strathspey Archive: class levels

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class levels

Message 53777 · WENDY LOBERG · 9 Oct 2008 18:48:19 · Top

Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even though
they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I think that
often.

Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a
while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may still
not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an in
between class?

Any discussion on this would be interesting,

Wendy

class levels

Message 53778 · Chris Collin · 9 Oct 2008 20:01:09 · Top

The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years: Beginner,
Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is a separate curriculum and
standards available for each level, and many dances have been categorized
within the four levels, which are then posted on social programs.

While time is not the factor for promotion, typically a dancer will be a
beginner for 1-2 years, then Basic for another year or two, and then
Intermediate. Moving on to advanced will depend greatly on the dancer, and
their abilities.

This systems works due to the size of the Branch. We have enough students,
teachers, and facilites to offer four levels. There is also one combined
class, in what had been a separate group in a village now absorbed by the
city. And, for this year, the Beginner and Basic classes were combined, in
order to try to expand to a new part of the city where there were not enough
dancers (yet!) to have two separate class levels.

As the teacher of the one combined class, I'm perhaps not the best one to
speak about how well the Ottawa systems works! However, it has been in
place for some time, and does offer a fairly smooth transition from one
level to another. It also allows people that joined in the same year, who
often develop friendships, to move up together, much like in school. This
helps retention as well.

I would be curious to hear of other groups with four, rather than the usual
three levels.

Chris Collin
Ottawa, Canada

----- Original Message -----
From: "WENDY LOBERG" <wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 12:48 PM
Subject: class levels

> Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even
> though they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I think
> that often.
>
> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
> intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a
> while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may
> still not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an
> in between class?
>
> Any discussion on this would be interesting,
>
> Wendy
>
>

class levels

Message 53779 · Alan Twhigg · 9 Oct 2008 21:41:54 · Top

On a more local level than the one Chris describes, the class I teach
with in Mountain View, CA is a component of the San Francisco Branch.
From its inception, the class has had two levels that meet in the
same facility, Basic and Experienced. A few years ago we found that
we had significant attrition because dancers who had been through the
year of Basic (sometimes more than once) lacked confidence and
sufficient practice with formations to feel comfortable in the
Experienced class. One of our teachers volunteered to start a
Transition class for these dancers, meeting on the same night but in
a different location, and specifically geared toward preparing
dancers who placed out of the Basic level for eventual entry to the
Experienced class. It has been helpful to have this intermediate
stage; it is up to the dancers to choose how long to remain there, or
whether to go directly from Basic to Experienced (with the permission
of the instructors of those levels). To give an idea of scale, we
currently have 2 to 3 sets attending the Experienced class, 10
dancers in the Transition class (this is the minimum number to pay
for the hall), and about 1 set in the Basic class.

-Alan Twhigg.

On Oct 9, 2008, at 11:01 AM, Chris wrote:

> The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years:
> Beginner, Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is a separate
> curriculum and standards available for each level, and many dances
> have been categorized within the four levels, which are then posted
> on social programs.
>
> While time is not the factor for promotion, typically a dancer will
> be a beginner for 1-2 years, then Basic for another year or two,
> and then Intermediate. Moving on to advanced will depend greatly
> on the dancer, and their abilities.
>
> This systems works due to the size of the Branch. We have enough
> students, teachers, and facilites to offer four levels. There is
> also one combined class, in what had been a separate group in a
> village now absorbed by the city. And, for this year, the Beginner
> and Basic classes were combined, in order to try to expand to a new
> part of the city where there were not enough dancers (yet!) to have
> two separate class levels.
>
> As the teacher of the one combined class, I'm perhaps not the best
> one to speak about how well the Ottawa systems works! However, it
> has been in place for some time, and does offer a fairly smooth
> transition from one level to another. It also allows people that
> joined in the same year, who often develop friendships, to move up
> together, much like in school. This helps retention as well.
>
> I would be curious to hear of other groups with four, rather than
> the usual three levels.
>
> Chris Collin
> Ottawa, Canada
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "WENDY LOBERG"
> <wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca>
> To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
> Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 12:48 PM
> Subject: class levels
>
>
>> Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners,
>> even though they have been dancing for some time. Well said
>> Andrew. I think that often.
>>
>> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners
>> and intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been
>> dancing for a while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes
>> once or twice, may still not be ready by any means for an
>> intermediate class. What about an in between class?
>>
>> Any discussion on this would be interesting,
>>
>> Wendy
>>
>

class levels

Message 53783 · Monica Pollard · 10 Oct 2008 01:47:12 · Top

Wow. Always cool to read about metro areas with large SCD
populations. If only...

