is for kids, workshops are for the Belly dancer, and there are
plenty of them coming up. Teachers and students make their little
lists on what they would like to receive from them and we will
do whatever it takes to get the best.
difference between a Christmas gift and a workshop though, is
that in the worse case scenario, you can always return your
gift and change it for something else, but… What do you do with
a workshop that didn’t suit you? It can become a waste of time
and money for both ends.
recommendations for teachers and students on workshops: how to
approach them and what to expect.
accurate with your workshop topic and description - When
eager students get their hands on the festival schedule or log
in for the first time on the festival website, sometimes all
they have is the instructor’s picture, a title, and a description.
Nothing else. Even if a title like “Dancing like a Goddess”
sounds excellent, it gives no idea what the workshop is about.
If this is a workshop about stage presence, say it. Sometimes
the student will not have a chance to talk to the instructor
before hand; so they will welcome all the information they can
aware of the level you are teaching to - If you said
your workshop is “all levels welcome” you have to be balanced.
Offer a workshop that is challenging to both ends and everybody
can learn something. If you prefer a workshop just for more
advanced students, then be sure to say “Intermediate to advanced
students only”. Bogus descriptions like “Dancers with a bit
of experience” are not very useful. What is a “bit” anyway?
all the material you offered - For many of us, a specific
workshop with a particular teacher is a “once in a lifetime”
experience so we will be very excited about it. If the teacher’s
description said that will be covering “X” amount of topics,
cover them, as much as you can. It is understandable things
can change last minute or some changes have to be done considering
your students needs but at least, if changes are needed, be
sure the main topic is always covered. When planning your workshop
consider how much time you use at your class. Are you always
struggling to cover all of what you wanted to coverin class?
Then you should consider fewer topics. Do you always have too
much spare time? Maybe adding some drills or a longer choreography
might help. It is very disappointing to go to a “crunched” workshop
or a “diluted” one.
is a workshop, not a class - Workshops should cover
a specific topic so you can cover all the major concerns people
have on that topic, specific techniques to approach it, and
a hands-on-experience time so you can practice those new concepts.
Be sure you have these elements. Also, most of the students
never had a class with you, so even they might know your dancing
style they don’t know your teaching style. Your regular weekly
class knows what you mean but your workshop attendants might
just be there, staring blankly at you, trying to figure you
welcoming - Workshops are an excellent opportunity for
dancers to explore other styles. It is very normal for a “Tribal”
dancer to take an “Egyptian” workshop because they want to go
back to the original roots of this art, or a “Turkish” who wants
some new edge and takes a “Gothic” workshop. As a teacher,
if you are deeply into the style you embraced, do not talk trash
about other styles. First of all this is not professional,
and it is highly disrespectful. If your comments can be taken
the wrong way, just do not share them. "One drop of
honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar."
a little research - If you can, try to do a little research
about the workshop you will be attending or you are interested
about. If the instructor is local, or not very popular you might
have a good chance to ask the instructor herself/himself about
what to expect from their workshop. If they are popular or just
plain busy, join bulletin boards, the instructor’s mailing lists
or websites with forums about these topics.
realistic - If you have being Belly dancing for 6 months
do not expect that a three hour workshop can lead you to be
on the same level as your instructor. A dancer needs to practice,
even if you are a “natural”.
- It is very disappointing for a teacher to see students
standing there, making no effort to learn. Maybe you made a
bad choice, maybe they are not the greatest teacher on Earth,
but the truth is that you are there, with them, on the same
room. So well… Have fun with it! If it turned out to be too
basic for you, you can always drill. If it is too advanced,
just try a little and in a nice way let your instructor know.
They might be able to modify things “on the spot” and you will
always learn something. If you are not willing to learn, might
be a good idea to just go shopping around the festival then.
is a workshop, not a class – No, I am not repeating
the point; even if it has the same description. As described
previously, workshops are supposed to cover specific topics.
Most of them are topics that you never have time in class because
they are too specific. Belly dancing classes are about dancing
steps, but workshops are about other things that might include
specific steps or techniques in dancing or topics as veils,
cymbals, costume, even stretch! Set your mind on the topic that
the workshop is about. If it is a veil class, bring your veil
and work around it. Don’t try to squeeze in an off the subject
question such as: “how do you do a backbend”.
thankful – From a simple “Thank you” to a nice review
in a magazine or a bulletin board, appreciation is always welcome.
Even if the workshop was not what you expected, it might have
had things you learned, so let the instructor know. Be kind
when criticizing, (so your instructors can improve) and ask
questions if needed. Above all things, thank them for their
time and patience.
no season like festival season. Hopefully, teachers and students
will learn from each other and by the end everybody will leave
with loads of knowledge gained from each other, and many will
be eager to take more workshops in the future.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
1-17-07 Perfectly Masterful
Teaching: Drum Solo Master Class with Jim Boz Reviewed by:
his shaved head tied up in a bandanna, with a burly torso, powerful
legs, and a thick neck, he looks more like a biker, a bouncer,
or a circus strongman. Thus, his grace and posture is even more
Bellydance Basics and Beyond, Technique
for a solid foundation with Jenna DVD Review by Monet
This is probably one of the best and most complete beginner
instructional DVD that I have seen in a while.
Back to Basics by Najia
Belly Dance is most meaningful when we define it as a
communication of mutually held emotional response and truths between
Nakish- An inteview with "The Lady with the Eyes"
worked hardest for the dancers in San Francisco to wipe out the
discrimination factor and to make sure that all cultures were
included in the performance of this dance.
My Dance Career’s Dark Side:
As seen through a fog of murky emotion by Najia Marlyz
recounting my dark stories help me to purge them? Should one forget
those special moments of insult and bad human behavior that all
Photos PAGE 2-Carnival
of Stars Photos by Michael Baxter
Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial
Hall, Hayward, California