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  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I was browsing another forum thingie last night and came across an old post from a student who was complaining that her teacher never taught her how to do a zeffa. From what I gather, this student had taken about a year or 2 of classes.

    That got me to wondering just WHEN do we start actually teaching them how to do professional gigs? My students are awesome, but after a year are they really ready to hold their own in a wedding? That's really only 52 hours of classes. Even 2 years -- we're still working on refining technique and musical interpretation.

    How do most of you go about preparing your students for working with a live band, or handling an actual ethnic dance assignment? And when is the best time to bring up subjects like "these are the top 25 songs you'll hear a live band play. Be prepared to dance to them." ? IN GENERAL, at what point do you start training them in the specifics relating to professional gigs?


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    two words: individual coaching.

    if i have students that are ready for pro-gigs/teaching, that's what i do/suggest.

    other aspects i do try to sprinkle on all my classes (ethics, money, costuming), but i think if someone really wants to take a step further, they need mentoring. not just taking weekly classes.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    i also have read (here i think, from american dancers, as we dont have a club/restaurant/arab scene), of speciality classes, specifically for dancing to live music, dancing for arabs, etc. but we just dont have that kind of gigs to make that kind of classes interesting.

    i do offer stuff like "songs every bellydancer should know", and our RAKS - Razia Artemisia Khalida Summerschool 2010 program has stuff (a lot) on performance and presentation skills, Q & A on going pro, etc etc


  4. #4
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    That's kind of what I was thinking -- you don't usually target your ENTIRE CLASS when you talk about going pro, right? I would think that would be a big turn-off for those who only want to play at hafli and dance around their living rooms.

    (I'm not talking professional behavior (like wearing a cover-up and having your music prepared) by the way. I'm talking about the actual nuts and bolts of performing at a solo professional gig.)


  5. #5
    Official BHUZzer kateryna's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    On the question on when, I think it's important to separate students who just want to do professional gigs because they think it's cool or because it's "easy" money. There are students who genuinly want to learn everything there is to know about this dance including the culture. I don't see a point in pacing students who learn faster than others. I wouldn't do it in teaching any other discipline, so why do it in dance. Another question is the order of learning things. It's what skills do you have to have before you can move to learning the next one? ME dance is not Physics, but of course you have to learn the basics first. In my opinion, if you are a dedicated student you can do that in 1-2 years.
    Last edited by kateryna; 05-05-2010 at 08:58 AM.


  6. #6
    Advanced BHUZzer NandaDncer's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    That's kind of what I was thinking -- you don't usually target your ENTIRE CLASS when you talk about going pro, right?
    Right. No way. I have ladies 2+ yrs in and still don't want to dance at haflas.

    Students: if going pro is your goal let us know because for the majority it isn't and we just can't constantly cater for a student we might get once every couple of years.


  7. #7
    Mega BHUZzer MakedaMaysa's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I agree that individual coaching plus classes/workshops focused on professional topics is the way to go. However, I'd also like to note that the student needs to be open to guidance. I did not decide that my dance path was leading me toward becoming professional until my dance mentor mentioned that she thought I had the talent to do so. From there, I went into intensive private study with her, expanded to private lessons with other professional dancers/master teachers, amped up my workshop schedule, worked at home, started researching history, culture and music, etc., etc., etc. Professionalism and all that goes with it are not things that can be taught in a weekly class. And if the dancer isn't willing to work her bedlah off to reach a level of proficiency, she's not worthy of the title, IMO.


  8. #8
    Master BHUZzer amarasdance's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I only teach Levels 1, 2, and 3 (Beginner, Advanced Beginner, and Intermediate). When students "outgrow" what I have to offer, they move on or take private coaching. I have no plans to offer a Level 4- I teach those 3 classes back-to-back, and am not going to teach 4 classes in 1 evening! And I don't have any free evenings- even if I did, the studio isn't available any other night.

    By the time my students have gone through the 3 levels that I offer, they have done choreographies to pop, more classical pieces, veil work, and drum solos. They have been introduced to a couple of folkloric styles and they all play zills from week 2 of Level 1. My students learn a lot of combinations, do improvisational exercises, and drill technique weekly. We talk about Middle Eastern culture, costuming, and other aspects of this art form. In Level 3, we talk about ethics and the business of belly dance. I offer workshops and specialty classes in balancing objects, other props, and specialized techniques. Most summers, I offer a 6 week "Preparing as a Solo Performer" series- the last time I offered it I taught them how to choreograph their own piece, as well as many aspects of performance (costuming, make-up, relaxation techniques, etc)- this summer, it is all about improvising in performance. This series ends in a class recital.

