What do you really think of on-line belly dance classes?Add to favorites
Okay…maybe I am getting myself in trouble here but I’ve had this on my list of things to talk about…I was wondering what your thoughts were about the changes in dance instruction. Including into this is of course on-line belly dance classes. What I thought I would do is give you my take on things and then hopefully those of you who comment in will give me yours. I think all viewpoints are necessary in making the carousel of life go round. I’m hoping for varied viewpoints and thoughts on the matter so I’m crossing my fingers you will write in. Even if you aren’t a fan of on-line classes all comments are welcome so don’t be shy.
First off I know that on-line classes are a mixed bag for studio trained and experienced dancers who are old school in their views regarding the problems that can arise from on-line classes especially for beginners.But Daniel and I decided to do the on-line classes because we both felt that there dance enthusiasts living in isolated areas, economically strapped, the single parent or both parents who worked who deserved the chance to learn. Daniel did a survey and we sent it out to dancers from all over with different levels of dance expertise. What we received back really surprised us both. The questions asked ranged from what would you like to see in class to what are your problem areas and the obvious questions of location, teacher availability and class time versus family time. There were multiple questions we asked but these are just a few to give you and idea of what we were looking for.
First off, some experienced dancers loved their teachers but they wanted more instruction than they were getting in class. On-line classes gave them this opportunity in the privacy of their own home and some felt this was better because they didn’t want to upset their teachers by telling them they wanted more instruction. Some women who wanted to continue their dance instruction couldn’t afford to go to classes anymore with the gas crunch that came our way 5 years ago. Others found that work hours didn’t allow them the time they needed for dance and surprisingly we had women write in who didn’t like their teachers or they had problems with other students in class and on-line classes gave them a way out. I love that I work with teachers because I’m able to share with them ideas for class time along with my philosophy on dance and students. Sharing curriculum ideas is the best part!
Location and teacher availability was way up on the list with women checking out my website and we received emails from dancers who traveled two hours one way or more for dance classes. This includes either no teachers in specific areas or sporadic workshops that dancers had to travel far to go to. The survey went out to dancers and students from all over the world so those who wrote in from Australia or from different locations in South Africa wanted options. I had women who lived in rural areas here in the States and Canada that had no teachers at all. There were women taking belly dance instruction from videos who told us they belly danced after the kids went to bed or others in the morning before work. I’ve had dancers say they love the option of practicing during lunch time. My main concern was for women who wouldn’t have the chance at all because of where they lived. Let’s remember, I lived on ranches hours away from any towns and in those days (I’m telling my age here) there was nothing on the internet in the way of classes, it just wasn’t thought of yet. I had videos that saved the day and the dancers who made them are appreciated to this day more then they will ever know.
Personally, I know that a live teacher in a classroom is the best case scenario for any student of dance. Believe it or not there are women out there who don’t want to be in a room with other women or men and they want to learn in the privacy of their own home. This is why I offer private classes now because I want to be able to work with beginners or the private dancer who won’t go to a studio. For myself, I love workshops, always have and always will because I’ve made wonderful friends and I’ve learned from the best teachers in the business. The expense for dancers now is a debate for students who put time and effort into something they are passionate about. With my accident and other ingredients put into the money pot, there won’t be any trips to workshops this year. A side note here, I will be preparing to do workshops next year so we are planning on the green light for that.
Workshops have always been important to me and I always suggest to dancers to go to as many workshops as possible. We all know that belly dance magazines are a wonderful place to find out who is teaching where and the dates that allow for a time frame because most of us have to save up in order to go. Yaa Halla, Y’all is a really good gathering for some of the finest dance teachers around. Every year Isis brings in a diverse array of dance styles, teaching techniques and dance stars for the professional or beginner aficionado of belly dance. There are a few Isis has brought in who do on-line belly dance classes as well. Isis is also the publisher of “The Belly Dance Chronicles” besides being a top notch and refined dancer and teacher. Isis has allowed me to write about on-line belly dance classes in past issues and Daniel and I were featured in an article for the April/May/June issue. On-line classes are getting popular and with today’s modern dancer, it’s obvious they are here to stay. I keep hearing through the grapevine that more belly dance teachers are looking at on-line belly dance classes even those who balked at the idea when we first came out with my classes.
