These two identities have different positions in the dancing field. Being a teacher requires both the learner and dancer experiences.
The first stage is being a student which requires commitment if somebody wants to be a dancer or moreover to become a teacher.
‘In dance motor learning is the process that allows dancers to learn and execute basic sophisticated skills that are not acquired through normal human motor development.’ (Weiss, 2009)
I think that this process helps a student to become a dancer.
A Dancers’ mission is not just learning dance, but to also learn about quality of the learnt movement and to get the motor skill to recall the additional knowledge at the physical execution (Weiss, 2009). This process including attention and observation of the certain movements which contains also the additional emotions which the dancers can transfer to the performing art.
When I was a student and I attended classes I put focus on myself. I tried all of the movements, knowledge and feelings on myself both physically and mentally. It was like trying a dress on. I observed the material, the capability and possibilities of it and I also noticed my feelings, how I felt with the dress on myself.
This observation is the foundation of the performing skills which can improve by a lot of practice and experiences.
I remember when I was a learner, it was the most inspiring period in my dancing journey. I wanted to know everything about belly dancing. I improved my dance skills and I started to understand myself better. I could be lost in movements and I explored the power of moving with music. Dance gave me the feeling of freedom but this process was very personal and it took place within myself therefore I felt that this is a lonely journey.
When I became a teacher I realised that I have to pay attention to students, which requires a completely different focus. As a belly dance teacher I am responsible for training students in dance technique and expression skill.
I must make the most critical aspects of the movement which helps my students to improve. As a teacher I must know the movements clearly and share all the additional knowledge with my students, for example, if I teach turns I have to explain the posture, the posture of the legs and arms, the spot with head and the focus etc. I have to teach them perfectly. I have to pay attention to them instead of myself and guide them in their journey.
This requires being reflective because what they are going through is what I experienced in the past. As a dance teacher I have to put more focus on the outside instead of myself. Especially when I teach beginners who are not familiar with the dance classes.
Dancing and teaching can be interconnected if you are teaching the high level class where you can let yourself go and dance but it also depends on the students as well as the type of lesson. I have realised that when I teach improvisation I am a bit more freed. This gives me inspiration and allows me to dance freely for a short time while demonstrating the improvisation skill or when I teach choreography.
Sometimes I allow myself to dance freely at lessons but I have to be careful because the lessons are not about me but about the students. Being a teacher is not a lonely journey it is a cooperation with students which helps me to improve divergent thinking and to be open minded.
Weiss, D. S. (2009, 11 15). www.DanceEducation.org. Retrieved 12 05, 2017, from Motor Learning and Teaching Dance: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iadms.org/resource/resmgr/imported/info/motor_learning.pdf