When I was in high school I had two teachers that left a deep mark on me. Thanks to them I decided to study a degree in Biology (yes I’m half- Biologist!).
What does make a bellydance teacher perfect?
I’m sure you still remember that teacher that made your wings grow and helped you on your first steps.
I didn’t finish my degree in biology because I chose to follow other paths. Actually I’m here writing about dance and teaching bellydance since 2001!
In today’s article I’d like to share with you the 11 requirements that the ideal oriental dance teacher should meet.
I’ve been thinking about this article for a few months. I’ve asked and had conversations about this topic and I’ve read a lot of different opinions.
I’ve come to the conclusion that at the end of the day –as it happens in life- everything depends on the eye of the beholder.
According to my eyes, here you’ve got the 11 requirements a teacher should meet to fit the bill.
The ideal dance teacher:
- Connects with you at first sight: is a person who you get on with even without words. That kind of person that makes you feel good just by being there.
- Doesn’t judge you and serves your needs.
- Teaches you trough constructive criticism. She/he doesn’t tell you that you are doing something wrong, she/he tells you what you could improve and how instead.
- She/he doesn’t stop learning. She/he is honest enough to know that she/he doesn’t know everything and is a permanent learner.
- Trusts your capacity to learn and dares you to develop your dance day by day.
- Gives clear explanations and share her/his knowledge generously.
- Is honest and admits clearly when she/he doesn’t know something.
- Encourages you to try classes with different teachers based on what she/he thinks can help you.
- Provides you with sources to allow you to do your own research.
- Deals equally with everyone in class, independently of their capacities or level.
- Makes sure that there is a group feeling where students feel safe and calm. A competitive environment is not the best place to learn.
But, what if your teacher doesn’t meet all these requirements? The only problem there is that your teacher is not perfect, is a human. In this case I would recommend you to be a good student and give her/him a second chance, I’m sure she/he will amaze you sooner or later.
What about the knowledge on the topic?
As you can see, I have not included on these points anything about your teacher knowledge on the topic she/he is teaching about.
Obviously a teacher should know about what they are teaching about, but there is a nuance on this – there are people who, even if they are not experts in their field, have an amazing ability to communicate what they know. I consider these people under the same classification.
If we want to go even further and become gourmet in terms of types of teachers, we could add a couple of extra points to the list:
The ideal teacher – silver medal – is the one that makes you think about her/his class for the whole week. You always want to learn more and more from her/him.
The ideal teacher – gold medal- is the one that makes you get goosebumps at class.
When I get goosebumps in a class I know that the stars have aligned.
You also have to bear in mind that your perception about the ideal teacher will change over time.
Some people could be ideal for you today but not in two years. I think that there is an ideal teacher for every learning stage.
Back in Spain I had three important and amazing teachers:
Rocío Bolaños: mi first bellydance teacher. She was the one that made me start with bellydance. She moved to Ireland several years ago and I lost her track.
Cristiane Azem, who opened many doors to a new world for me, full of infinite creative and expressive possibilities. She made me feel free to create, and I learnt from her that doing things on a large scale is worth it.
Sonia Sampayo. I met her thanks to Cristiane. Sonia gave me a body understanding that I think I won’t be able to thank enough. Up until today, she is the only teacher who made me get goosebumps.
Thanks to the conversation Sonia Sampayo had with Cristina Samaniego -you can listen to it in Spanish here– I decided to write this article.
Since I moved to London in 2014, I’ve been searching for that all the chills feeling again.
Since 2017, I’ve also been one of the teachers of the beautiful project Dance for Joy – for over two years already. A project that brings free bellydance lessons to help build devastated lives.
Sometimes we just find people in our path that changes everything.
And what about you?
Have you already found your ideal teacher? Are you lucky enough to go regularly to her/his classes?
Drop me a line in the comments. Let’s make this post one to share love and appreciation for por teachers.