I hadn't considered there might be a need for a transition class
between Beginner and Intermediate.
We are currently holding at about 16-20 dancers, usually 2 sets per
class. With so few dancers, we can only run one class. So we offer a
range of dance levels during the two hour class. An easy warm-up
dance, a Beginner level dance, an Intermediate dance, and a review
dance. Everyone does everything. This gives us three teachers an
opportunity to teach to different levels. We wouldn't be able to do
this otherwise, as we're the only game in town, for hundreds of miles
around ;). It also gives our more experienced dancers the opportunity
to learn how to help less-experienced dancers in a quiet/subtle way,
with handing, facial expressions and few words.

Our experienced dancers consistently travel to workshops in other
places to get their Advanced dancing fix. We teach harder dances when
we can, but that isn't as often as I'd like.

Monica
Boise/Nampa, ID

"WENDY LOBERG"
>> <wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca>
>>> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
>>> intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a
>>> while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may still
>>> not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an in
>>> between class?

Chris wrote:
>> The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years: Beginner,
>> Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is a separate curriculum and
>> standards available for each level....
>> This systems works due to the size of the Branch. We have enough students,
>> teachers, and facilites to offer four levels.
>> Chris Collin
>> Ottawa, Canada

Alan Twhigg <keltech@earthlink.net> wrote:
> To give an idea of scale, we currently have 2 to 3 sets attending
> the Experienced class, 10 dancers in the Transition class (this is the
> minimum number to pay for the hall), and about 1 set in the Basic class.

--
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a
horrible warning."
Catherine Aird

class levels

Message 53786 · Raquel Fernandez · 10 Oct 2008 15:26:25 · Top


In our group in Barcelona (Spain) happens quite the same as in Monica's. We are only 10 people at the moment, and different levels on it. Usually we do a first part with steps and formations and some easy dances, then some more difficult. It seems to make happy all levels. In my opinion, in our group, transition between levels are strongly related to the possibilities to go to social dances and/or day-weekend-schools (not very easy in our country, we only have a Gathering once a year, so we have to travel to other countries).
Maybe, the good point to have a mixture of levels, is that beginners can see new formations danced by more experienced and contribute to make easier when are taught.

Raquel
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

> Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 17:47:12 -0600> From: sequoia03@gmail.com> To: strathspey@strathspey.org> Subject: Re: class levels> > Wow. Always cool to read about metro areas with large SCD> populations. If only...> > I hadn't considered there might be a need for a transition class> between Beginner and Intermediate.> We are currently holding at about 16-20 dancers, usually 2 sets per> class. With so few dancers, we can only run one class. So we offer a> range of dance levels during the two hour class. An easy warm-up> dance, a Beginner level dance, an Intermediate dance, and a review> dance. Everyone does everything. This gives us three teachers an> opportunity to teach to different levels. We wouldn't be able to do> this otherwise, as we're the only game in town, for hundreds of miles> around ;). It also gives our more experienced dancers the opportunity> to learn how to help less-experienced dancers in a quiet/subtle way,> with handing, facial expressions and few words.> > Our experienced dancers consistently travel to workshops in other> places to get their Advanced dancing fix. We teach harder dances when> we can, but that isn't as often as I'd like.> > Monica> Boise/Nampa, ID> > > "WENDY LOBERG"> >> <wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca>> >>> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and> >>> intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a> >>> while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may still> >>> not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an in> >>> between class?> > Chris wrote:> >> The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years: Beginner,> >> Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is a separate curriculum and> >> standards available for each level....> >> This systems works due to the size of the Branch. We have enough students,> >> teachers, and facilites to offer four levels.> >> Chris Collin> >> Ottawa, Canada> > Alan Twhigg <keltech@earthlink.net> wrote:> > To give an idea of scale, we currently have 2 to 3 sets attending> > the Experienced class, 10 dancers in the Transition class (this is the> > minimum number to pay for the hall), and about 1 set in the Basic class.> > -- > "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a> horrible warning."> Catherine Aird
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class levels

Message 53787 · Martin Campoveja · 10 Oct 2008 15:52:29 · Top

2008/10/10 Raquel Fernandez wrote :

>
> In our group in Barcelona (Spain) happens quite the same as in Monica's.

