mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)

Class

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.

Workshop
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)
woooohooo, living on a prayer!

It occured to me last night that I do an awful lot of things for this prduction. Some of the girls are not being cooperative and I hate it. I hate that I am preparing and working and doing stuff for our show and they expect to show up an hour late, dance and leave.

This happened during the part where I had to make an on-the-go playlist because the schedule that I made wasn't going to work because two ladies were late. Thus me selecting the wrong versions of songs on my ipod on the playlist, thus chaos entailed. We fixed it but I was a bit bummed about it.

The first show on Wednesday was a bit of a bummer. The organisation made a mistake, causing most of the audience to go to the first floor shows and leaving no audience for the ground floor. Performing for a half empty room and people walking away midperformance sucks big time.
We kept going though and survived day one. Though we officially have a technician, he is spread across the whole ground floor (four performance groups) so I am basically DJ-ing for our group. As I am adamant that I will get some good video footage out of it, I am also the videographer (thank you, company that made the gorillapod, for making my life so much easier), the stage manager, the creative director and I participate in some of the performances. I had to edit and adjust some of the music so the sound level is right, and so we have a 22 second song between performances to smoothen the transition (I used the start of Enter the RakkassaH). All that and being pregnant too.

Wednesday was much better. I adjusted the times, the audience was better spread across all locations so we had a fair crowd and the overal vibe was better. No suprise that the ladies who arrive later also arrived late for their solo performance. *sigh* As all participants paid to be in this production and I am the one who is getting paid, I am going to suck it up. I am a bit worried about my health, this is obviously asking much of my reduced energy levels. Also, I had to adjust my costume because it didn't fit anymore meaning that I am starting to show.

Here I am, behind my computer, planning the performances for tonight. One of the other girls offered to print the timetables at work and I am now creating the matching playlists in iTunes. Itunes playlists are a great system if you don't have to swap performances at the fly. I brought an extra cable so I could connect my iphone, making it easier to swithch between ambient music and the performance music.

Tomorrow we are joined by my dance sisters Y. and J. and we'll do our shammadan and saaidi performance for the first and second time (two shows tomorrow). I will be vast asleep all Sunday.
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: (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: (egypt doorway)
Last weekend was filled with things.  For starters, Mr.R. had his hunting course on Saturday so I had the joy of sleeping in while he had to get up early. I love living in De Meern but the traveling time is killing me and I have always been terrible at getting up. In fact, I am so bad at it that everyone who spend a holiday with me tells amusing stories about me not functioning early in the morning.

I wanted to get up early on Saturday to work on material for my classes but I didn't because SLEEP. I went to The Hague around 11 for a rehearsal of our new theater project. It centers around the many roles that women have during their life and is situated in a laundromat. We had fun doing silly things with laundry baskets and a bit of dancing to a Mozart in Egypt song.

Laudie asked me to do a goddess themed Bellyfit class and I asked if this would be a FaKyMa effort. Laudie confirmed, but I was a bit taken aback by J. who told me she wanted to co-teach with the easier levels. Because 1. she did not finish her bellyfit training (doing eight practicum classes + feedback), 2. she has been a member of bellyfit but hasn't listend to any of the music in the past six months 3. she wants me to send her the artemis training video's that I bought without offering anything in return and 4. I am making us a couple of training skirts so we look similar.

Considering that I did the mandatory extra 16 hours of self study to complete my teacher training, putting in 4 hour to learn the new routine and invest 3 hours on making our training outfit, I feel like I am the main teacher and I am responsible for teaching the workshop. The one who is responsible makes the calls, though I suspect J. might feel a bit agitated about this.

On sunday I had a photographer coming over to our place fora shoot in our living room. We did a lot of close ups of eyes (his request), he took a couple of pictures of me in bellyfit teaching gear (my request) and a couple of shots in regular clothes (it never hurts to have a recent headshot in regular clothes). Mr.R. was noodling around the house and found it fascinating that taking pictures could take up four hours. When the shoot was over I drove Mr.R to the trainstation as he made an appointment to watch terrible movies with a friend. I stayed at home and tried to reign the post-photoshoot chaos into something more manageable, watched the new Veronica Mars movie (it is cool!), did a quick update on my website and some video editing of Ikaiya's wedding footage. It took my old computer eight hours to create a basic dvd but it is done now. I am putting off buying a new pc because we have so many expensive things coming our way this year.

