Sep. 6th, 2016 03:22 pm
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Open class yesterday was a blast, had fourteen ladies who enjoyed the class and wanted to sign up. Except they couldn't because both my classes are full. And I even extended the capacity, from 10 people per class to 13 for the beginners and 12 for the intermediates/advanced.

Now I have twenty five people every week that expect me to teach a good class. Eep!! The good thing is that during this open class, I noticed how I improved in structuring my classes, cueing, connecting with the students and making sure the class contains enough material to feel like they worked without being overwhelming. It's hard for me because I am an unstructured person who likes to add stuff every ten minutes. Because I am so excited! And this other thing is also really cool! Notice!

My plan is to totally rock this semester. Beginners are getting a beledi with assaya for starters and a Turkish classical song to give them a feel for Egyptian versus Turkish. The intermediates/advanced are getting a drum solo with lots of layering (that's what we're doing the first 7 weeks) and a fan veil choreography that is fun and flashy last. First bellydance hafla is set on October 5th, that's one month away. I am doing Kermit arms right now on account of having so much to do.

It's all good though.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
The enrollment opened for my classes and my intermediates class was full within 6 hours. Huzzah!! Yes, I get a kick out of my students loving my classes. Some of them instructed their parents to enroll them as they were on holiday, others set an alarm clock because they were on the other side of the world.

For the beginners class we only have two people signed up, but there are two more weeks before the trial class and three more weeks after that. As long as I have five or six people to play with teach I'm happy. Teaching belly dance is one of the hardest and most fun and rewarding things in my life. I wouldn't be dancing still if I didn't teach.

Speaking of dancing, I told Sense of Bellydance that I'll take it slow this season. We have a show on October 22th and after that I'll skip most of the rehearsals. It took me a while to figure out why I am sad and happy at the same time. It's because I want to spend more time dancing. The bigger the troupe, the more time is spend on sitting around and talking. During the weekend in the cottage, we spent 7 hours on official sit down and talk business, like what we were going to do next year. I brought the costume I am working on and made a dent in adding beading. Thing is, for people who love to dance, we don't do much dancing. I hate that, I want to dance more. So I am focusing on surviving the next year and dancing as much as possible.

With regards to dancing I also scouted the local dance school that is ten minutes from our house. It is nice and they do various modern and urban dance styles, mainly for age 8-25. I am thinking of renting the studio every now and then so I can host instructors or teach a class with veils, wings or fan veils. Ideally in a couple of years it would be nice to have a group big enough to teach at their studio and go to the belly dance championships to.

Eliza is almost nine months and I have one more strip of the pill left. After finishing the strip, we'll wait and see what happens. The next twelve months will be filled with:

1. Totally rocking my weekly bellydance classes at Parnassos. I worked really hard on the lesson plans and had so much fun already. It contains stuff from Sadie's Raqs Flow, Ava's intensive from last year and various new moves I got from World Dance New York dvds. I feel like shaking things up

2. Remodeling! They start in the third week of October with demolishing our garage/shed. We will be living in our house while they are building and I am a bit worried about the lack of privacy but it's all for a good cause. The dance studio will be ready before the end of the year. We will then put all the furniture from the living room into the studio, leave the house and live somewhere else for four weeks while they work in the living room. I am currently gathering information and images for decorating the living room, dining area, play are for Eliza and the hobby area in the back of the annex. This interior design thing is fascinating though kind of confusing.

3. Getting pregnant. I have a serious case of rattling ovaries. Kind of disturbing considering that Eliza isn't sleeping through the night yet, but I love her to bits and I don't want to wait. I might get pregnant within a month, or after two years. I just don't want to wait. Plus, with the current frequency of intimacy we'll have one shot per three months so that's not helping either

4. Programming the dance studio. The builder will be done with the living room medio March/April. We'll move our furniture back into the house and have someone build sliding mirror doors on one side of the studio, plus decorate the interior as well. We'll officially open the studio in April and I want my program to be ready. I am putting quirky subjects on it that I always wanted to teach. Some costuming bits, stuff about the business side of bellydance and actual bellydance subjects but with a twist. Plus I'll schedule two prenatal bellydance workshops per month and see if there is interest in such a thing.
mekyria: (Default)
With all the serious stuff going on like burials and talks about taxes, prenupts and testaments, I haven't written about the vellydance events in the past couple if weeks.

