Friday nights at KCDC are “Immersion” nights. Tasha generally picks a handful (4-6) of movements, spanning the ATS® levels and spends about 3 hours working on them. There’s a lot of drilling, and it is wonderful.

Unfortunately, the baby is very sick. He’s at Children’s Hospital right now with pneumonia. But he does seem to be doing better.

It’s also St. Paul Art Crawl weekend. So it’s important, though not required, for us to be in the studio.
Tasha sent me a text yesterday morning asking if I could take over the class for the evening. Of course I said yes. Why wouldn’t I? Um, well… probably because I’ve never taught a class. But, we selected movements that she knew I would be comfortable with; things that I could probably explain well enough to get the students to understand.

We did:
Circle Step
Reverse Turn
Sahra Turn
Turkish Shimmy
Ghawazee Shimmy w/combo

Of those, the circle step and sahra turn are the most complicated – to do and explain. The circle step is a bit of a misnomer, because you’re not actually creating a circle with your hips; it’s more of a “D” shape. And the Sahra turn is actually very easy. It’s only kind of complicated because it’s a series of turns put together. One of the students (and a friend of mine)  was having some issues separating the Sahra from the Reverse turn. They are fairly similar, so we drilled those together.

For me, the basic shimmy is second nature. It wasn’t always that way; it took me months to learn how to control the bounce of my hips. There’s a way of teaching it, in some ATS® classes, that you’re just taking a step and letting the natural jiggle happen. But, in my head, that’s wrong. That seems like you’re putting too much emphasis on a snap-action that could potentially strain your low-back. It’s a three quarter shimmy. It can be done softly (as well as being done as a sharp movement). I tried to break it down several ways, so make sure the students understood. I even busted out some Oriental, as that is how I learned it.

The Ghawazee Shimmy Combo is my FAVORITE movement. Ever.
It’s earthy and grounded and folkloric.
It also takes 48 counts, so there is time in there to think of more movements.

Turkish shimmy…. meh…. I’m not great at it. It’s a shimmy in demi-releve, I think I may have explained the half-turn wrong; I need to clarify if the half turns are done to flat walls, or to corners.

One gal, R, takes the level one and two classes on Wednesday night. She’s student troupe performer – well, was until she got sick and needed time off. She’s slowly getting back into the swing of things and is super eager to learn. She was great with questions and pushed for us to dance longer and harder. She’s an amazing person.

The other gal, an older woman, takes the level one class on Saturday morning. She has years of dance experience, but not belly dance. That can be helpful in some cases. She wants to learn… but I don’t think I really connected with her. I tried to explain certain movements – propeller and corkscrew turns – but she only seemed to “get” about half of what I said. It could have been because we were dancing for 2 hours, but her right arm kept dropping below the table (ATS® term regarding arm placement). I watched her for a while, which is sort of hard to do while teaching, and noticed her turns were fast and overly “floaty”. I had to tell her, it’s a bit more staccato, but not super-sharp. There are clear stops in the movement. After that, she went to the other extreme and it became a jerky movement. I think, by the end, she finally got it, but she was feeling a bit worn out by the end.

It was nice to be complimented by the students. They let me know that I explained things well and and they felt comfortable asking questions of me.  They appreciated that I kept the format loose, which was sort of a necessity with all the Art Crawl gawkers wandering around the building.

So, we’ll be back at it again tonight. I’ll be focusing more on Q&A and, hopefully, doing some mini-performances.
Baby will probably be in the hospital one more night, so I don’t know what the schedule will be yet.

**Side note:

I am working toward my General Skill certification, with the hopes that I’ll be Teacher Trained. GS is still a ways off.
I really hope I wasn’t breaking any rules by subbing last night, but it was really an honor to do it.

If ya’ll could send good juju to Little Boy Blue, it would be much appreciated.

Just Dance