And at the other end of the counry, where numbers are very variable (a small
group with a number of visitors passing through or wintering in the sun), I
can't see us ever splitting the club up into different class levels. We are
glad to get together and enjoy some dancing, adjusting to the abiliites and
experience of those that turn up.

Martin
hovering between Grenoble, France, and Malaga, Spain.

class levels

Message 53788 · Monica Pollard · 10 Oct 2008 15:56:49 · Top

Raquel Fernandez wrote:
> In our group in Barcelona (Spain) happens quite the same as in Monica's. We are only 10 people at the moment, and different levels on it. Usually we do a first part with steps and formations and some easy dances, then some more difficult. It seems to make happy all levels. In my opinion, in our group, transition between levels are strongly related to the possibilities to go to social dances and/or day-weekend-schools (not very easy in our country, we only have a Gathering once a year, so we have to travel to other countries).
> Maybe, the good point to have a mixture of levels, is that beginners can see new formations danced by more experienced and contribute to make easier when are taught.

I think this *is* a good point. Our less experienced dancers are
still working on their steps and phrasing (one of my biggest
challenges is thinking of ways to teach phrasing without getting
really prescriptive and move-by-move), but they can get through some
surprisingly difficult dances. Over the summer I taught Hamilton Rant
- and everyone loved it! Including our newer dancers. That was
partly because my experienced dancers were able to help me show what
things looked like, and gently guide the new folks during the dance.

Monica
Boise/Nampa, ID
--
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a
horrible warning."
Catherine Aird

class levels

Message 53789 · Miriam L. Mueller · 10 Oct 2008 17:16:47 · Top

Dates noted. Thanks. Mimi
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class levels

Message 53797 · campbell · 13 Oct 2008 09:38:13 · Top

Chris Collin from Ottawa wrote:

>The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years: Beginner,
>Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.... While time is not the factor for
>promotion, typically a dancer will be a beginner for 1-2 years, then Basic
for >another year or two, and then Intermediate. Moving on to advanced will
>depend greatly on the dancer, and their abilities....I would be curious to
hear of >other groups with four, rather than the usual three levels.

Wow!! I have been running my group for five years now and I have just one
group. We are about 35 - 40 strong. When people join us (and they do so at
any point during the year) my aim is to get them able to be part of our
party that goes to the big Tartan Ball run in Cape Town every year by the
Interclub Committee. There are currently 7 groups in Cape Town but only one
other is as big as ours, the others are struggling, one down to less than a
set at times. So, how I would love to have a structure like yours, where I
can take people through the stages, slowly, carefully and instilling all the
right technique. But I just don't think my members would be prepared to
hang around that long, isolated from the rest of the club. So I split the
group into two for the first half of the evening, taking the least able 8
separately, and letting the others just dance together, where the better
dancers help the less able. After the half-time break I put together a
programme which everyone can dance (usually a repeat of what I have taught
the least able before the break, together with dances that the least able
can get through with a good partner) except for one dance which is advanced
and which I restrict to those who think they can do it without more than a
recap. So, in a nutshell, I have one group of beginners, who stay in that
group until someone more recent than them forces them upwards, and one group
of all the rest, who help each other to dance the programme I give them.
Not ideal, and how I wish I could stratify them like the Ottawa Group does.
But people just don't seem to want to do "the hard yards" these days. A
benefit of my situation is that dancers quickly learn the need to dance with
different levels and the skill that goes with that. And we are very much
one club. I have recently introduced a grading scheme for dancers and some
of the group are coming as well on a different night for that.