June 5th: annual student recital at the cultural center. We presented our performances in the theater room, which added a lot to the overall atmosphere and intensity of the performance. Super proud that my internediates pulled off a classic ATS improvisation after ten classes of ATS technique. The beginners were adorable with a short veil performance and our group dance blew people away. Next semester I want to do a group dance together as well: having many people on the stage looks good and really brings out the formation changes. I was inspired this semester and four of the beginners are now hooked. Weehee! I also noticed how I am teaching differently towards beginners compared to the intermediates. It might be beneficial if I treated my intermediates like I treat my beginners on account of keeping a fresh perspective.

On June 11th, Gerie threw a bellydance party at the cultural center where she teaches. It was so nice, lovely line up and my students did well with the group performance. It was a very intense day, with me running from a bachelorette party of a friend to the hafla and then back home. All by train and bus, while holding a whipped cream pie in one hand and lugging my suitcase with me, and pumping milk during the day.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)

It seems that there suddenly are plenty of performance opportunities for my students and for me, on student recital/hafla like events. Part of this is because Parnassos, the center where I teach, has to make more money to keep afloat. Throwing bellydance nights draws in extra people who buy drinks. Drinks are ridiculous cheap though, like 1 euro for non alchoholic beverages and 2 euro for wine/beer.

I am getting paid to throw these halfa's, prepare and teach a public workshop for who ever shows up (so... both beginners and advanced should appreciate the workshop). I program a short performance slot (three performances) and I create the playlist for bopping around afterwards. I probably make more money this way compared to throwing a hafla myself. The basic reason being that I don't have to rent a venue, I don't have to promote the event, I don't have to sell tickets (admission is free) and I don't have to dress up the bar.

This leaves me running around the house packing stuff during the day, trying to fit into a costume (My multicolor Bella bra cups are too small now! Noooooo!!!!), creating playlists and doing various other stuff. My students trickled in one by one and we got down to practicing. They did the choreo to Teggi Ezzay, which looks good now on the students that practiced and showed up on time.

The hafla was a success: roughly 40 people showed up for the workshop, everyone participated and had fun. Even the group of young guys who started out giggling. One of the performances was cancelled last minute because Roos has an injury but three was a good number. I faffed around with a veil (seriously, nothing of my prepared chore stuck), Brenda did a fusion piece to Evanescence and my students closed with the group performance.

Dancing afterwards was fun, but around 22.00 people started pouring in from other events, killing the bellydance buzz. Something our event scheduler should have been aware of, but I didn't put the blame on her. She'll probably check twice next time, it's a bit odd to advertise bellydance party and having 'regular' customers coming in half way.

mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)

this is the choreography that my group is working on this semester, with me taking a couple of artistic liberties because it is a solo performance. The structure is pretty obvious as it's supposed to :-)

What can I say? I can see that I have given birth recently as here is more tummy. Maybe I should lay off the chocolate for a bit and move around a bit more, but when I start work again I will also be riding my bike, taking stairs and running for trains so that should also help. I love, love, love to dance and my smile and relaxed attitude make it look good, and I can have that at any size!
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)


My 7 week beginners session ended and though all students loved it, I only have four sign ups for the session that starts on February 9th. It's not as bad as the advanced group, with only 1 enrollment so far. *le sigh* I once more wonder why I put in all the effort when it is harder and harder to get people to sign up.

In brighter news, yesterday was the muwashshahat class where we danced on the 10/8 rhythm with the handkerchiefs. Last week we did saaidi which was also fun. I am a bit more comfortable with saaidi because I've taught several saaidi choreographies. The first class was Spanish-Arabic with lots of skirt moves. Next week is Khaleegy and for the last class I am still considerening Nubian (did a weeklong with Khazafy to years ago) or Turkish 9/8 (did orientalized version and took some classes in Istanbul, but need to revisit).

The irony of it all is that I becoming a better, more confident teacher while sign up is steadily declining. I really need an at-home dance no rent studio! I am happy with my upstairs dance room: not big enough to teach, but big enough for my own practice which is good.

