Dance Class Jibber Jabber

July 28, 2008 § 2 Comments

Since I relaunched my American Tribal Style dance class, interest is growing and I’ve gotten some new students.  The class is still not paying its own rent, but this is only the second month in.  What the class needs is stability.  When I get a more regular student body, it will be much easier to make progress.  Everyone interested and participating so far is a member of the performance troupe, which makes sense since all of our dedicated students end up in the troupe eventually anyway.  Learning American Tribal Style is like learning a particular dialect within the belly dance language so it takes a little effort.  The benefit about troupe members participating in my class is it will mean performance opportunities.  Getting us to a performance level is the challenge.

For the next two weeks, I have been asked to teach some American Tribal Style for part of our performance class.  I think I’m going to be emphasizing leading and following so they can get a feel for what Tribal is really all about.  I will not be focusing on breaking down perfect arm positions and detailed technique or widely expanding our dance vocabulary as much as I do in my weekly classes.  Instead, I will teach a couple of combinations to show how to transition from one move to another and how to lead and follow the cues for the movements.  I will break down the class into trios or quartets and have them take turns leading the combos and encourage them to change the order of the movements once they feel confident. Very Carolena Nericcio-workshop inspired.  I think this will be fun and give the ones who haven’t tried Tribal a good feel for it.

What I’m working on now for my weekly class is developing a really good standard warm-up.  I am going to focus on overall stretching and focus my warm up exercises on building strength, control and muscle memory specifically for moves commonly used in Tribal Style, and not put time into anything not used in the Tribal family.  For example, instead of doing alternating shoulder shimmy warm-ups, we will focus on three-quarter shoulder shimmies only since we will never use an alternating shoulder shimmy when dancing together.

I have been changing the class every week depending on the students present that day and where they need to start from and I’ve been changing the warm-up to correspond with what I’ll be teaching them that day. I will continue to adjust the class focus according to student skill level, but I really think a standard well-rounded warm-up will work better in the long run.  That way we get in a little practice with all the muscle groups every class even if it’s not the focus that day.

I’d eventually like to start filming the classes and video-blogging a condensed version every week.  That will come a little later.

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