    I feel like I give a lot of good instruction. Some of my students have gone on to teach, dance in restaurants, and do private gigs. I don't teach how to dance to live music, and I don't prepare them for gigs like weddings and such. But I also don't offer the upper-level classes where this would be most appropriate. I DO encourage them to study with other teachers, and I always tell them about upcoming shows (mine and others) and encourage them to attend area workshops with master teachers (Aziza was here a couple of months ago and Artemis is coming in July- squeeeee!)But the best place for most of that specialized instruction is in private coaching, IMO. Most of my students just want to hang out with friends, get a good workout, and feel girly. A few want to be pro's, and it's their responsibility to seek out what they need. I will (and do) guide them, but if they want it, they need to get it.


  9. #9
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    I was browsing another forum thingie last night and came across an old post from a student who was complaining that her teacher never taught her how to do a zeffa.
    You could dance for a decade and never cover this in a weekly class. A lot of teachers consider this a special/workshop topic and aim it only at dancers who are serious enough to want to invest in a shamadan.

    That got me to wondering just WHEN do we start actually teaching them how to do professional gigs?
    I'd say you start teaching PROFESSIONALISM to beginners, and the mechanics of professional gigs to intermediates. At that point, you've conceivably weeded out people who aren't too serious, and even if you don't want to gig, if you're sticking around, you'll have some interest in this. Balance the class toward the students' objectives, though. If only one intermediate wants to gig someday, I wouldn't be boring the others with lectures on contracts and collecting payment.

    My students are awesome, but after a year are they really ready to hold their own in a wedding? That's really only 52 hours of classes. Even 2 years -- we're still working on refining technique and musical interpretation.
    Depends on your market and the individual. Some dancers are good enough to be professionally competitive in their area at two years, and lots aren't.

    How do most of you go about preparing your students for working with a live band
    I wish I lived in an area where this was a legitimate problem. If you can scrounge up the musicians, I guess you do it at haflas, if you can't have class night at a restaurant with a live band. You can also teach "surprise music improv" to get them used to the idea of winging it.

    And when is the best time to bring up subjects like "these are the top 25 songs you'll hear a live band play. Be prepared to dance to them." ?
    If I hadn't been online, I would have not heard about this music until YEARS into my dance education. If you have a teacher who hasn't been exposed to "the classics," and they don't expose their students to that music, the ignorance just blooms like dandelions in the spring. I think it is important to start with the music aspect early on. You don't want to have your beginners trying to slog through a choreography to a 48-minute Umm Kalthoum song--that would be overwhelming and weird--but beginners can start on shorter, more accessible music from Class 1, even if you have to save ten minutes at the end of each lesson for your "music appreciation time."


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I let my students know from the "gitgo" , through info packets, website, intro "speech" in class, etc., that doing professional gigs is a fairly unrealistic goal & why, but if down the road they think of it, please speak with me. I try to give my students enough information so that they see the reality of public performances, other than recitals and student haflas [which I try to have a lot of for fun!]
    Anyone going pro IMO must be mentored and guided.
    I have had a few students in my long teaching span go pro successfully "the right way", and a few go pro "without my full blessing" [not ready] but did persevere and do ok in the long run.
    There have also been a very few whom I felt would not ever measure up [lack of natural rhythm, poor social skills, lack of knowledge about ME culture and history...w/ no interest to learn] & I was fairly blunt but pleasant about this as their teacher. I feel that I have a responsibility not to unleash unqualified professionals into the world ..g.:
    Lest I come across as some sort of Overlord, let me say, I have struggled with this concept a lot and wonder about the right way to handle students in the third category. If they are determined to "go public" I can't really stop them of course. If they seek out guidance other than mine that would be great if they got up to speed. Unfortunately they usually don't.
    A big issue for me is that our concept of dancing for "fun & fitness", which I wholly support, is different from dancing as a profession, or in public other than recitals or student haflas. If we keep making that clear...
    I know it is a fuzzy area, as the art form itself is a performing art, yet we have morphed it into something else, because it is really wonderful to do! I don't think that is a bad thing, but it has created confusion for students.
    Last edited by LiesaB.; 05-05-2010 at 09:21 PM.


  11. #11
    Official BHUZzer TheGreatKathyLori's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).