#10dagenbuikdans challenge
I am still doing my challenge and am now at day 9. I started over on the day I went public with the idea. Many people interested, no one participating. It is awesome to be practicing on a regular base and I can feel my strength growing every day. I'm combining it with 30 day shred and other short workout videos and it works. I learned that I am still very mush focussed on learning through dvd because that is when I can relax. Preparing my classes, making and learning my own choreographies doesn't feel like practice, it feels like work.

Dalla Dream Dancers
We're meeting again tomorrow and we're going to practice our folkloric repertoire. we received word from Ada, our dance aunt who is terminally ill. She is discussing euthanesia with her doctor. I expect that we won't do much dancing tomorrow, but talk about her and what we can do for her as long as she's here.

I got booked to teach a bellydance workshop at someone's house tomorrow afternoon. I arranged with work to be working from home for half a day, then I'll hop into the car and teach the workshop. Busy day but I am happy that I get to use my big box with hipscarves once more, I sometimes feel guilty for having so much dance stuff while there are less and less occassions to use it.

Costuming website
the costuming website is online and I planned a couple of posts so it will contain a new post every week. I have a huge backlog of costuming projects that I can upload, and so I will. After all, costume addicts don't care if a costume was made in the past or the present. What does make a difference is the involvement of people when doing a costume project, it's very effective to interact, ask opinions and make people eager to check up on you.

Bellydance Evolution
I want to join the BDE online competition for the shows in Germany in May. I reckon I have a fair shot as
1. Winning means considerable travel and housing expenses for the participants
2. It's the third competition in EU so most people who wanted to join have already tried it
3. Looking at the questions, I have a good amount of training on the subject

I am scheduling my registration somewhere in February an dplan to record and upload my video within three days. 24 hours is just not possible for me, though it would give me a good head start on the other competitors. Part of this is given in by my insane need to keep busy and part of it is a dancer's midlife crisis. Once I have kids, I don't see myself training on this level or being able to run off for a couple of weeks to dance.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Today is the first day that we'll perform our lustrum production to a sold out audience. I am now at home trying to get everything in order. My main hinderances are:

1. I set my alarmclock at 6.30 so I could bring the dog to daycare, but I overslept. When I woke up at nine, it was too late. So here I am at home, trying to teach the dog to be quiet in her bench when I am upstairs. Not ideal.
2. last minute requests. Yes, after the cultural center decided to change the name of the show, they also had to buy last minute extra fabric for decoration, asked me to bring hipscarfs to decorate the lamps (whatsapp, 24.06) and if I could make a general spotify playlist for the bar when we're not performing.


I haven't tried if I fit into my own gold costume yet and I need to pack my suitcase with props that my dancers need. Feed the dog (and myself) and what is the most stressful event of today: go to our backdoor neighbor who promised to look after Noushka tonight. All this while E is in Germany so no fallback plan if something fails.

Oh, and I need to get myself into costume and on stage too, on account of creating new videomaterial of performances I already have. Which I need to practice. Somehwere today.

It is going to be awesome though.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Yesterday was our last monday night rehearsal. Next Sunday is our dress rehearsal and then it'll be SHOWTIME! All five shows are completely sold out. That's right, I didn't believe it myself either. The cultural center hired me to provide the bellydance part of the program in the bar. There will be a theatre show in the music room. Don't be fooled by Jane Austin's idea about a music room. This is not a nicely decorated room where people have tea, play the clavecimble and hope to meet their future husband. The music room is where the big student orchestra rehearses, essentially a high school gym room.

There will be modern dance and jazz dance. There will be short performance in the piano cabins (the practice cabins with piano's). And most importantly (to me!) there will be bellydance. This really is a dream project for me: we'll do a drum solo and part of us will be drumming. We'll perform some classic raqs sharqi (I am amazed how most students want to dance a magency, or a pop choreography, or anything that is classic bellydance), my Gulf inspired choreography which is simple but tons of fun. We have a cheesy introduction to Arabian Nights from the soundtrack of Aladdin. My Dalla Dream Dance friends will join us on Saturday to perform shamadan and saaidi. I will videotape the hell out of it and probably not get into editing in the next two years or so.

I imagine myself in fifty years to be old and holding on to all the good memories. I am pretty sure that this show will be an epic memory that I will enjoy for a very long time.

