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Beginners in with experienced dancers (formerly Teaching and guns)

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    Miriam L. Mueller March 13, 2006, 8:54 p.m. (Message 44689)

    If you will forgive a non-teacher speaking up, I will relate my
    experiences with such mixed classes.
    1) Although it is not SCD, I attend a monthly English Country Dance that
    always has a few total beginners (never danced ECD, sometimes never
    danced before). The early part of the evening is always geared to
    straightforward but increasingly complex fun dances. The experienced
    dancers make sure the newcomers and beginners have experienced partners
    who reassure them that they CAN do this. With reels for example (heys in
    ECD), they are told to weave in and out, we walk through it once or
    twice, the experienced dancers point the way, and most have little
    trouble with them. 
    2) In Mobile, Alabama, some years ago, I danced with a non-RSCDS group of
    enthusiasts. No certified teacher, experience range from several years in
    that group to newcomers, age range 15 - 75. The sense was that everyone
    was learning together. Had a great time.
    3)  As relatively new dancers (not total beginners) several of us would
    turn up to dance with an experienced group who welcomed the extra bodies
    (feet?). They gave us experienced partners and got us through amazingly
    complex stuff.
    In all instances, everyone shared good humor, laughter, tolerance of
    whatever level people were dancing at, and enjoyment of the dancing and
    the learning. It may or may not be relevant that NONE of these groups was
    an official RSCDS branch.
            Mimi/Miriam Mueller       San Francisco, CA
  • ...

    Wendy Grubb March 13, 2006, 9:48 p.m. (Message 44690, in reply to message 44689)

    In our class in New Orleans we often have new dancers
    or we have dancers that do not come regularly.  Since
    our class is more social in nature and many dancers
    are not as interested in technique we adjust to having
    beginners fairly easily.  I do find it frustrating
    sometimes when I have to totally throw my lesson out
    if I have too many beginners and not my usual group of
    more experienced dancers.  I have found our group
    welcoming and frequently (although I review the steps)
    I tell the newcomers just to get where they need to be
    skipping or even walking and the rest will come later.
     Our goal is to have fun while learning and get some
    exercise.  Since Katrina, when we restarted our class
    in January we have been averaging 2 sets of dancers
    each week - last week we had 18 which was great.  My
    only wish is for regular attendance so we can move
    forward more easily.  Some of my group only likes to
    dance "old favorites" and some like to try new things.
     I try to have some of each.

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