  12. #12
    Master BHUZzer SamiraShuruk's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).
    Turn away a student who seemed to lack natural rhythm etc? Goodness no. The enjoyment of dance is for everyone! A student who loves the dance and is open to learning is a joy to have in class.
    If she came to me and said she wanted to go pro- I'd honestly let her know what I felt she needed to work on first (dance skill) while also learning/working on other aspects... I'd do my best to clearly and kindly let her know it will involve a lot of work.


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).
    ["You" means anyone not YOU] I would never turn a student away based on skills. You are here to learn what you perhaps do not know already! Class is for your enjoyment. I mention a lot in class that I offer private lessons for anyone who either wants to "get more" OR who feels could use extra help. And that they often only need one or two to get the ball rolling. I support anyone's desire to dance if they enjoy it regardless of "talent" or skillls....I hope my above post reflects that, and that dancing professionally is simply a different animal. Some students do not like to hear that.
    I also encourage students not to be so hard on themselves...if you WANT a challenge, I can always find one..l;, for you, but if you are comparing yourself to others, feel you ain't doing so hot, etc. we can also schedule a chat.
    I encourage students to be proactive & ask themselves what do they want from class? What are their "Bellydance goals"? The class is really for YOU to get what you want from it. I have faith in my teaching skills, but I can't fill EVERYONE's needs, some may need a different style teacher, or more than one teacher at a time. Again, classes at the professional level are different than general classes.
    I also think that most if not all students CAN LEARN rhythm even if rhythmically challenged, if they are willing to really learn.
    The students who want to "go pro", who have not acquired rhythm skills after several years, and who cannot take the time or energy to learn: are the ones I was referring to in my above post - as someone who I don't feel should go pro. Not: not take class.
    Even if you still can't tell your left from your right or feel the downbeat, for example, you can still enjoy yourself in bellydance classes, but as I tell myself and my students, we need to leave our egos at the door.
    I hope this has helped you to feel that you have a place in the Bellydance world, that belongs to you!
    And to reinforce that classes for enjoyment and to learn new skills are not the same as a professional track.


  14. #14
    Advanced BHUZzer maurazebra's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Ruric's dancers take several hours of class and rehearsal a week, but she still needs to match up their skills with the individual gig very carefully. Watching this evolve over several years, I've come to the conclusion that the dancers who will be able to do it all and fend well are a rare combination of large talent AND much moxy AND 'it' AND physical beauty AND some people skills AND omnivorous intelligence / hunger for dance knowledge. Everyone else will need a more or less protected niche, either one provided by the director of the group they are in OR themselves.

    Ruric creates these protected niches by negotiating a wide range of gigs (from haflas to galas) and then rehearsing their little behindies off. In class they learn to dance, in rehearsal they learn to perform in public. Two different skill sets.
    Last edited by maurazebra; 05-05-2010 at 11:58 AM.


  15. #15
    Advanced BHUZzer Rosette's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I'm inclined to be skeptical about students who complain that their one teacher is failing to teach them all the stuff they think they need to know. Beginning students aren't knowledgeable enough yet to have much of a clue about what they are "not being taught." Once a student has become so sophisticated in their understanding of the dance that they can identify needs for which their teacher does not provide, they should also be capable of finding their own resources to learn what they want to learn. Here in the Information Age, it has never been easier to do this. So why expect just one teacher to provide you with everything you think you need, especially if you intend to be a professional?

    Actually the thought of a professional dancer who is the sole product of one teacher's training makes me uncomfortable. I think part of "going pro" should be getting out there and becoming part of the BIG dance community, drawing your dance "vocabulary" from various sources to create your own style.

    Rosette


  16. #16
    Advanced BHUZzer Rosette's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I should admit by the way that I am not a teacher so I'm crashing your forum here. I have at various times been a student in classes with others who make complaints of this nature to me about whoever is up in the front of the room. Every time I've heard this sort of thing, I've felt these students were really just not taking responsibility for themselves in the way they should be able to if they were truly ready for what they claim to need.

    I have learned about dance in many ways from many people, taking from each whatever they have to give that I can use. I've never expected one teacher to teach me "everything."
    R
    Last edited by Rosette; 05-05-2010 at 12:47 PM.


  17. #17
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by NandaDncer View Post
    Right. No way. I have ladies 2+ yrs in and still don't want to dance at haflas.

