Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hi all! You can find me blogging at my newer site now:
https://monicaraqs.wordpress.com/

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Teacher as student

This year I decided to make sure that I was a dance student on a more regular basis. I teach, a lot. In general I am responsible for teaching or facilitating 15 to 20 hours of language a week as well as 10 to 15 hours of dance a week. Those numbers reflect my actual classroom and studio time, and as any teacher can tell you, prep time is often even more work than face to face time with students. It can be hard to build professional level continuing education into a busy self-employed teaching schedule, my own personal practice schedule (and performance schedule, though I don't perform as much as I used to...after nearly 18 years of dancing I do enjoy being more picky about what I choose, and yes, being more expensive to hire...perhaps that will be the topic of a future post!). I love my work, truly, but have learned that sometimes I just need to let go, work hard at someone else's lesson plans, and be told what to do. This year that has meant being consistent at attending flamenco classes and yoga classes, and attending workshops and prioritizing private lessons/coaching in Belly Dance, my primary discipline.

As a movement and dance teacher there are larger lessons, constantly, in being a learner. I enjoy hearing how other people explain things, especially posture, how to warm-up and cool down, how to hear music, reasoning behind movement choices, and how to generate movement. In class, I am often reminded how much we as students have to trust our teachers. Someone, who is for all intents and purposes a stranger outside of the classroom, asks you to do something, and you do it, and you trust it is for a reason, or connected to something larger that you are there to learn. Being in that position--trusted--is a heavy responsibility, even if it is for one hour a week.

It is good to remember that.

My first belly dance teacher, Leea, sometimes used to talk to her advanced and performing students about remaining "hungry dancers". She said that you can tell when a dancer thinks s/he has reached a level where they are good enough, and that they lose a bit of their fire when that happens. I want to stay hungry, to be able appreciate and accept and enjoy where I am and what I do in any given moment, but also to never forget that there is always more to learn.

Thanks to my teachers and my students (who I also learn from everyday), past, present, and future.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who typifies belly dance?

When you think "belly dancer" who comes to mind? Is it one dancer, over her or his whole career? One dancer in one particular performance or time? Is it a composite of several dancers? A look from here, hip movements from there...?

Do you work towards bringing this ideal to your own dancing? If so, how? Or is it enough to keep them in mind as you develop your own style and dance voice?

Non-dancers, you can have opinions, too. What do you picture when you think "belly dancer"?

Sunday, April 02, 2006