Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teaching bellydance, part 2

Resources for New and Aspiring Teachers
If you want to teach, but you're unsure about how to lead a safe warm-up, how to help students avoid injury, how to explain safe alignment, and other such concerns, these resources can help.
If you are a teacher, and you know of a helpful book, website or DVD I haven't included in this list, please let me know in the comments!

Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain
List Price: $29.99
If you are only going to buy one book about exercise science, consider this one. Its companion, Anatomy of Movement: Exercises, includes concrete ways to integrate the concepts into your classes.
This is a clear guide to human anatomy written in layman's terms and heavily illustrated. It's the most helpful book on anatomy I've ever read.

ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual
NOTE: If you buy this book from the Amazon affiliates I've linked to, it will be much cheaper than buying it from ACE themselves.
This is a comprehensive guide to leading group fitness classes. Were you planning to teach an aerobics class, everything in this book would apply to your goals one hundred percent. Of course, you're not; you're planning to teach a dance class. It's still extremely helpful, but not everything in the book will really apply to your needs. (You probably don't need to know how to lead a class in freezing temperatures, for example.)
It's a large book, and not particularly fun or interesting to read, but it has a lot of very important information that you might not get anywhere else. Topics covered include the biology of exercise, how to lead a warm-up and cool-down, safe stretches for different kinds of exercise, and how to accommodate students with different health issues including pregnancy.

Belly Dancing for Fitness by Tamalyn Dallal
List Price: $14.95
This book is written and marketed as a self-instruction manual for students who want to learn bellydance at home. However, it would still be helpful for anyone who wants to teach beginner classes and is unsure where to start vis a vis lesson planning.

Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation by Anita Boser
List Price: $24.95
This book is more than what it looks like. The first two chapters provide a fairly comprehensive framework for working with students who are out of shape or in chronic pain. Moreover, it includes a lot of wisdom about spinal alignment, learning to relax, and overcoming stiffness and mobility issues. The rest of the book is dedicated to a series of exercises that work well as light, enjoyable conditioning to help students increase their range of motion and warm up their bodies for class. It's easy to read and many of the exercises are illustrated.

Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery by Eric Franklin
List Price: $30.95
This book is almost the opposite of the ACE manual; it's a treasure trove of information about teaching dance, but not all of it applies to teaching bellydance. However, it's still extremely helpful, especially as a resource for teaching intermediate and advanced students. It's heavily illustrated and includes a ton of exercises to help students increase their body awareness and make their movements clearer and stronger through visualization techniques.

Together with lots of dance experience, these five books would provide a comprehensive basis for any new (or experienced) bellydance instructor.

While you're in research mode, don't neglect to learn about the history and culture of the dance form you're teaching. These two books are a great place to start:
Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism and Harem Fantasy by Anthony Shay and Barbara Sellers-Young
A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt by Karin van Nieuwkerk

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the list of resources. I learned so much from the last 2 books you listed. They changed the way I approached dance. Thanks also to your own inspiration as a great teacher.