    Students: if going pro is your goal let us know because for the majority it isn't and we just can't constantly cater for a student we might get once every couple of years.
    I've had over 400 students since 2005, and I've only had a couple dozen that were interested in performing at even at amateur venues. I've never had a student in my classes express the desire to go pro, likely because when the subject comes up I'm very honest about what hard work it is and how totally unglamorous most parts of being a pro dancer are. I had a couple email inquiries from people who wanted to take my class with the goal of going pro in a short period of time, but when I explained that my classes are not set up for that kind of trajectory they decided not to sign up.

    I think most of my serious students (a few of which have been with me for over 4 years) figure that you just try to be the best dancer you can, and that I'll tell them if I think they'd be suited for pro work. I have two students now that I've just recently told I would be more than happy to have along if I get a booking for a multi-dancer paid gig.

    I agree with Rosette that if your goal is to go pro, you need to take on the responsibility of finding multiple resources to expand your education. It's part of that hard work/unglamorous thing I was talking about earlier in this post.


  18. #18
    Master BHUZzer danielabellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    My classe are just for fun and learning the dance. If you want to "go pro", I do special 6-week summer sessions that are invite-only (I am not going to train a dancer to "go pro" if she isn't ready, skill-wise, no matter how badly she wants to), where we go over everything that is involved in a regular gig.

    And even there, I don't teach zeffa!


  19. #19
    Master BHUZzer amarasdance's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).
    Goodness, no! The vast majority of my students are in it for fun and exercise (and getting away from the kids, and getting to do something for themselves, and getting to be girly)! Most of my students will never have a gig, which is just the way they want it! Some of my students stay in Level 1 for 2 sessions, some for 6 or more. I've had students in Level 2 for years, but they don't want it to get significantly harder- they're getting a workout, getting out of the house, learning more, and having fun, so they have no motivation to move up. Primarily, only students who are looking to perform (in a troupe, class performances, solo at haflas, pro- whatever) move up to Level 3.

    Belly dancing has so many benefits (exercise, socializing, body acceptance, etc, etc, etc)- NOBODY isn't "good enough" or "doesn't deserve it." Nope- everyone is welcome.


  20. #20
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).
    I have a student who has been in my classes for about 2 1/2 years and she still struggles mightily with simple traveling steps, finding the beat, remembering even the shortest of combinations, etc. Honestly, I admire her tenacity like you would not believe - if I worked as hard as she does at things that don't come easily to me, I'd be a much better dancer than I am now.

    She would not be able to join my student troupe at her current level, and I can only spend so much time assisting her one on one in a group class. But I absolutely enjoy having her in class, and hope that she'll continue to attend as long as she's getting what she needs out of the class.


  21. #21
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    My first teacher was not one to do restaurant gigs and seldom ever a birthday party. How could she have taught me?

    Most teachers here don't have the experience it takes to teach the gig business in class. Either they have been around for a long time and think that restaurnat work is not "nice" or they are young and haven't had the time yet to build up enough experience.
    So there's really just a handfull of teachers who are qualified to teach the business side to performing (and we are not talking stage shows).

    That's why I will be teaching a special course for aspiring solo dancers in May/June.
    It's 4x4 hours of everything from choosing the right music/costume to handling restaurant owners, drunk guests, children etc. How to negociate a gig, how to make sure the music WILL play...
    All that stuff.
    My motto is: "Don't make all the mistakes yourself - lean from mine!" ..l;,

    There are quite some interested dancers - since what's normally taught is always for dancing on stage. Totally different subject!

    MEISSOUN


  22. #22
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by laura 2 View Post
    I have a student who has been in my classes for about 2 1/2 years and she still struggles mightily with simple traveling steps, finding the beat, remembering even the shortest of combinations, etc. Honestly, I admire her tenacity like you would not believe - if I worked as hard as she does at things that don't come easily to me, I'd be a much better dancer than I am now.

    She would not be able to join my student troupe at her current level, and I can only spend so much time assisting her one on one in a group class. But I absolutely enjoy having her in class, and hope that she'll continue to attend as long as she's getting what she needs out of the class.
    Yes, this. I have had more than one student similiar to this and I admire their perserverance and eagerness, cuz they enjoy the dance so much. To many students, it is very "freeing" even if they don't quite catch on as quick as others, and they do continue as a fun hobby.


