. You wouldn't want people thinking it's a "bellydance for your lover" type class :P
    that is what I was thinking, too.


  6. #6
    Official BHUZzer SidoniaOfNashville's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    That could definitely be a tricky thing to do, especially around here. Definitely don't want to turn it into THAT kind of class. It's just not me. I guess I could have a full description on the flyer about it being a social dance class, like a ballroom class, but with even less physical contact, haha.


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer _Tanya_'s Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    See with a drum and dancing class there would be less confusion.
    You can market it as a "men learn to bellydance for your women" type class.


  8. #8
    Official BHUZzer Afrit09's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Tanya_ View Post
    Could you do a basic drumming and drum solo class?
    Not dancing together per say but men may be more interested in banging on a drum then being graceful on their feet.
    Yes, but ... it sorta reinforces the stereotype that men don't belly dance and if you are a man the only way you can get involved is as a drummer.

    If you are doing a class for both to dance together - both actually need to be good dancers to start with - I'm thinking of some of teh great pas de deux work by Kazafy. Another appraoch would be a folk tableau a la Reda.

    The alternative is a fun activity for both to try out - like a Hen's Night but for couples instead.


  9. #9
    Official BHUZzer SidoniaOfNashville's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    I could be fair (and safe) and do a drum & dance workshop. Where everybody has to dance a little bit (including couples separate and together) and then everybody has to drum a little bit, so nobody can sit around and pull the "i'm just a horny sultan getting seduced by my harem girl" act. ..g.:

    I may shoot an email to a drummer I know and see what he thinks. We had talked about pairing up one of these days for a rhythms for dancers kind of workshop. Maybe we can expand on that idea, make it more of a Valentines thing somehow. Even if male drums while female dances, I would love to switch the roles if I could. Hm...

    Thanks for helping me think this through everybody!
    Last edited by SidoniaOfNashville; 11-16-2009 at 04:40 PM.


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Hey, I'm tempted to steal this idea! Since my husband is a drummer, we'd be all set.

    I wonder if guys will be reluctant to try the dancing once they've drummed, since my guy doesn't dance, either. But maybe he would give it a shot. I once taught him some basic moves and he was pretty good but he has no interest in dancing. He is a huge ham, however!


  11. #11
    Master BHUZzer ozma's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    remember, not all couples are hetro.


  12. #12
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by ozma View Post
    remember, not all couples are hetro.
    Yeah, true. We need more gender neutral stuff on Valentine's Day. That could be included in the marketing.


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer da Sage's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    If you know those two couples are interested, why not do a semi-private just for those four? I think it would be easier to teach/coach that group separately as they have all had plenty of dance exposure. Then you could possibly recruit one of those men as a teaching assistant for workshops with less dance-savvy guys in the future.

    I also think it would be good to start "non-dance-educated" guys out with debke or something. I once helped out with survey dance class for physical education majors (the reasoning for the class being that gym teachers are often asked to teach dance as part of a set curriculum). These hefty football players were whizzes at the more complex folk dances that the teacher taught, but froze up when asked to partner for a waltz. If the men can debke well, then at least they won't be able to say later that they just can't dance as well as the girls when doing the partner stuff with their wives.


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    How about something Reda-esque? On his 2002 US tour, he taught a Saidi choreography from his Robabekiya Suite that had sections that were performed by gender. With something like this, you could keep the flirty strong-boy-trying-to-impress-sweet-girl angle without pulling in too much heavy-duty Valentine romance.

    When I envision a "couples' workshop" on Valentine's Day. the first thing I think of is the squicky duets I've seen where the man and the woman are undulating at each other, then I think of henpecked guys getting dragged into their wives' hobbies--either way, not a particularly positive connotation. Based on the number of men who enthusiastically show up to support their women at shows (where it's relatively inexpensive and they don't have to do anything), I imagine it will be a pretty tough sell to recruit other men who willingly want to go to a dance class. I really think going with something more folkloric will be an easier recruiting idea than the orientale style, simply because it's easier to picture a guy doing a folk dance (e.g., da Sage's debke suggestion) than what most men think of as belly dance. Also, if you present it as an afternoon of folk dancing, you can publicize it through your local general-interest folk dance club, square dancers, and ballroom studios, where you are liable to find more takers than just presenting it as something your current students can bully their husbands into doing to show how much they love them.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer Lesgemini_Zafirah's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    Mohammed Shahin did a cute Melaya Leff duet choreography w/a female student... and so did bhuzzer Erika & Karim, back in 2005--the 1st time I ever saw Melaya Leff! It was wonderful & memorable! :)


  16. #16
    Established BHUZzer AmiraStar's Avatar
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    Re: A couple's workshop?

    I would think getting a male dancer involved would be very helpful with this idea. Not only do moves look different on a male frame but for many men who are unfamiliar with male dancers, it will help with their comfort level.
    My thought on this is you might want to keep it small, invite specific people/couples/partners for this because it will be specialized and then word of mouth might help you to hold another one later on that will draw more of a crowd.


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