I am tired and will be glad when this project is over, but I am also very happy that I got to do this. The center asked me to send in my bill now to make sure we get paid before Christmas and the prospect of having the payment in my bank account before the end of the year is also very nice. The only thing that worries me is that E. is off to a hunting trip for the next eight days or so. It is ridiculous how much I love him and want to talk to him about silly non essential stuff and cuddle with him on the couch. On the other hand, life is not going to end and I have several fun things planned. We (dog and me) will be fine. I am getting better at being a dog owner every day and I miss her when she's not around.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
I'm still doing the Bellydance Business Academy course and I have arrived in module 3: Social media. I've learned to tweak my fanpage profile (didn't realize I left 3/4 of it blank) and added a 'Notes' article (it will help boost the google rating of the fanpage). I am looking into social media dashboards like Hootsuite. It occured to me that every penny that I made in the past eight years was made in the Netherlands and my default language for social media profiles is English. There's something I could improve right away! I'm going to do a lot more stuff in Dutch for my promotion.

My recent succes is that I had enough people (8) enrolled to start a beginnersclass last night. Much to my amusement, I have a Rosanne and a Roseanne (and my real name is Rosanne) in my class. It was a good class and it reminded me of how much I like the simplicity of bellydance and it's way to connect women with themselves. I put this succes down to the fact of remodelling my website with BDBA so it is easier for people to enroll. That was 12 euro well spent! the website of the cultural center is a hot mess, very hard to find my course and enroll.

I am also looking into creating products that are for sale through downloads. Like the handouts that I make for my courses, PDF booklets, patterns, costuming how-to's, etc. I will be off the teaching grid for a while next year and maintaining my pressence is important to me. I was contemplating quitting teaching but I am not ready yet. Being a bellydance teacher makes me happy and if anything, I want to cherish this for as long as it does feel like a calling instead of work.

My production group is getting along nicely, next Saturday is our second three hour rehearsal (which is over way too quickly). We drummed/danced the full choreography a couple of times now and I am confident that we will rock the stage. the cultural center is being weird last-minute, asking if we can incorporate black and white tights (uhm, no) and I need to be there to supervise the building of the frame for the background. The university is a no dog zone, but I managed to be allowed to bring the dog this time because the building is closed for the general public. The cultural center asked for a name change so our show is now called 'Arabian Nights'. Not original, but it fits into the program. The flyer is a hot mess of non-information, our group is inviting people with the flyer one of us made. Also, thursday is closed to the GP, a recent change that wasn't announced to the performers.

In three weeks, this will all be over and we'll have some great memories to look back on. It feels like I am creating a masterpiece and the eight years of prior teaching all led up to this. There is also interest in my 'Bellydance specials' course in January and people enrolling right now, I feel like I am (finally?) on the right track as a bellydance professional.
mekyria: (belly dance floorwork)
This year my regular intermediate class is replaced by a performance groupe. The eight ladies are working their butt off and after eight classes we have made a program consisting out of ten performances. Some solo, five group performances. The trick about this crazy project is to not stop and think about how insane this is. Which I knew when I came up with this idea, but still. Crazy. Because we're doing this show FIVE TIMES. Yes, that's right: five. times.

The cherry on top is the 6 and a half minute drum solo choreography that I learned from Issam and Aziza a couple of years ago. We are going to dance AND drum the damn thing, thus filling 13 minutes in our total program. Two of my dance sisters from Snese of Bellydance wanted to join which is awesome. I offered them a performance slot during the night in return.

Everyone has made their gold satin circle skirt and blue chiffon circle skirt. We're pairing it with a gold bedlah of individual choice, to make things more interesting. I was never one for exactly matching outfits. WE're good in the costuming department, have all the choreo's in place except for one girl who hasn't shown her solo so far. Life gets in the way and I get that, but dammit wona, you're stalling for six weeks now. To complicate matters, E will be out of town during the dress rehearsal and opening night, I have to find someone to dog sit for me.I will be so proud, tired and happy on the 14th of December!
mekyria: (Together)
E. and I returned from our two and a half day honeymoon yesterday. We had a great time in Antwerpen (Belgium) though the weather was crap. There is so much rain falling down this year all over our little part of the world that experts predict an early autumn with a lot of food for the animals. Seems like Autumn started after the first half of august.

