Level 1 Review and Preperation Workshop
The Review and Preperation Workshop ("Review") tests the same skills as the actual test, and you get the same score card with pass/fail information plus comments. The Review is conducted in a much more informal setting, with the biggest difference being that Schadia will give you immediate feedback and when possible tell you how to fix any mistakes right away. The Review is tremendously helpful, because it gives you time to fix things, i.e. you can use the technique DVDs and/or schedule private classes to work on the moves you need more help with, or to work on a choreography if you don't have all the steps down as needed.
Comments by Participants after the Workshop:
Troupe member ZB:
[The review] was very helpful for me. [Schadia’s] comments were clear in explaining on how to make the moves correctly. I've learned some technical things about certain moves that I knew I had problems with and that now I know how to fix them. It's like you took a closer look at my techniques and outlined what I need to work on and what my weak /strong areas were. I felt supported and encouraged by [Schadia]. Overall, it was super useful for me and now I know what I need to work on to become better in my techniques. I'm grateful for that!!!
The three hour review consisted of Schadia taking notes and critiquing the students on both Level One dances as well as the Level One technique in preparation for the upcoming test. There were about 15 students in the workshop.
The class began with a warm up followed by running Desert Dreams about three times to get it fresh in our minds before being observed and critiqued. Since I didn't get any feedback, I thought - oh . . . I must be doing everything right - which boosted my confidence. After all, I've been coming to class approximately three hours a week for eighteen months - I should have these basic moves down by now - right?
After we finished Desert Dreams we ran through the All Abs Drum Solo. Again, Schadia provided valuable feedback to several of the students. And again I thought -I've got this down.
Next, we practiced the Level One technique. We ran through all the moves and ended with the camels and reverse camels. We did the moves without a teacher to watch, facing away from the mirror and rotated the back and front rows - giving everyone a chance to experience how it would feel doing these dance moves in conditions similar to the testing conditions. Drilling facing away from the mirror with no one to watch made me realize that my ability to count music and keep time is not as good as I sometimes think it is. I now know that I have to work on timing and the ability to count music - as both are essential skills needed for the test.
What made this experience so valuable to me is the feedback I received. For example, I learned from Schadia that I need to improve my chest slides as didn't realize I was both slouching and hitting the sides too hard. I also learned my camels were off. I'm thinking these camels feel great therefore I must look good. Wrong, I found out - my head was moving, my arms and shoulders were all over the place and I wasn't keeping my lower body isolated. After getting this coaching, I now know where I most need to focus my attention to improve my technique for the Level One Certification Test.
Regardless of whether or not I pass this test I believe the process will greatly improve my dancing abilities. And after all dancing is what it's all about.
I think the review was extremely helpful. It was good that we went through each move and [Schadia] critiqued it that way so that you could give us feedback on moves that we may have thought we were doing correctly or little things we may not have noticed before. I think preparing for the test has made me more cognizant of certain moves because it makes me think more when I'm practicing and pay more attention to the moves. It makes a huge difference when its broken down as opposed to when we're learning and performing the choreography because it's easier to learn and memorize the moves but to know that you're doing them correctly feels much better.
I'm not sure how long all of the other testers have been belly dancing or what their dance goals are long term, but I think if any of them are serious about belly dancing and neon committed to it, not just a fly by night hobby, that review was very helpful. The only thing would be if it were a 2 part review, or 2 day one possibly for upper body or lower body because I think after a while I could see some frustration in some of the students because of the 5 hour time [end of workshop], most likely because there were so many of us. That's a great thing of course but it lengthened the time. Maybe an upper body and separate lower body, like 2 hours each? Then students can go to the one they would like to concentrate more on or both of needed and you can actually critique or emphasize certain moves for questions. Overall though, I think it was very helpful, for me at least. I know my hip drop kicks on my left side are my weak side and to practice more, but also the reverse camels, etc. the critiques just made me practice more since Sunday. I probably look crazy at work but oh well .