“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a group.” This is supposedly a South African proverb; I don’t know that it actually is. Or that it is always true. But I do know that combining group work with personal work is a fast way to go far.
This is how I have always created my courses–a mix of group accountability and camaraderie combined with individual focus and experimentation. I have found this combination to be satisfying and effective,, both in the classes I have taken as well as those I have taught.
I know, everyone despised group work in school.
Largely because it is for a grade, so everyone hates the slacker who drags them down almost as much as the perfectionist who drives them forward (at one time, I had my college students categorize themselves as Early Birds, Slow and Steady, or Caffiends, and grouped them accordingly–which worked surprisingly well).
One thing I noticed, though–the more fun the task, the more agreeable the groups were. The more motivated people are, the better everything goes.
Fun and motivation are key.
I have been in many, many groups (you probably have, too), from boards to business to classes. I have found that a good group motivates me to show up, and that I learn as much from the processes of the others as I do from my own (sometimes more). Groups work best when we have our own things to do between meetings, and we come back together to debrief and choose our next focus.
As someone who has often danced in a vacuum, with no teachers near at hand, before the internet, I am familiar with going alone. It’s not my strong suit, even though I do it all the time. Why?
I’m an introvert.
Generally, I avoid people. I abhor groups. They make me tired. I don’t like to be seen. BUT!
I get a lot farther with others to help me prioritize, act as a sounding board, or generally be on the path with me. Sometimes it’s just one person, sometimes it’s several. But when we are all motivated and the task is rewarding the process becomes enjoyable.
This is how I structure my classes.
A long time ago I read that some students responded more in written conversations and others to in-person conversation. I immediately tested this in my college classrooms, and was delighted to find silent students become chatty and helpful in forum threads. Since then, I have used a mix of video meetings with private forums for my classes–and it works.
Here are some comments from a recent class…
I think the group encouragement helped us all come “out” and share videos, etc… without feeling we would be judged. I felt everyone’s beauty from the inside out. I got to know them because we interacted everyday online. The love I felt from knowing them and seeing their dance was so sweet for me to watch. I am going to feel lost when the course is over. I also feel like I have made friends. I felt like I could do no wrong, explore and try new things every step of the way.–CR
In this course Alia always encouraged being “you” and how “you” feel. All the assignments were open to “our” interpretations to build “our” dances. Alia gave guidance and examples, not “do this” “like this.” And everyone including me shared their own experiences, ideas, twists, struggles, questions, learned from each other, inspired each other, supported each other. There was no right or wrong. There was no who is better than others or “this is good because it looks like the example.” There really wasn’t.
The group made all the difference. Things that I was privately feeling or insecurities I had would be expressed by someone else in the group. This gave me the confidence to speak up, ask questions and not be afraid of what others thought. The group was very supportive and their questions and comments were very helpful. I did not feel alone. ..I got so many great ideas from others in the forum. I remember saying to myself on numerous occasions, “I want to try that!” We were all free to share and explore together.
“Awaken people to their own beauty and power. Enable them to express their unique individuality through art.”
This is my mission. This is why I teach classes, write books and articles, and dance the way I do. This is why I am embarked upon the trauma resolution path, to help others transcend the ice of old fear so they can create the art of their dreams.
It is from this place that I present our fall calendar.
I have built these courses over time. I have built them to heal the divides I see in our dance scene. I have built them for you. Thank you for reading, for thinking, for being part of all this, for being you. You are my heart and soul. Let’s go far–together.
Fall 2019 Upcoming Events
Raq-On Live Classes, mid Aug-mid Sept
I’m excited to be teaching some of Amity’s classes between mid August to mid Sept. There are a few spots left in the intermediate to advanced class on Monday nights–join live in the studio or Skype in.
“Individual growth while focusing not just on technique and drills, but different styles, props, history, and performance methods. You must be willing to take constructive criticism from your instructor work as a team player with your peers. Please note, in order to join this class, you must get instructor permission.” If interested, please contact me.
FUN classes are live online (video) classes designed for FUN. They are primarily follow-me, improv classes with some combinations, technique, and an extended Dancemeditation section for stress release and joy.
Each class is recorded. The recording is available for one week only, then replaced by the next recording. We use zoom for the classes and teachable.com to host the streamable recordings. Registration opens in August.
Creative Expressions Mastermind
I am very excited about this new venture.
This Mastermind is for small groups (+/- five people) who meet online bi-weekly for two months (five total meetings of about two hours per meeting). Each member chooses their own creative goals while the group provides accountability, cheerleading, and coaching.
Each person gets twenty minutes per meeting to talk about what they’ve done, what they want to do, and troubleshoot or discuss. Alia will provide coaching, and they will choose their new goals or next steps for the coming month.
What might you focus on? It could be any kind of creative goal, dance, improvisation, a prop, or anything you want to learn or get better at, painting, costume making, writing, marketing, establishing boundaries, whatever you want to work on.
This Mastermind will run through September and October. Meeting times will be decided by the group. Meetings will be recorded and available via teachable.com.
There are only ten spaces available for the mastermind. If you are interested, contact me. Formal registration opens in August. However, if you are sure this is for you, you may partake of our special Trust the Chef pricing (there’s even a payment plan).
How to Teach Improvisation
Save the Date: August 4th at 2PM
This is a webinar I’m teaching for the Belly Dance Business Academy. More info and signup coming soon.
Effortless Improv: a 6-week online improvisation crash course
This is one of my favorite classes. It is wild and crazy and oh, does it work! Get ready for transformation. Ten spots are available right now at a special early price (only 25 spots for the whole class). Info/Register
Focus on the Feeling
How to Get and Give Great Critique for Oriental Dance
Who among us has not been told something cutting about our dance? Sure, maybe it’s true, but really–cutting? All of us want to improve; none of us need to be shredded in the process. Yet the only other option seems to be saying how good something was–when it wasn’t? Can’t we be honest, yet kind?
YES, WE CAN.
Focus on the Feeling helps us identify our strengths, prioritize our growth, build up our skills, and enjoy doing it–we even get to enjoy our own videos! Find out more here. FoF will run for 6 weeks, from Sunday, October 13 — Friday, November 22, 2019. Registration opens in September.
I look forward to hearing from you <3