Where will this school year take you?
I like to use the new school year as a mini "New Year". It is a great time to review the year so far with enough time to work on goals that might have slipped through the cracks.
As I reflect on the year so far -
I am happy that I started teaching dance classes again. I like sharing the art of bellydance with others and I like helping others learn a new skill.
I am glad I took time to attend an American Tribal Style dance class. It is good for us to continue our learning and the class I joined was welcoming. I got to learn about the style and I learned about myself as well. I learned that although I like the concepts of ATS, I am a cabaret girl. I do really enjoy dancing with other women. I like the freedom of dancing my own dance and I prefer a more balanced dance form. ATS is heavy on the right side and I found my body craving left-sided, weighted moves. I will probably take another ATS class in the future and I very much appreciate the new friends I made in class.
I am glad I took a summer intensive workshop. It was hosted by Pyramid Road and Debbie always hosts a very well run weekend. I liked being a student and visiting and dancing with my dance friends both old and new. I picked up new ideas and combinations. I renewed my belief that we learn from all of those around us regardless of our own personal age.
The performance opportunities I have enjoyed inspired me to write the new choreographies. These gave me an opportunity to dance with a dear friend who is going to be moving to a new city soon and I don't know when I will be able to perform with her again. Our practice sessions were a wonderful blend of dance and "girl time". I will certainly miss them.
My sewing projects have been fun, though I did not get as much done has I had hoped. There is always room for improvement.
As I look forward to the rest of the year -
I am happy I have my fall dance classes. I have a new format and I enjoying it. I look forward to using my new system and sharing more with my students. I am experimenting with Google Classroom with class resources of practice videos and class notes.
I am looking forward creating new choreographies and the performances yet to come. I hope to invite more of my students to join me in these upcoming performances. Performances lead to stronger friendships and add such fun and excitement. They are also a great way to get out of our comfort zones and grow beyond our fears.
And lastly, there will be planning for 2018... lots of ideas swirling already in my head, but more about that later.
Practice (and continue to work on the fundamentals)
Practicing outside of class, even if it is only for 10 minutes, improves your time in class. Why? First, practice reinforces what you learn in class. It trains your muscles and your brain. Second, you will notice more in the next class. As we are our own toughest critique, as we are practicing, we will get frustrated. This frustration will help us be more alter in class the next time. We will want to notice what we had a challenge with and we will pick up more because of that struggle.
Pay Attention to ALL Corrections Given in Class
When the teacher is giving corrections in class pay attention. If it is a broad statement, it is probably because the teacher is seeing the same mistake being done by several students. Even if the feedback is given to one student, take in the comments. As yourself, do I do that? How can I take that feedback to improve my dance?
Be Open to Feedback
Know that when a teacher gives corrections, she is doing this to help you improve. She wants the best for you. She is either noticing something that could lead to injury or is trying to communicate a specific movement that isn't being done in the way that is needed. You could be doing a movement that is, in and of itself correct, but isn't what is needed - either for a choreography or as part of building block for the next move.
Take Classes from a Variety of Teachers
Different teachers have different teaching styles and ways of communicating. You might be stuck on one movement with your current teacher and go to a different teacher and the way she teaches it, it just clicks for you. The way one teacher counts the music might help you hear different things within the music. Also, knowledge of different styles will enhance your performance with your chosen base style. Exploration and experiencing new things adds layers to your own style of expression.
Sapphire has been bellydancing for roughly 15 years. She has studied under various teachers worldwide. Sapphire is a founding member of Moonlight Bellydance and is the author of Unveiling the Mystery of Choreography.