And more sad news; Global Dance Lab, the worlddance studio in Amsterdam that Ada was running is closing it's doors. It is sad because it had really nice studio's and a space to throw hafla's. They are closing up because despite a two month remodelling the noise from the studio is still outside the legal parameters. In the last year, the Tropen theater in Amsterdam shut down, the Dansvloer (studio in Utrecht), the Regentes theater is trying a restart and now Gobal dance Lab. The studio's and theaters that we work with in the belly dance community are closing down, we have less festivals, the theater shows don't sell enough tickets to cover the cost. I came close to not teaching this semester because of low enrollments. Is the end near for belly dance?
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... )
mekyria: (Default)
I am making a pdf handout for my beginners, including answers to common questions, top ten benefits of bellydance, exercises to improve balance and coordination, overview of styles, etc. The visualization that I talked about yesterday is part of the hand out. It'll be a thirty page booklet with pictures and drawings that I made/own. In addition, several dancers in the past couple of years asked me for business advice. Creating a pdf download that answers questions about taxes, how to set up promotion, that kind of thing. The third idea was to reedit the costuming book that I made in 2007 and offer it as a digital download instead of print. I want to make it a paid download but have trouble with finding a technical solution for the payment that would work.

Most Dutch people pay with debetcards and in order to have the online payment option iDeal, I have to pay 25 euro per motnh to the bank, plus a small amount per transaction. I expect that the sales will (at most!) be 120 items over a two year course, which would not be cost effective. In short, I adjusted my belly dance strategy towards doing things I like and I am good at and I want to charge a small amount of money. For example, I've been writing for several bellydance magazines for over 8 years and though it is a labor of love, most of my work is gone because magazines went out of print/stopped existing. My own website with articles went under because I didn't spend time on the technical platform. Creating downloadable pdf's seems like an affordable way to tap into the e-reader market, spread the information that I want to share and get a little bit paid in return. By little bit, I was thinking about 7 euro (10usd) for a 100 page pdf (costuming book, book for professionals) and a couple of other products like t-shirts and posters, probably through a  third party like cafepress.

Anyway, I want to give kuddo's to Autumn Ward. She never really caught my attention through her instructional dvds, but I found out that she has accompanying pdf downloads for her dvds and they are amazingly detailed and well thought out. I have to revisit her dvds soon!
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
I am halfway through my tribal fusion choreo for my intermediate/advanced students. There is some pretty nifty technique in there that I am quite proud off, but the tempo changes that I put in the dance are driving me insane. Two double tempo turns, followed by a half tempo melt, and a normal tempo counter turn. Why?!? Because it is good for me, and good for them! It's a matter of practice and it does make the dance all the more interesting. I am grateful that I chose a rather straightforward song (Rondabout, the Bassnektar version) that is only 3 minutes long. This will keep them occupied for 8 weeks or so.

I finally did Khalida's shimmy dvd. Yay! it was good, steeringwheel shimmies, here I come! I have dug out all my tribal fusion dvds (Zoe Jakes, Serpentine, West Coast tribal and East coast Tribal) so I can go through several of the drills and moves for inspiration. I want to make the next semester as structured as I can. I can't help but feel like a fake for doing a tribal fusion taster this semester. I really, really like being a cabaret dancer.

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: (Saaidi gold dress)
Laudie/Ahlem returned from the Theatrical Belly Dance Festival in New York and told us that it was fabulous. She was there to spot potential workshop teachers and performers, and to see if the Dutch have something to offer for next year's festival.

The answer is yes, we have! Tjarda was teaching at the festival too, one of the few Dutch dancers who made it internationally. Her specialty is tribal fusion, leaning toward modern dance. Laudie concluded that Fakyma could develop a special theatrical piece in the next year and participate in the festival next year. We are also looking into Tribal Fusions, a festival in France. Hard work ahead of us, but also a lot of fun! One of the main problems is money: we'll have to find more gigs next year to fund our airplane tickets/costumes/hotel.

More Fakyma news: we ordered some baladi dresses, multicolor melaya's and headscarves for our melaya dance and we look adorable in our melaya outfits. We ran through our oriental set (enchanted gardens + drum solo), Tunesian and the melaya (folkloric set). We lanned the last weekend of August to lock ourselves in a room and work on the concept of the theatrical piece. Things are happening!

On personal news, I decided that my intermediate students would benefit from learning the basics of tribal fusion next semester, I'll be working my butt off in August to get my lesson plan in order. A bit of Rachel, a hint of Zoe, Tjarda ofcourse. I am inspired!!
mekyria: (dancer in neonlights)
Last night in class, a student told me that she got frustrated because the transitions between her moves were not as fluent as she wanted them to be. She asked me:'what can I do to improve my transitions? I feel so clumsy and frustrated all the time!'. I know what it feels like, I get frustrated by my perceived lack of skills every day! And by being anxious and angry at myself, I stop focusing on what I am trying to learn and things turn into a hot mess of angst that doesn't work out for anyone involved.

