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Now I’m Dreaming It

General Skills Modern Certification, April 2013
General Skills Modern Certification, April 2013

I’ve started participating in an informal bellydance practice within the SCA context as a “guest lecturer series” introducing my SCA friends to ATS® in pure FCBD style. The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) has a long history of artistic classes in a “you research, you teach your friends” style for decades. This gives me a fantastic opportunity to “practice how to teach” with close friends of mine in a safe setting. They’ve been meeting weekly for years to share various bellydance styles with one another, and a couple of them have always been interested in my studies over the past several years. It’s been a great opportunity for me to offer something to my friends, give me a reason to develop my own handouts, and give me the hands-on chance to put into practice all my studies for the past three years.

As a result, now I’m dreaming about teaching classes. Hours and hours of my morning brain were swirling with classes in the park and an amazing set of women, all having fun together dancing. I couldn’t be happier.

Back to Training and Running

running

Last year in the spring, a friend of mine ran her first marathon. I was really moved by the effort and vowed I would do the same. A year went by and she ran her second marathon and I was fairly stunned that a year had gone by. In the first year (of my non-training) I’d managed to start making better records of all the walking miles I’d been doing daily. This spring I double-downed and decided that I would start actually running this year.

I’ve written about this somewhere else, but my main idea was to break down a year of preparation into bite-sized pieces. If a marathon course might take me six hours of running, and I could take twelve months to prepare, then in six months I would need to be capable of running for three hours, in three months I’d need to be up to 90 minutes of running, in only one month I should be up to running for thirty minutes. This all averages out that I should be able to run one more minute today than the day before.

So I did that. I started running just a minute at a time, or a minute more than the day before, or each running portion of the day should be slightly longer than the longest running portion of the day before. Here’s what happened.

Day 1: 2 minutes; day 2 – 3.5 minutes; day 3 – 5.5 min; day 5 – 9 min; day 7 – 12.75 min; day 8 – 16 min; day 9 – 29 min; day 12 – 40 min; day 13 – 54 min.

Well that went faster than I’d expected. I ran no more than 3-days in a row, and those last two days included no walking at all. I had switched from intervals of jogging / walking and tried my local route with no walking. And on that last day, I’d completely stopped paying attention to the clock or my mileage and just ran until I was ready to stop.

I’m still stunned by that. In two weeks of training, I went from 2 minutes of running and interspersing running with walking intervals to running for 54 minutes without stopping. Apparently I was in better shape than I thought.

But because I had two major dance weeks ahead of me in April and May (General Skills certification training in ATS® and then Tribal Fest), I put running training on hold. I didn’t want to risk either injury or being too exhausted to do my very best in class or performance. But now I’ve been home for two weeks and, having finally caught up on my fitness records, noticed a distinct lack of training on my spreadsheet. So today I went out for just a small jog, light hills, just a quick 9 minute trip outside. It felt wonderful.

I may have to break up my training into bite-sized pieces to fit into my daily schedule (10 minutes here, 20 minutes there), but to be back on track I should be up to 79-minutes of running today. I last left off two months ago at the 54 minute mark. I should be on track in two weeks.

I love these pursuits. First marathon: Here I come. There are 275 days left until the LA Marathon.

More Preparedness

study_laptop

Making the transition from full-time student to part-time teacher is requiring more preparation time. Last night, I spent some time re-sorting all my workout clothing, my performance clothing, my performance jewelry, my dance shoes, and my workout bags. I’ve rounded up all my notebooks from various classes for the past three years, and poised them next to me on my desk with all the intention to start digitizing my notes. I use a cross-platform system called Evernote so that I can make notes on my phone, laptop, or tablet at anytime. I also tend to format my notes in Word or Excel when I need a printed version on occasion.

I’ve been collecting various teaching syllabus notes from different websites and teachers over the years. Now I’m in the place where I can start creating my favorite teaching syllabus, just those small tweaks for how to fit the material to my various students, teaching environments, and calendar constraints.

I always knew teachers worked hard. And I’ve always put efforts into my training materials for various textile classes I’ve presented over the years. But some days I can hardly believe I’m in this place already: Implementing my ideas and notes over the years.

I’ve often pictured in my head having a teacher log book that keeps track of which elements various students have learned so far. I now have a draft for my student records, and only by using it will I be able to figure out whether it has all the features I need. I also have been dreaming of a workbook / handouts for various courses and individual classes. I need to start working on those, based on the various personal study aids I created for myself over the past three years. And then I’ve been thinking about how to present this material as an *option* that isn’t mandatory. I don’t want students who are *not* paperwork-oriented in their learning style to be intimidated by my study guides.

What a joyful stage this is for me, chewing on my ideas and implementing my solutions. I’m entirely in my element right now.

Post-first-class Success

I think that the post made mere minutes after I left my student’s house sums up the awesome that was last night.

Brilliant, flashing movements. Bells and drums. Cats fascinated by human-sized cat toys. Isolations of body parts, while coming together in unity. Meditation of the body, exercise of the mind. #BellyDancing with Cat Ellen was a revelation. Thank you, my sister.

I could not be more pleased at my first run at a first lesson. I felt prepared (with the exception of having not packed my iPod speakers). I felt strong in my technique and my articulation skills. And I felt so much gratitude that my approach to dance was met with so much enthusiasm.

I’m on the right path. This brings me so much relief.

Making the Transition

One of my favorite drawings, a gift given to me by Lynn (@cavalaxis) from foulbitten.com
One of my favorite drawings, a gift given to me by Lynn (@cavalaxis) from foulbitten.com

Tonight is a major transition for me. It’s the first night that I am officially going to someone’s home to teach them ATS®. Since the first hour of the first class of the first level, I knew I wanted to teach this dance form. But now I’m just a few minutes from getting into my car and driving to the appointment. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m nervous. But then again, I’ve been working non-stop for three years to get here. Just a month or two ago, my regularly weekly schedule included class or rehearsal four nights per week, 10.5 hours of dance per week. In April, I spent 20-hours over four days in an intensive workshop earning my General Skills (GS) certification from Carolena Nericcio. In May, I went to Tribal Fest for the third time, spending 16 hours in another 8 classes.

But it’s here. My first day preparing to teach. I can only hope that I do all my teachers proud, to arrive prepared, to teach with care and compassion and skill and good technique, and share this passion and love I have for this dance and this community.

Here we go.