It My Way
I was complimented on the way I teach and was asked how I arrived
at my method. Of course, I don't have a 'method'. Most of you
who teach know how hard it is to arrive at your own style of teaching,
since there are really no established rules and patterns in our
dance form. When I started
teaching, eons ago, the only way the dance was taught in the Middle
East, I observed, was one teacher one student and I didn't have
the opportunity to see any classes that might have existed in
America. There were none in Europe to my knowledge. I started
first with single students (the late
Sabah [Jamie Miller) was one of them. When the demand grew,
I began teaching small groups and patterned my classes consistent
with my background - ballet, modern dance and Spanish and show
dancing. I had to make a lot of adjustments since the students
were adults of varying ages whose main purpose was recreation.
Some, of course, hoped for a career in show business. In ballet
classes we had always practiced single steps first and then combined
them into patterns, varying in complexity. Progress was made through
much repetition, which didn't appeal to some students,
those who wanted to learn whole routines. But that, of course,
would presuppose a knowledge of the technique.
in order to give my students something that would be useful
right from the first movement, I decided to focus on expression
and emotion and that is what I have become known for.
most of the teachers have developed their own distinctive styles.
Different styles appeal to different
students. Some like to have strict discipline and rules; some
like a more relaxed atmosphere with a lot of freedom. The latter,
I find, is desirable
for me, as it fosters creativity and fulfillment.
and the availability of professional employment have changed over
the years, requiring me to
reinvent myself. Today there is a great demand for group dancing,
which really changes the emphasis from raks sharqi to folk dancing.
The highest compliment a dancer can pay me is not to say how many
new steps she has learned but that she felt joyful, beautiful
the music is hot and the energy of
the group engulfs the room I feel a high and hope that every
dancer in class shares it with me. For me, dance is not cerebral,
but highly emotional. I hope my students find my classes to
be an oasis in a world of stress, competition and struggle.
quote an old hippy friend from the days when we
started: "Get high on your dancing - it's both cheap and
2-26-01 The Fourth
Annual IAMED Awards of Belly Dance by Marula
Seldom does one see a bellydance production as professionally
staged and presented
newest additions to North Beach Memories-Yasmeen
and the North Beach of Yore
An interview with Gayle by Meredith McGuire Find
more names and faces you have known or heard about!
at long last
Bert begins his North Beach Memories!
with Bert Balladine by Krista Gettle & Lora Schoen
Words of history and wisdom from our dear mentor!