westdance: Pied Dances - 2005

The MOMstable the_momstable at rocketmail.com
Tue Oct 26 11:08:50 PDT 2004

The complaints I'm hearing, probably because I'm NOT a dance
instructor, are about dance instruction in general.  The feeling seems
to be that if a dance is taught than its expected to be picked up very
quickly.  I've heard everything from "I wish we could just do this one
dance the whole practice"  to "I wish they would just teach the same
dances for awhile so I could finally catch on".    This isn't something
I think they'd complain about to the dance population as a whole, but I
guess I'm kind of counted as a neither a dancer nor a non-dancer, but
somewhere in the middle.  

I know that classes like "Dance for those with 2 left feet" have been
offered, and a few of the people I've heard complaints from have taken
those type of classes and been happy about it, but won't go to a
regular dance practice because they feel they'd be expected to learn
too quickly.  Even those who have attended the Darkwood practices
(admittedly, we've only had 3 so far) said that they understood that we
were trying to learn all the dances for the Ball, but would have liked
to go much slower.  

I guess they don't want to mostly get it, do it once to the music and
then go on to something new.  They want to do each section until
perfect, than put it all together, then do it several times with the
music until its well established.  I think its more about learning
style than anything else.  Some people learn by really grounding it
into their brains and muscle memory thoroughly first, others like to
have lots of exposure over time.  Most of the dance instruction seems
focus on the latter type.  

This isn't really a criticism of the dance instructors, because all the
ones I've been taught by are terrific.  Its more from, maybe being a
parent, and seeing how different kids learn in different ways, and then
seeing the same things in adults in regards to dance.  Its not just
Darkwood either.  Since I've been pushing dance specifically for the
therapeutic value for my son, I've been talking to a lot of people in
general, and this was the tone of the major complaints that I had
heard.  So they get the impression that if they can't learn in that
style, then SCA dance isn't going to be an activity for them.

I'm not sure if I've made this clearer or more muddled.  Its a lot of
different perceptions and perspectives that have been funneling into
conversations.  Since I'm still a fairly nervous beginner, they feel
safe telling me these things, I suppose.


> Mmmm...  Rereading your post, Na'arah, it's not clear whether you're
> talking just about dance practices in Darkwood, or also those on
> Wednesday nights and classes at Collegiums/A&S.  Is it mostly the
> Darkwood practices or is it also the latter?
> Matt
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