Saturday, July 10, 2010

New trend in workshops - Originally posted 9 July 2008

I meant to post this in yesterday's post but it does merit its own blog. There are two new trends in workshop that I'm really liking.

One of them is a more focused approach. It seems like the workshops that I have taken lately (and not just the past two weekends, it started last year too) are more focused in the sense that they will teach you a few moves/combos and/or concepts very well as opposed to flooding you with info... so much so that your brain can't process it all. This is so much more beneficial as a dancer! I can take those moves/combos and concepts and work on them at home and polish them because the instructor has given me the tools to do so. It is greatly appreciated. I've been to workshops where it felt like the instructor had a certain idea of all that she wanted to cover and, whether participants were following or not, she was plowing through. Well, although I do receive more material in those workshops, I haven't processed any of it so not much sticks.

The other cool trend is the "Thou can't be Rachel Brice" message. I applaud. Finally, people are saying it out loud. And we're using Rachel Brice more often as an example because there are a great number of people who admire her (I sure do). It really is a "Thou can't be (insert name of dancer)" message. I've been saying that to my students for a long time already. The message this weekend that came loud and clear was that you need to modify moves so that they will look good on your body. In our troupe, we very much modify moves to fit our style. Some of it may be due to me figuring out stuff from videos and maybe missing a tidbit. Some of it is because we naturally do the move a certain way. Some of it is because a certain part of a combo does not fit our general aesthetic and style so we modify. And that is what makes us Black Rose Caravan. Everyone needs to do the same for their own personal styles too! Sure, you drill the move as is to get the spirit of it... but then you may notice that arms a certain way enhance too much something on you or whatever and you need to change that. I think that the best way that I've heard it expressed was, if you're trying to do the combo exactly as is, people will say "Oh, she's attempting (insert snicker here) to do that Rachel Brice move" (or replace RB's name with whoever). Instead, you want people not to notice that you are doing the same move.

Darn! I know that there was something else that I wanted to put in this blog but I forgot! Oh well! I'll post a separate blog, that's all. :p

Comments I had received:
From Sayra:
What are you talking about? I am Rachel Brice! lol....sorry I couldn't help myself....

From Tempest:
I know how frustrating it is for me to be overloaded with information with a workshop and go home wondering if I will remember any of it (usually one move, if that..), so in designing my own workshops, I really focus on an amount of material I think is more easy to digest and retain, AND have time to consider what looks best on the different body types in the workshop, AND give students the freedom to make the moves their own. I think it's important to keep in mind (as a teacher) that not only is my time valuable, but so is the time of the students - in terms of money and their daily lives. Workshops should be a two-way "honor-respect" system - respect for the teacher, respect for the students - because without each other, there wouldn't be anything!

From me:
hehehe. Good one, Sayra! Tempest, Yes, you were one of my examples of instructors who focuses the workshop. As you pointed out, and that was what I was trying to get at, I will feel that I've had my money's worth if I remember something. A few things are ideal. But I think that some instructors have the misonception that you need to show, say, 10 combos so that you will think that they are each worth like 5$ apiece or somethin'. Noooooooo! It will boild down to one thing for 50$ and feeling like a crappy dancer who can't follow. Concepts and tools are priceless.

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