  23. #23
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosette View Post
    I'm inclined to be skeptical about students who complain that their one teacher is failing to teach them all the stuff they think they need to know. Beginning students aren't knowledgeable enough yet to have much of a clue about what they are "not being taught." Once a student has become so sophisticated in their understanding of the dance that they can identify needs for which their teacher does not provide, they should also be capable of finding their own resources to learn what they want to learn. Here in the Information Age, it has never been easier to do this. So why expect just one teacher to provide you with everything you think you need, especially if you intend to be a professional?

    Actually the thought of a professional dancer who is the sole product of one teacher's training makes me uncomfortable. I think part of "going pro" should be getting out there and becoming part of the BIG dance community, drawing your dance "vocabulary" from various sources to create your own style.

    Rosette
    Yes, good to add this - anyone even considering pro, and serious students as well, should be attending as many workshops, shows, other teachers; and generally embracing and expanding their dance world as much as possible!


  24. #24
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing?
    There is a distinction between "hobbyist" and "training pro," and if one has the luxury of setting up two educational tracks, then I would not hesitate to keep someone with no natural ability from moving off the hobbyist track. If a student is simply devoid of talent, then perhaps that means she will have to contain herself to the lower-level classes and the no-cut student troupe. Her enthusiasm does not give her the right to drag down upper-level classes, where students are paying to learn material to advance themselves, not for remedial coaching for her. It does depend on the personalities involved, though. If the no-pro-potential student is aware of her limitations, isn't trying to wangle her way into the teacher's by-invitation troupe, and is content to hang out quietly in the back row of class, and the other students don't mind her being there, then it may not be an issue. The problem is when that student lacks the awareness and imposes on the others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosette View Post
    I'm inclined to be skeptical about students who complain that their one teacher is failing to teach them all the stuff they think they need to know. Beginning students aren't knowledgeable enough yet to have much of a clue about what they are "not being taught."
    I don't totally agree with this. Even as a beginner, if you have the motivation to seek out information, you can reach a point where you can recognize what you're not being taught. If you are trying to supplement your knowledge with DVDs or forums like this one, and you come to your teacher with questions only to be told things that are obviously crazy ("Fifi Abdou can't be a very famous dancer or I'd have heard of her!"), or you're discouraged from trying to learn from other sources, then, yes, you can know what you're "not being taught."

    Actually the thought of a professional dancer who is the sole product of one teacher's training makes me uncomfortable.
    Usually, but if the one teacher you had was Mahmoud Reda, then carry on... Not having enough exposure to other teachers' methodologies is a problem when you're attempting to elevate yourself to that next level, but the opposite situation can also be a problem. Teacher hopping and taking 200 workshops with different teachers doesn't mean you're necessarily any good, either. Most solid dancers have a combination of experience with multiple teachers and extended mentoring with a single teacher.


  25. #25
    Official BHUZzer Azraa's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    I was browsing another forum thingie last night and came across an old post from a student who was complaining that her teacher never taught her how to do a zeffa. From what I gather, this student had taken about a year or 2 of classes.

    That got me to wondering just WHEN do we start actually teaching them how to do professional gigs? My students are awesome, but after a year are they really ready to hold their own in a wedding? That's really only 52 hours of classes. Even 2 years -- we're still working on refining technique and musical interpretation.

    How do most of you go about preparing your students for working with a live band, or handling an actual ethnic dance assignment? And when is the best time to bring up subjects like "these are the top 25 songs you'll hear a live band play. Be prepared to dance to them." ? IN GENERAL, at what point do you start training them in the specifics relating to professional gigs?
    When my troupe director felt I was ready (I had said casually - someday I would like to do gigs but never pushed) she invited me to some to be her helper, etc. And we did one on one coaching, sometimes just talking about the details and things you need to know. A lot of coaching. And I still screwed up my first time out - I think she knew I would because well, most of us do. - I screwed up for myself, the clients were happy.


  26. #26
    Mega BHUZzer Linnyg's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Interesting, I have no intention of going pro at this moment in time or doing any type of private gigs so I guess I never worried about some of this stuff. I know about zeffa even if I don't really know how to do it but I always figured that if I chose to go there, I will find someone and get taught.

    As to what I get in my "regular" classes. Some "this is a common song so it would be good to really get to know it" and about set structure and the like. How to do private parties, restaurant gigs, business cards and all that, nope and I wouldn't expect it if it was not a "so you wanna go pro" class or a private.


  27. #27
    Advanced BHUZzer jocelyn's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    I'm also not a teacher, so please excuse my gate crashing.