Today is the start of the new school season and traffic was crazy. I succesfully manouvred around the roundabouts that were packed with traffic jam, but had an unfortunate incident with a car at a t-crossing. I didn't get hurt but I have some damage on my bike that needs to be looked after. Things were obvious in this case, the driver just didn't see me. She was also shocked and I assured her that it coule have happened to anyone. We exchanged contact information and we'll be in touch tonight, when we both had time to process.

The start of the new school season also means that there are thousands of new students on our university, anxiously starting their new study. I am going through my email to get back on top of stuff, work will be busy.

Tonight I am teaching my try-out class and the second audition for my project. I am hoping for ten people in my try out class, seven people have signed up for the audition tonight. Squee!! I have set the max on 14 participants for the production, we'll see how that works out.
mekyria: (Saaidi gold dress)
I officially have a holiday! I took this week off to teach a belly dance summer camp, that unfortunately only had three people who enrolled. I am using this week to prepare next semester and to take a short trip to Antwerp with my habibi as a sort of honeymoon.

My beginners will get a basic choreography with some Iraqi styled moves to Tala min Beit Abouha by Ellie Atie. It is a very catchy version of the traditional Iraqi song. I will not put a lot of hairography in it because I want to protect the necks and spines of my beginners, but there will be some hair flipping going on. If I can finish this choreography tomorrow, I can videotape it before our practice on Wednesday night.

And on to the lustrum production! I wanted a choreography that is very challenging and I messaged Aziza about using the choreography that she taught us during Dreamcamp in Belgium last year. She said (and I quote):"Go for it!. Aziza is super duper awesome. Also, since we went into the rhythms in the song in depth, I have someone's dad who can drum and might be able to drum while we dance.... That would be an awesome experience for the students.

As the drum solo is over 7 minutes, I doubt that we can get another choreography in. I estimtate 1 class per minute of choreography, we have ten classes, two extra rehearsals during the weekend, the final rehearsal and four evenings of performing (crazy, right?). so I thought: why not use the beginners choreo as a back-up song: if we have time, they can learn it and I can add more spins and headturns and stuff. And if both groups know the song, I could have both groups perform the song together for the student recital.

This song begs for cute folk dance like moves and combinations. Squee!!!
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)
Next Friday I have the audition for the Lustrum production. I have six people who enrolled and paid: four students and two dancers who I am not familiar with. The audution is paid: the participants pay 50 euros up front as a downpayment for the whole production, then pay the rest of the money if they succeed. If they do not succed or do not want to participate, their fifty euro will be returned.

This means that you have to be serious to audition, which is good. This is the first time that I am holding auditions and I am the one doing the judging so I am putting a lot of work in to get it right.

1. What am I looking for?
dancers that are technically on an intermediate level. They can perform all the basic belly dance moves, learn an intermediate choreography in e decent time span, practice by themselves, find the beat in a song and dance to it. People that work well together, that can contribute to the group process to create an end product that looks good on stage.

2. how am I assesing?
I am doing an open class of an hour that contains a warring up, drills, learning a block of choreography and doing an assignment in smaller groups. Afterwards dancers have ten minutes with me to talk over their idea, their personal goals, music that inspires them etc. I will videotape this class and maybe one of the people from Parnassos will show up to help me assess.

3. how am I giving feedback
I am putting up a feedback sheet per person, adressing the different area. I want to call the person on the phone and talk through the strong points and weak points to support my final decision (as far as I can see, I expect all dancers to pass, but with areas to work on). If they like, they can get the feedback form by email. I will also give advice for the months july/august and on practice routine. There are some hard decisions to make though, as I have a student that is not good in self reflection and thinks she is doing great while she is often on the wrong foot, her hands are too flexed and her arms go into angles that shouldn't be there. When corrected, she shrugs it off.

4. what are my goals with this production?
I want to learn how to lead a production team. For now, there will not be a storyline as the production is based on people walking in and out of our location. The focus of the classes will be on improving technique, designing your own practice routine and learning how to practice and develop your own choreography. In addition, we are learning two choreographies (yes, that is two full choreographies in 10 classes + 3 extra rehearsals. it is going to be fierce). I want to learn how to motivate and stimulate people to get better technique wise. I will also document the shit out of this project with photo and video material. Because I can.