1. get real
We all want to be perfect. We all want to be as good as the person teaching the class and we forget that that person has years and years of training and experience that we don't have. I started classical ballet at the age of 28 and I will never ever be able to do the effortless double pirouette that my teacher is showing us so casually as an example. I remind myself that for my level of experience, being able to make a distinction between a tour en dedans and a tour en dehors is a big accomplishment. Let alone being able to sort of make those turns.

2.you are a winner for trying
Feeling incompetent is one of the worst feelings that we can have. It hits the core of our being, our wish to be good at what we do. You are a winner the moment you try something new because it is victory over not trying it at all. So what if you start piano lessons at age 60, just have a go at it.

3. failing is how we get better
A while back, we did turns during ballet class. I was having one of those days where everything went wrong and the harder I tried, the more mistakes I made. Right in the middle of practicins turns, I fell flat on my face. I admit to crying just a little right there and then. That is how I learned that when I am emotionally unbalanced, I should not try to push myself harder during a class as it works against me. that was a hard lesson that will stick with me. We learn by making mistakes.

I am not in a place where I can let go of my frustration each and every time, but I am getting there. As for the student in my class, I replied: 'Learning to dancing is like learning to write. You might feel frustrated that you can't write supercalifragilisticexplalidocious in one fluent motion. You had three classes and in those first classes you are learning how to write the letters of the alphabet. Give yourself time to learn and soon enough you'll realize that you can write words and that the words are getting longer.'
mekyria: (Default)

It isn't finished yet, but sofar it includes the mandatory basic moves, plus nifty reaches and armwork, plus musicality. All of these things are neatly spaced out so students won't be overfed. There is repetition of the larger blocks that will be more apparent to them in a couple of weeks and will cause a sigh of relief. I was too busy running around to stop and smell the roses. I always wonder if students won't get bored with the arm moves and sways that I use, but as long as they haven't mastered those they are not ready to move up to BD 2.

The downside is that I want my second choreo of this semester to be better then the current one. Argh!

Back to work, I'm going to Madrid for a couple of days starting tomorrow so I have to finish up here.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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: (Default)

Lots of things going on, so let's count down:
1. The oum kolthoum project performed at the Kunstfactor Live! Festival this friday. We did good, despite the lack of theater lights. We drew the waiters and cooks from the kitchen, and the police orchestra that played before us and packed up to leave, stuck around. Good for us! Despitethe bad news about our creative director's trouble with the theater that she's working at closing down. We got some nice artsy group shots in the blinding white futuristic hallway that I will share later.

2. Got a call for a private gig on friday, for...friday night. The good news: it was fairly close to my house, about 25 minutes by car. I said yes, showed up to a huge farmhouse turned into a house. It was a dinner for a group of friends who were going to Morrocco together and I was the suprise. I did an okay version of Talisman, habiby ya eini and got everyone up to dance. It was fun :-)

3. Practiced for the LAT project today, a 40 minute bely dance cross- over theater project. We did the run through, which went horribly for me,mprobably due to my unwose decision to go to a birthday party last night and getting back at 3 am. I do not regret this, as the party was awesome. We scheduled an extra hearsal next Saturday morning. The performance is on Sunday.

4. Next week: Asli Sharqi festival! Meaning workshops with Tito, Anasma and Khalida. Fabulous shows and performances, and all that jazz. I look forward to spending a weekend on dance and meeting dance friends. I'm afraid that this means I'll be crap at work on Monday, and I'm already feeling that I'm making too much mistakes right now. Understandable with y grandmother and everything, but it still sucks to feel incompetent because you know you are messing things up.

5. My weekly classes start tomorrow and all three are on! Meaning that I'll be teaching between 18.30 and 22.15 every monday, after 8 hours of work and 2 hours of travel. I am excited and slightly scared at the same time. The beginners group has a cute choreography. This semester I'm focusing on teaching the reversed camel first. Because I secretly loath the reversed camel and believe it makes you look like you are throwing up. In an attemot to change my point of view, I will start by teaching the reversed camel tomgive my students a chance to decide for themselves. The intermediates will get assignments for creatig their own choreography, combined with an Aziza choreography that I learned two or three years ago in Duisburg to a Nesma song. So they can enjoy her sheer genius through my rather poor example. I'm patting myself on the back for taking decent notes and videotaping the whole thing at the time. It appears that doing your homework really pays off.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

mekyria: (red veil standing)
Last semester I had one and a half groups with beginners (16 people) and we barely had enough people signing up for the intermediates (7 people). This semester, the intermediate group filled up within 48 hours, and I only have 6 beginners. We're considering joining the two beginner groups, which I would like as it would give me time to eat between work and teaching.

I blame the cold weather/crisis/Greece/rabbits
mekyria: (me with cow tile)
Read more... )
We haven't seen the sun long enough to remember what it looks like this summer, and it seems the fall downpour is already upon us. Thunder and lightning are fighting over airtime and I feel sad about the summer that never was. 

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?

June 2017

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