Gilded Serpent posted a link to their article recently, and it was very timely. I have been working on a blog post about a very similar topic. I enjoyed this one very much. Some highlights include:
“Is your teacher qualified to give you a proper foundation for technique as well as cultural references?
When searching out a Belly Dance teacher, don’t be shy about asking for the teacher’s credentials. If you are going to spend time and money learning to Belly dance, make sure you start the journey off with the right teacher so you won’t have to back-track later.”
“Are your teacher’s classes and troupe a positive and healthy environment?
Most teachers of Belly Dance truly love to teach so they can pass their knowledge on to others. However, teachers exist who thrive on belittling and controlling their students. This type of environment may not be apparent at first glance, which is why it is important to occasionally take the time to analyze your dance classes and troupe experience.”
The only ones I don’t entirely agree with are the “develop your own style”–for ATS dancers, it is important to concentrate on a collective style, so it doesn’t always apply to all teachers of all styles–and the ‘performance opportunities’ segment. I don’t feel performing is a forgone conclusion for everyone. I think dance is a performance art, yes, but many seek it for reasons other than performing, and those motivations should be honored.
In fact, I think some teachers stress performance much too much, rushing students through the basics and trying to get them into troupes and on stage quickly, to the detriment of strong technique.
I believe students should feel they have been prepared to perform–groomed for success!–and when they do perform it is earned through hard work and proven skill.
So read this brief article and see what you think!