...and if I do get pregnant, I can look back and know that I did my best to create awesome bellydancers. It will be an interesting day, Friday!
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
What I love about the place where I teach is that they have the opportunity to do a student recital at the end of the semester. And let's face it, recitals illicit a response in people: some get very excited, others get very quiet and withdraw. Ever since I started teaching, I decided that every semester we would have a student recital for those who wish to participate. The goal of the classes is to learn bellydance. But I find that in my students (female, academic, between 18-26) the performance opportunity inspires to actually attend all the classes, practice and evaluate their own capabilities.

Also, my current focus in my own dancing is on bellydance as a performance dance (as opposed to bellydance as a social dance, which is also a great focus). Working with my students helps me to develop my own skills as a choreographer, troupe director and organizer. We had a small group of beginners and a failry large group of intermediates last sunday.Read more... )
I am extremely proud of my intermediates for doing this (very short) drum solo with zills choreography:

I am going to pat myself on the back for managing the whole thing. Light could have been better but the light engineer did what she could. I brought a toi toi toi (nailpolish), all the extra costume stuff, the videocamera and one of the students brought her photocamera so we have decent group shots. Having recent and good quality footage and pictures is good for attracting potential students and God know I need at least eight students per class to continue and things are tight.
mekyria: (happy retro dance gunesh)
I am having a hard time with the idea that I'll stop teaching for a bit due to circumstances so I decided to make some extra memento's of this year's teaching. Like videotaping classes and getting some pictures of my students during class and such.

It is incredibly hard to get decent pictures of yourself teaching a real life class. I usually look like crap when teaching. Considering that I have already worked for eight hours that day and travelled over two hours, I don't feel ready for a photoshoot. Last year I decided that the efoort was worth it and I got me some pretty workout clothes, always wearing a flower in my hair and if possible touch up my make-up before class starts.

The second problem is that having someone in your classroom taking pictures is disruptive. In order to get a good shoot, the photographer needs to walk around and ideally sometimes ask you to hold that pose. Not good for the class flow. When I found out that my highres videocamera can also make pictures, I decided to videotape as much classes as possible with the idea that I need videomaterial for a promo clip, but also photo material. Obviously I can only use the pictures online due to low resolution but it is better than nothing at all.

The third problem is getting your students to sign for using their image. I had them do this at the start of the semester and when I was teaching for free (Bellyfit and two free belly dance trial classes) I announced it at the start. That solves the portrait right issue.

This is what I did for the past eight months, gathering gigabytes of video material in HD. I have finally gone through all the video's, watched every bit of it and took screenshots. I then photoshopped the images: removing the bags in the background, readjusting the lighting settings so the image show more detail. Now I have a couple of pictures of what I look like while teaching and I uploaded them to my website. Do you want to share pictures of you while teaching students? Please share them, that would be fun!Read more... )

Good class

Sep. 3rd, 2013 12:59 pm
mekyria: (summer darkness 2009)
Yesterday was the free try-out class at the cultural center. It is always a suprise how many people show up for this class: one year, I had three people, another year I had one, who told me that she wanted to start teaching bellydance herself.

Click for pictures of happy students! )
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)

Brwosing back through my journal I noticed that I haven't written about belly dance for a while. Being a bellydancer is like having a lifelong partner: at times I remember the first time we met and how I madly fell in love with belly dance. At other times, we don't get to spend quality time together, or I wonder if I am still interested and in love after thirteen years. In the past couple of weeks, I was having a resurging feeling of love for the dance, which is good!

here's a longish update, with pictures and video material.

Read more... )

They did well and had fun! I am very proud of them and I look forward to teaching next semester. I wonder how long the cultural center will continue to hire their teachers: I suspect somewhere in the next two years they might change their business model to teachers hiring roms insted, in which case I am screwed. I'll worry about it when I get there.

mekyria: (Default)

My voice is held hostage by the slime monster in my throat, I am still vertically challenged in the sense.of being upright sucks.