Campbell Tyler
Cape Town

class levels

Message 53798 · Miriam L. Mueller · 13 Oct 2008 17:02:30 · Top

Years ago I visited the Mobile, Alabama branch. There were two -
three sets, age range from 16 to 80, getting along without a certificated
teacher but lots of enthusiasm and the courage to tackle new and often
challenging dances. And I remember friends and I, neophytes, attending a
class of experienced dancers in Marin County, CA, almost 20 years ago.
Since it was a small class, and we were usually needed to complete the
second set, we got helped through a lot of dances otherwise too advanced
for us.
Sometimes I wonder if the challenge of incorporating beginner
dancers into a dedicated group may have special benefits: the experienced
dancers have to assist the newbies, the enthusiasm of the newer dancers
spreads to the experienced, the focus becomes more on having fun and
doing the dances than on performance.
Just an iconoclast's thought -
Mimi / Miriam Mueller, San Francisco

On Mon, 13 Oct 2008 09:38:13 +0200 "Campbell Tyler"
<campbell@tyler.co.za> writes:
> Chris Collin from Ottawa wrote:
>
> >The Ottawa Branch, RSCDS has had four levels for many years:
> Beginner,
> >Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.... While time is not the factor
> for
> >promotion, typically a dancer will be a beginner for 1-2 years,
> then Basic
> for >another year or two, and then Intermediate. Moving on to
> advanced will
> >depend greatly on the dancer, and their abilities....I would be
> curious to
> hear of >other groups with four, rather than the usual three
> levels.
>
> Wow!! I have been running my group for five years now and I have
> just one
> group. We are about 35 - 40 strong. When people join us (and they
> do so at
> any point during the year) my aim is to get them able to be part of
> our
> party that goes to the big Tartan Ball run in Cape Town every year
> by the
> Interclub Committee. There are currently 7 groups in Cape Town but
> only one
> other is as big as ours, the others are struggling, one down to less
> than a
> set at times. So, how I would love to have a structure like yours,
> where I
> can take people through the stages, slowly, carefully and instilling
> all the
> right technique. But I just don't think my members would be
> prepared to
> hang around that long, isolated from the rest of the club. So I
> split the
> group into two for the first half of the evening, taking the least
> able 8
> separately, and letting the others just dance together, where the
> better
> dancers help the less able. After the half-time break I put
> together a
> programme which everyone can dance (usually a repeat of what I have
> taught
> the least able before the break, together with dances that the least
> able
> can get through with a good partner) except for one dance which is
> advanced
> and which I restrict to those who think they can do it without more
> than a
> recap. So, in a nutshell, I have one group of beginners, who stay in
> that
> group until someone more recent than them forces them upwards, and
> one group
> of all the rest, who help each other to dance the programme I give
> them.
> Not ideal, and how I wish I could stratify them like the Ottawa
> Group does.
> But people just don't seem to want to do "the hard yards" these
> days. A
> benefit of my situation is that dancers quickly learn the need to
> dance with
> different levels and the skill that goes with that. And we are very
> much
> one club. I have recently introduced a grading scheme for dancers
> and some
> of the group are coming as well on a different night for that.
>
> Campbell Tyler
> Cape Town
>
>
>

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class levels

Message 53799 · Anselm Lingnau · 13 Oct 2008 17:26:29 · Top

mimimueller@juno.com wrote:

> Sometimes I wonder if the challenge of incorporating beginner
> dancers into a dedicated group may have special benefits: the experienced
> dancers have to assist the newbies, the enthusiasm of the newer dancers
> spreads to the experienced, the focus becomes more on having fun and
> doing the dances than on performance.

We don't have the resources to establish a beginners' class so the beginners
who turn up get thrown in at the deep end (to a certain extent, anyway -- we
try to spend the first hour or so of our three-hour dance night on things
that are supposed to be especially interesting to the newer people). One
problem is that you can find yourself running as hard as you can just to stay
in the same place -- the beginners don't do us the favour of turning up in a
big bunch for the first session after the summer holidays (which is what we
would like) but come in at most twos and threes whenever they please,
notwithstanding our exhortations to the contrary. We don't really want to
send them away to come again on day X, when the new sequence of lessons will
start, since they will likely find something else to occupy their time in the
meantime. It is, however, practically impossible to start over from scratch
whenever a new face shows up as any progress that the group as a whole makes
would grind to a halt. We can only spend so much time a week explaining turns
and rights-and-lefts.

