(reprinted from ZAGHAREET! May/June 2003)
by Anthea Kawakib Poole
During the first few months
of class I tell students I'll give individual corrections
unless they'd rather I didn't; over the years only a very few
have decided to forgo corrections. Most students seem to feel
they'll get more for their money by hearing how they can
improve, and take corrections with a good grace. But sometimes
I can tell by body language & expression that some
students wish they hadn't..."been caught".
Home practice can noticeably accelerate skill development, so if you start taking belly dance classes in September, by April you could be way behind or ahead of your classmates, depending on who is and who is not practicing at home - and that's often when feelings get touchy about taking corrections in class.
It's not that those who practice at home get LESS correction - they still get corrected! It's just that they and everyone else can see the difference in who is "getting" the move/combination/cymbal pattern, and who isn't. These home-practitioners are more in touch with their bodies, more comfortable moving, taking a chance, trying new things - all of which tends to help them improve constantly. The NON-practitioners are a bit more awkward and unskilled at controlling their body, and consequently less comfortable trying something new. They have less confidence - and that's a big part of success.
Students whose self-image is suffering don't take corrections well. What was OK before now feels like being picked on and singled out. It's a time-worn saying, but true: with belly dance, you get what you give. Give it your time & energy, and you'll get much satisfaction back. YOU are the one in control - YOU can decide to invest in yourself, and reap the benefits.But even "the good students" get corrected and don't always like it. Maybe they don't realize they're just getting a chance to develop their ability to fail well.