Cancelled the class, am grateful that the cultural center is making the calls. It took me two minutes before they understood that I was a human being on the phone

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mekyria: (Default)
We all get requests from random strangers through email and phone about try out classes. We all know that these inquieries usually come to nothing. I my six years of teaching, I haven't had one inquiery that ended in someone participating in the class. Lo and behold, not so last Monday!

Two teenage girls (I estimate 16ish) showed up for my beginners class. I was so baffled that I completely threw my lesson plan out of the window. The planning was working on chest lifts/drops, shoulder accents and dancer's walk. We started out with the walk, got to the acents and then people started asking questions, I got a bit carried away and when I looked at the clock it was 5 minutes after the official end of my class. Oh noes!!! I rushed outside to call the next group in, while hastily taking the four students of the first group through a short cool down. I felt like a bad teacher. The good news: the girls really liked the class and asked if they could enroll. Yes please!!

The good news is that I recovered my focus in the second group. We did the walking exercise (making eye contact, exuding confidence, being there) and it went very well. I think we got a bit further in the group proces with regards to building an emotionally safe environment. The third class are my intermediates and we dipped into musicality. I have a different approach this season in addition to the choreography/technique material: each group chose music to dance too, and they had homework to transcribe the music (what do you hear, + write it down). 

It is a very confusing assignment if you have never done it before. In class we took one of the songs (sensual chifti from Eddie 'the sheik' kochak). First dance to the melody only, then rhythm only, then in pairs: one takes the rhythm, the other the melody. The melody person gives a sign when they want to swap. It was brilliant, several students had epiphanies with regards to musical interpretation. I have mostly melodic listeners in my group (I'm melodic too, though working on using the rhythm more often). How could would it be to have live music in class?
mekyria: (belly dance floorwork)
 I haven't written much about teaching this last semester, mainly because I've been busy with major life changes and that kind of thing. I have a lovely group of students for this semester who are working hard at learning how to dance. 

We're at class 11 out of 15 total and we just finished a choreography to Asena, a Turkish Oryantal song from the Bellydance Superstars Babelesque album. The good news is that the music was rearranged for the Turkish dancer Asena so it counts as proper Oryantal music instead of popularized American songs like Paul Dinletir's creations. Classes have suffered from people missing classes which slowed the tempo down a bit, so last week AND this week we worked on finishing the choreography. This time I decided to incorporate the floor patterns from day one, which slowed down the process but is now yielding results as everyone knows where they have to be and what they have to do. Well, sort of, anyway.

In my second group, someone asked: 'when do we move from the part where we do poses to walking?'
I replied:'well, you remember your homework last week of listening to the song three times?'
Everybody started laughing out loud, as it seems nobody did the homework. I'm hoping that they learn that something as simple as listening to the music three times in a week can hugely improve your dancing. It will make you feel more comfortable with the music. Ideally I have them listen to belly dance music 24/7 but let's face it, even I am not that crazy.  

It was hot as hell and after working on the choreography for 30 minutes straight I decided to throw the drum solo combo out of the window and play around with veils instead. There is a limited amount of things people can learn in a lesson and they were at their max. Instead we all grabbed a veil and we went through three basic concepts:

1. throwing one end of the veil up in the air and be amazed
2. turning around with your arms up so the veil spreads out
3. posing with veil

I divided the group into two and each group followed my lead for a super short veil performance:
pose, walk for 8 counts, spin 8 counts, pose 8 counts, spin 8 count, pose. We finished off with a dance circle where we change leadership, but this time while holding veils. One of my students has been to circus school (how cool is that!) and pulled out some crazy poi like moves. Fun was had by all :) The student recital is on June 5th, we have three classes and an hour before the recital to practice and put stuff together. This semester I put the main focus on the Asena choreography. Group one might do a short veil piece to the upbeat Turkish song Bursali, and group 2 might do a short drum solo. It all depends on class attendance. I don't think students realize how much attendance influences the pace of the class. I've slowed down a bit to keep everyone interested and make sure they come back. In other years when I stuck with the original program, people who missed a class didn't come back because they were afraid they would not be able to catch up. 

So either you end up with a small group of people who attend every time and learn a large amount, or a larger group of people who attend often but not always, who learn a medium amount. What would you prefer?

September 2017

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