    I would eventually like to go pro. I'm 19 years old and I've been dancing for coming up on five years. I've been studying with primarily one teacher and I've taken a large variety of workshops with various instructors. In my once a week classes we work on building technique and movement vocabulary as well as some specific topics.

    I'm just now starting to branch out into private classes and intensive mentoring. Both of the dancers I am studying with have a lot of performance experience in a variety of situations. I'm also just starting out as a member of an "invitation only" advanced level troupe. I'm also beginning to compete at a "hobbyist/novice" level to get feedback from other professionals/instructors. I couldn't imagine advertising myself as a "pro" dancer for at least another four or five years.


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer raqFariha's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).
    my teacher has told me good things about my dancing that i was both shocked and delighted to hear, and when i started with her i couldn't even tell that i was off beat, much less correct it! i don't know any teachers who would turn a student away, but also know that she might see something in your that your don't. ^_^


    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    I wish I lived in an area where this was a legitimate problem. .....
    me too!!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    ..... If you have a teacher who hasn't been exposed to "the classics," and they don't expose their students to that music, the ignorance just blooms like dandelions in the spring. I think it is important to start with the music aspect early on. You don't want to have your beginners trying to slog through a choreography to a 48-minute Umm Kalthoum song--that would be overwhelming and weird--but beginners can start on shorter, more accessible music from Class 1, even if you have to save ten minutes at the end of each lesson for your "music appreciation time."
    this. even if you just use those songs for warm ups and stretching, some exposure from the beginning is good. it helps for students who think that bond is Middle Eastern music get to hear the real thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    ....If you are trying to supplement your knowledge with DVDs or forums like this one, and you come to your teacher with questions only to be told things that are obviously crazy ("Fifi Abdou can't be a very famous dancer or I'd have heard of her!"), ...then, yes, you can know what you're "not being taught."
    or if you ask her what style she teaches and she can't answer. true story! ^_~
    Last edited by raqFariha; 05-05-2010 at 10:31 PM.


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    turn away students??? for lack of ability? hell no...

    i teach dance classes, for 95% of my students this starts out a mere once a week hobby. for, well, i'm guessing, for the ones that stick it out for years and years, for 50% it's still a once a week hobby, for the rest of them it's become a twice a week and some weekends hobby, for a few it becomes more by then, as an occasional income, absolute passion, eating all their freetime etc.

    but basically, we teach a physical exercise or art class, well, a mix of that, for hobbiists. we're not training pro's.... so well, i dont think peoples natural ability matters, but whether or not they enjoy it.

    on top of that, i enjoy the challenge! so, no, we dont turn away students that either think or proof to find it difficult.

    and dont be so hard on yourself

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatKathyLori View Post
    Since there are a bunch of teachers here on this thread, I have a question: do you ever turn away students that seem to lack a natural rhythm and may not have a gift for dancing? It seems like my teacher is putting up with me at times. I think I'm improving, but maybe not at the rate that she requires of me. What would you do with someone like me ( oh boy, what a loaded question ).


  30. #30
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Student complaining she's not being taught to be a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by artemisia_danst View Post
    turn away students??? for lack of ability? hell no...

    i teach dance classes, for 95% of my students this starts out a mere once a week hobby. for, well, i'm guessing, for the ones that stick it out for years and years, for 50% it's still a once a week hobby, for the rest of them it's become a twice a week and some weekends hobby, for a few it becomes more by then, as an occasional income, absolute passion, eating all their freetime etc.

    but basically, we teach a physical exercise or art class, well, a mix of that, for hobbiists. we're not training pro's.... so well, i dont think peoples natural ability matters, but whether or not they enjoy it.

    on top of that, i enjoy the challenge! so, no, we dont turn away students that either think or proof to find it difficult.

    and dont be so hard on yourself
    Exactly.

    My students aren't training to be professionals. Some of them take their dancing quite seriously, but it's meant to be a FUN part of their lives. They didn't sign up for a recreational bellydance class on their own time to be judged, or excluded, or even because they wanted to learn to dance perfectly.

    They come to class, they have fun, they enjoy the sensations of moving to beautiful music, they make friends, they get exercise for their bodies and learning for their brains.

    Some have a great deal more natural talent than others, of course. And I am very choosy about how our art form is shown to the general public. Some dancers will not be chosen for many public performances, because they don't have the natural ability to showcase the art form well. But if I'm doing my job right, they will come to classes, make friends, and dance their hearts out several times a year at studio parties, haflas, and student recitals.


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