Letter from Soheila
(Wednesday August 14, 2002) For those of you who have taken La Tati's workshops before, you'll know what I mean when I say "I can't wait for the thrilling action to start". Here were my thoughts from last year:
"My heart is pounding as I pack my bag and head toward the studio. I know the next ten days are going to be with much joy but hard work.
I enter the studio and see everyone with a big smile on their faces
chatting with each other. You feel the energy in the air. The class
starts and Tati, with that great presence of hers, walks in and you hear
sudden silence, which immediately follows with applause.
We are very privileged to have such a brilliant dancer like Tati to come to D.C. and once again I can't wait for the heart-pounding experience.
Practice outside of class
As fun as it would be, I'm not about to go into all the kinds of students you find in a typical class, but I will go into picking out the ones who don't practice.
You know who you are. Week after week, you come to class knowing full well that you didn't practice outside of class. And you think that the teacher doesn't notice. If it's a large class, that may be true.
But we guitarists know a fair amount about dancing since we go to class all the time so we do notice, and we do talk to the dance teachers. So there's no getting away with skipping practice! :)
In all fairness, there are those that take dance class as an escape from their day-to-day life and may take class purely for pleasure...and that's fine. But for the rest of you, in order to make the most of your technical progress, you must practice outside of class (even if it's only ten minutes a day).
We all have our own peculiar ways of absorbing information. Very few of us have the ability to watch the teacher demonstrating a step once and immediately duplicate it exactly. Some of us learn the sequence of steps and then fit it into the compás. Some internalize the "sound" of the steps and then learn exactly which foot makes what sound. Then we have arms, head, shoulders, body lines, angles etc etc.
Whatever it is you do, the teacher can only give you so much time during class to cater to your individual style of learning. When you do get the individual attention, listen carefully and remember what the teacher is saying. Whatever the teacher says, assume that he/she is also adding, "...when you practice outside of class."
Practice feels like work, and it is, but that does not mean it can't be enjoyable. One way to do this is to team up with some classmates. Help and encourage each other.
I met up with a couple of dance students during their practice meeting last Saturday. I put each of them on the spot by having them dance individually while the others provided palmas. Afterwards these were some of their comments:
"[Dancing one at a time] really let's you see what your mistake is. Because otherwise it's so easy to [hide] behind the other dancers and then you really don't know what you're doing [wrong]..."What you will need to setup your practice group:
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