Thursday, October 28, 2010

Advancing to Advanced

I'm very excited about tonight because I will be taking my very first advanced-level belly dance class! Woohoo! I've spent the past year in Beginner and Intermediate classes, learning just how much I didn't already know (when I first went to Plaza de Anaya, I was convinced I was ready for Intermediate tribal classes... and ended up humbly stumbling my way through a Beginner class!). The past two months have been all review and I have to admit I've been very impatient to get back to learning new moves! Review and practice are important, but sometimes they're also a little boring ;) So I'll be continuing with Intermediate classes to get the all-important practice in, while Advanced class will feed my need for new knowledge.


  1. Congratulations! Keep that forward momentum. But here's something to keep in mind.

    Back in my late teens I left one local dance studio in all the "advanced" classes for another studio only to find that under their system I was a "beginner" to "intermediate." I caught up to quickly enough to be at their competition level in everything but tap, and that took several years to be able to do acapella tap.

    The same thing happen to me about 3 years ago when I left Helena Vlahos' "advanced" belly dance classes for Ava's classes, only to find out I was back to being a "beginner to intermediate."

    All in all, eye opening & humbling experiences.

  2. Oh, there's no doubt that the levels are different for everyone. I'm happy to be learning advanced combos, but I still consider myself more of an intermediate dancer -- and there are some things I have so much trouble with that they make me feel like a rank beginner. Ava's workshop definitely knocked me down a peg when it came to my posture!

    I think there are a couple of contributing factors... Some styles of dance and some specific teachers demand more of their students before allowing them to advance. And some teachers just want students to feel good about themselves, so they may let them advance before they really should. Some may feel that if they hold students back too much, the students will go take their money to more lenient teachers. Who knows.

    As for me, I don't really care what "level" I am, as long as I am learning new moves!

  3. I've seen students, or their parents, push to get into a more advanced class only to realize that they're way out of their element, then quit in frustration & blame the teacher.

    One of the worst things a teacher can do, aside from teaching bad technique, is give a student a false sense of security.

    Or, in the case of ethnic dance, not teach students about what is or is not culturally appropriate.

  4. Even in non-ethnic dance, like ITS (which is pretty far removed from its ethnic roots), teachers still need to make sure students know what is appropriate within the culture of the dance community -- keeping shoulder shimmies from getting obscene, making sure that we don't stand with a wide-legged stance for umis, that we don't do backbends with our crotch pointed at the audience, etc etc. Our teacher is always pointing out little things to remember to keep our ITS from getting dirty.

  5. Ewww!!! The crotch shot! How I hate that. I'm not sure if that's due to ignorance, bad taste, or the "anything goes" attitude of western dance filtering it's way into belly dance.

  6. I think the crotch shot comes from a few bad places -- having a bad teacher and/or self teaching from videos, fusing too much sexy music video moves into your dance, and occasionally, being totally unaware of what you're doing at the moment and then looking back at it and going "OMG, I totally threw my crotch at the audience."