Sunday, July 10, 2011

my first american tribal style teaching experience

"Mba (that's an informal Indonesian way to say "big sister"), there's already another workshop on the 23rd and 24th," I said on the phone to Ms. Miftahul Jannah, my boss and artistic director of our troupe. For us, it is impolite to conduct a workshop while another seminar is happening in the same city on the same day.

"How long is your workshop?" she asked.

"Three sessions, each one is two hours. Six hours total."

"How about Saturday, 16 July?"

"But Arabesque (our hafla) is on the 17. Won't we be busy doing rehearsals?" I asked.

"Okay... Well... That leaves either the 30 or 31 July. That's the beginning of Ramadhan, though," she replied.

"Hmm... How about 10 July?" I suggested.

"That sounds great! Okay, 10 July. I'll get the ball rolling," she said. And in the next hours, text messages came in from her saying she received confirmations from many people.

The conversation was on Saturday, 2 July 2011. I came back to Jakarta from my trip to Bali at 1 AM a week after and found out that already eleven people paid for the workshop. The next day, the total participants reached 21 people, dancers from all backgrounds and experience.

Here is what I noticed: ATS is not for everyone (out of 21 participants, only 4 showed their interest in learning more). I'm not talking about physical limitations, not even the inability to keep the elbows lifted with the shoulders back and chest lifted. I'm talking about the constant need for choreography and the ability to just "wing it".

That being said, I found my experience exciting (to say the least - the four enthusiastic participants demanded an intensive before I went back to the US on 10 August) and humbling (many of the participants were newbies and never touched finger cymbals in their lives, and they played better than I did when I first started out).

Also, it reminded me to always, always be patient, because not everyone is on the same level as the others. Nobody was a bully in my class. I'm a victim of bullying and I will not tolerate that behavior while I'm teaching. No matter how long you've been in the advanced level, when a new person (who had just got promoted to the same level as you are) entered your class, you are obliged not only to welcome him or her, but to be forgiving. It is really, really intimidating to dance with people who are more experienced and it helps to see smiles and receive friendliness.

I'm in this for the dance, not for the drama. I'd go take acting classes if I needed drama.

The second picture in this entry showed me bowing to Ms. Miftah, our troupe director, thanking her for successfully organizing the workshop on such a short notice.

So, there you have it. I'm sprinkling a little of FatChanceBellyDance dust that I received during my training to the dancers in Jakarta. I hope this will be the beginning of a lovely path filled with flowers, old coins, fluffy skirts and pantaloons, cholis, old silver jewelry, zils, swords, and a whole lot of American Tribal Style.


chella said...

That's so great!! Hope your teaching continues :)

Lilith Noor said...

Sounds like an amazing experience, hope it is the first of many such workshops and lessons!

famousfeline said...

Thank you so much! I can't wait to teach more ATS.

Foodycat said...

The thing about ATS is it is HARD. I'd been learning other forms of bellydance for 6 or 7 years when I started ATS and those first 6 weeks of level 1 were physically so difficult for me! A lot of people think they are going to be Rachel Brice after one lesson, so they freak out and never come back. The others - you've got them hooked for life!

Desi said...

Dear ucha... Makasih bangettttttttt rela mengganti tgl workshop elu krn menghargai event orang lain (lu ngomongin workshop punya gw kan ya? Hehehe.. GR ya gw?)

Dan justru krn itu jg gw dan temen2 bisa dopt kesempatan berharga utk belajar tehnik tribal bellydance yg baik dan benar dr elu.

Dan workshop tibal lu sukses abisss!!! Semua org amaze sama elu cha. Sukses ya bok..

Thanks ucha.. God Bless You

famousfeline said...

Hi, Foodycat (love your screen name and your blog!)

ATS is INDEED HARD! Plus there are a lot of misconceptions about Tribal in general, so I always make sure to clear that up before I start.

Ms. Brice will always be an inspiration, but I love her teacher (Ms. Carolena Nericcio) even more.

famousfeline said...

Iya Desiiii... Udah kode etik (setidaknya buat velvetRAQS) untuk ngga ngebikin workshop yang bertepatan sama workshop orang lain. Apalagi kan tanggal 23-nya, lo juga ngadain workshop Tribal.

Sempet panik sih, tapi untungnya semua berjalan dengan baik. Makasih banget ya udah ikutan!

Desi said...

you are humble and amazing friend... *big hug*
Dan iyalah gw gak bakal melewatkan kesempatan ambil ilmu ATS dr elu ;)

see you on your private class, master

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