I don't quite buy the »the focus becomes more on having fun and doing the
dances than on performance« bit since for many of the more advanced dancers a
large part of the fun consists in improving their dancing. They don't mind
the new people but if we abandoned the efforts we make to teach technique (to
everybody) in order to focus on »having fun and doing the dances« then many
of the more experienced people would leave because their abilities are no
longer being challenged. It is one thing to ask them to be welcoming to
beginners who show up (and my group, I'm happy to say, is quite outgoing) but
quite another to make them newbie minders first, dancers second.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau, Friedberg, Germany ..................... anselm@strathspey.org
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation.
Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is
the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal,
and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
-- Robert A. Heinlein, *Time Enough for Love*

An Invitation

Message 53814 · Chris & Linda Gaul · 14 Oct 2008 19:17:28 · Top

If anyone is in the Pitlochry, Perthshire area of Scotland on Saturday 18
October you are invited to join us at a dance in the Town Hall, West Moulin
Road, Pitlochry at 7.30pm.

Further details are available on our website:
www.rscds-perthandperthshire.com or just call me!

All the dances will be re-capped.

Linda Gaul
Mansewood
Pitlochry
PH16 5HP

(0)1796 472366

class levels

Message 53780 · Colleen Putt · 9 Oct 2008 23:39:47 · Top

As a local teacher said many years ago, "Some people acquire 17 years'
experience; others have one year's experience 17 times over."
Cheers,
Colleen Putt
Bedford, Nova Scotia

> Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even
> though they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I
> think that often.
>
> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
> intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for
> a while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice,
> may still not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What
> about an in between class?
>
> Any discussion on this would be interesting,
>
> Wendy

class levels

Message 53781 · sophie.rickebusch · 9 Oct 2008 23:43:26 · Top

Nice one :-)

Sophie

cputt@staff.ednet.ns.ca wrote:
> As a local teacher said many years ago, "Some people acquire 17 years'
> experience; others have one year's experience 17 times over."
> Cheers,
> Colleen Putt
> Bedford, Nova Scotia
>
>> Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even
>> though they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I
>> think that often.
>>
>> Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
>> intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for
>> a while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice,
>> may still not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What
>> about an in between class?
>>
>> Any discussion on this would be interesting,
>>
>> Wendy
>
>
>
>

--
Sophie Rickebusch
Edinburgh, UK

class levels

Message 53782 · suepetyt · 10 Oct 2008 00:07:28 · Top

I use the term 'Improvers' for this - sometimes more in
hope..................

Happy Dancing
Sue Petyt
Skype - spetyt
www.suepetyt.me.uk
-----Original Message-----
From: WENDY LOBERG [mailto:wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca]
Sent: 09 October 2008 17:48
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: class levels

Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even though
they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I think that
often.

Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a
while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may still

not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an in
between class?

Any discussion on this would be interesting,

Wendy

class levels

Message 53784 · Ruary · 10 Oct 2008 05:09:34 · Top

Wendy, I think that the obvious choice is to have an Elementary Class which
builds on the initial relatively brief familiarization experience of the
Beginners Class, but maintains a strong focus on the fiur basic steps and
all the basic formations. Such a class has a lot to cover and may take some
dancers two years to get to grips with everything, before thay are ready to
tackle the Intermediate Class.
Ruary Laidlaw

class levels

Message 53802 · Pia Walker · 13 Oct 2008 19:41:21 · Top

I teach two classes: beginners and improvers - one after the other - it seem
to be the same people in both :>) The improvers help the beginners - they
then go on to their own stuff later in the evening and more important
everyone is really, really comfortable with what they do - it is up to me to
'stretch' them in the last class - without dampening their enthusiasm. They
are a great class (both of them).

Pia

-----Original Message-----
From: WENDY LOBERG [mailto:wendy.loberg079@sympatico.ca]
Sent: 09 October 2008 17:48
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: class levels

Moving on from what Andrew said about some remaining beginners, even though
they have been dancing for some time. Well said Andrew. I think that
often.

Has anyone else thought about or have a class between beginners and
intermediate. I often feel beginners, once they have been dancing for a
while, or been through 10 weeks of beginner classes once or twice, may still
not be ready by any means for an intermediate class. What about an in
between class?

Any discussion on this would be interesting,

Wendy

Hands up for Trad

Message 53810 · Pia Walker · 14 Oct 2008 18:21:11 · Top

for information and distribution

It's that time of year again when you can vote for Scottish Trad Music
Award. Just go to the Hands Up for Trad website
http://www.handsupfortrad.co.uk/tradmusicawards/index.htm

Pia

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