Following dancers is exciting and with the on-line classes I have had the chance to meet women who I would never have met otherwise. Let’s face it; unless we are jet-setters, own our own planes and have stashes of cash within hands reach, traveling is usually on a budget. I would love to go to South Africa or Australia, Ireland and the list goes on…so the second best way is talking to women from these countries and finding out about dance in their communities. Belly dance is booming and I think one reason is the availability within the drop of a finger, YouTube and the fact that Shakira and other dancers have brought it into the main stream media. I’ve had the chance to create choreographies for a sister group called Sparx and soloist Kimberlee Ann Lopez. They are popular here in New Mexico and both Sparx and Kimberlee have a growing fan base that is changing with new fusion dance styles. Belly dance is changing the way the younger generation sees singing and dancing because they would most likely not see belly dance moves unless they were interested in learning our dance form. I ended up seeing many of my combinations in both shows and seeing the moves done well. Professional entertainers practice until perfect so they were a delight to teach. They wouldn’t have found me without my on-line classes so even top entertainers are looking for our dance on the internet.
Along with the on-line classes I have found that many dancers ask me specific questions on how to set up studios, workshops and productions. The more a student gets involved in her dancing the more doors open and ideas come to life. It’s not just enough to dance in shows, eventually dancers want to produce shows or bring in their favorite dancers. I love dance plays and anymore those are the only shows I like to produce. They are hard work and a labor of love because following a script and bringing in dancers to play characters isn’t as easy as it seems. But I have found that because I have to follow a script with my on-line classes that I am more comfortable setting up a schedule for projects. Since I have been teaching in front of a camera I’m more detailed when I’m explaining things in a private class or workshops. The on-line classes have changed how I teach because the student is in my mind and I have to answer all her questions within that class before it’s over. The on-line classes actually encompass so much besides just dance that I think they become a link for dancers who want to know what is happening with belly dance including news, workshops, new fusion dances and the latest gossip. Yes…let’s be honest, gossip is apart of all facets of life even belly dance or I should say especially in belly dance.
The drawbacks are obvious to on-line classes and I think if any teacher who teaches on-line doesn’t admit to these then they aren’t being honest with their students or themselves. I can’t see my students, that’s obviously the number one problem. How do I know they are doing the move right and how do they know they are doing the move right if they are a beginner? Watching student’s videos help immensely but not all my students want to send in a video of themselves. If they are living on a budget most likely they don’t have a video camera. Phones can take short videos now but I prefer performances or in home demonstrations of what they are doing in their dance. Number two is I miss the live classes I use to teach and the relating to real students. I tend to talk to myself way more now then I use to and I think it’s because I talk in a room by myself in front of a camera for an imaginary student that’s not there. If I wasn’t nuts before, this could actually do me in!! Number three is I love working on choreographies with students and helping them create their own signature moves. This doesn’t happen all the time like it use to unless I get hired for private classes. Workshops are fun and I look forward to them even more so now because of the interaction with dancers and students.
The big plus with the on-line classes for me is that Hip Phylosophy has grown because it’s a mix of my take on what belly dance is besides a changing community curriculum. It’s so rewarding when dancers take what they have learned and grow with it and make it theirs. I think on-line belly dance classes help exchange ideas and when we can talk to each other about problems with performing, opposition hips, curriculums and choreography it makes us all a community without borders. Since we have advertized and placed Hip Phylosophy in the main stream media, I feel an obligation to research the history of belly dance learning new tid bits of information every day. I’m in love with anything Egyptian and when I lived in Egypt I realized that the history is what makes it so mind shattering because you can actually touch and see it for yourself. So to me in a way this is what on-line belly dance classes have done for belly dance. Where in the past it was accessible only to those who were fortunate to live in big cities or in towns that had teachers and studios now women can learn anywhere they live. Today if a student finds she loves belly dance, the accessibility to learn and find other students of belly dance is easier. And we all know that if a woman is passionate about something enough…she will find ways to study it further. If on-line belly dance classes give enthused students a helping hand then the community is blessed with one more dancer that might one day be on the covers of belly dance magazines and teaching workshops herself. It’s the helping hand aspect of on-line belly dance classes that gives me a sense of pride. I was one of those dancers years ago that only had my enthusiasm, determination and passion to guide me. My how times have changed!
Week Two on my Trail Blazing Diet path
This week I am on new Thyroid pills from Solaray called Thyroid Caps to help balance and stabilize my body. So far so good and now I’m on my third day and I actually feel better than I have in a long time. You know how you can feel bad and that is the new norm but once you start to feel good again it’s amazing to think feeling bad was normal.. It’s kind of weird.
You would have been proud of me…I was at this great restaurant called Flying Star that specializes in baked goods. I didn’t have my carrot cake but days later I caved for a piece of keylime pie. I was dissapointed in myself but I have done good on the cheeze and bread. My daughter and I have been going on 1/12 hour walks and that is going well. Mother’s Day no bread and no baked goods. That was a good day and I hope all you Momma’s out there had an awesome time too!