My new YouTube obsession is male belly dancers. I’m fascinated by the way they move and how these men are able to take a dance that can be quite feminine, and make it look very masculine. What brought on this new obsession? You all should know by now that I absolutely love teaching kids Middle Eastern dance. These kids never stop amazing me and are full of surprises. Some can be challenging, but I’m open to whatever surprise is given to me, including when boys attend my classes.
For a long time I had only taught girls, so it never occurred to me that boys might be interested in my class. Asada Belly Dance classes are called Kids Belly Dance, or Kids Middle Eastern Dance. I’ve never said anything about girls only, but I was not prepared for the two 7 year old boys who decided to take my class not so long ago.
I teach at Creative Dance Academy, a dance studio in Kissimmee, FL that is also an after school program. The kids are picked up from school, they get help with homework, and depending on the day of the week they take the designated dance genre that their parents sign them up for. We do have a handful of boys enrolled in the program, but naturally they gravitate towards Hip Hop. They do watch my class through the window though when they hear the girls having fun. So I don’t need to explain that they have become uplifting spectators.
About six weeks ago I walked in to start my class as usual. I made a LOUD announcement that those who were not taking the class needed to step out and go do homework. The boys asked to stay because my class looked like fun. Wait! What? Not only was I honored they wanted to stay but I was confused. I honestly did not know what to do.
My kids class is very age appropriate. We do lots of basics and I stay away from movements that are sensual. So a boy could learn these moves, but I really want to be able to teach them the proper ways in which a male Middle Eastern dancer approaches the dance. This is something that I was not prepared for at that moment. The very first thing I did was email an amazing male dancer who is quite popular in South Florida. He offered some wonderful advice, and now I have a lot of exciting homework to do. For now, I have been sticking to the basics, and introduced the cane. I don’t want to teach only “girls” or only “boys”. I need to find a way to incorporate both so that I’m not wasting 60 minutes on just basics.
I’m excited about this opportunity, and am anxious to see how this turns out. I studied for ten years but now that I’m teaching, I’m no longer learning. These two boys have inspired me to continue my own dance education. Thank you!
Have you ever had to teach something or someone who was outside of your element? I would love to hear about it.