Nataša Kočar

My path and my vision of it

Love for teaching

I will start with one of my favourite quotes from Bertrand Russell:
“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.”
Bertrand Russell

How does one decide to become a teacher? For me it was quite spontaneous. After I finished high school, I started to study two of my favourite subjects, geography and sociology. The chosen study programme included all pedagogical subjects one needs to finish in order to become a teacher and I can say I liked those fields very much.

My first teaching experience was part of the educational process at university and I liked it a lot. Soon after I completed my university degree, I got a job, teaching teenagers with behavioural problems. This part of my teaching career ended quite quickly. Later, I taught children in primary school for a year and then I started teaching adults. Teaching adults was the right thing for me and since then I have dedicated my career to this direction.

I have been dancing since childhood and I always wanted to become a dancer and a dance teacher. When I was a teenager, I taught dance to children from our neighbourhood, together with my friend. That was fun!
I was just finishing my university degree, when I first started Oriental dance classes. After that, this dance, together with its culture, took me in, immediately and completely. I slowly started to share my love for non-stop learning and reading and absorbed anything and everything connected to oriental dance in any way.

After sixteen years of being an oriental dance teacher for women, I developed my own style of teaching methods, that have proved themselves time and time again. In our dance company, where we have our dance school, some of my long-term students have taken on my enthusiasm and become great dancers and teachers themselves.

A strong will for lifelong learning

“Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.”

In my opinion, the best teachers are those who possess a broadness of mind as well as displaying excellence in their field.
A good teacher does not finish his or her education upon obtaining a university degree, certificate or having completed some kind of seminar. It is someone who is eager to learn all the time, widening their field of knowledge and having no fear for new things, things unknown or competition. Actually, quite the opposite. A good teacher takes all of this as a challenge, and as inspiration.

I have always been inspired by books and articles about Oriental dance and the culture behind it. I visit workshops, seminars, and am constantly aware of new things that are happening in this fast and dynamic field of dance evolution. Besides that, I ‘charge my batteries’ with culture (theatre, art cinema, exhibitions, and concerts). As a geographer and sociologist, I like to follow our constantly changing planet and society.

There is one more aspect we have to be aware of: the physical part of our work. Dance calls for body movement and that´s why it is very important that dance teachers care about their physical well-being. Our body is our tool and if we care about it in the way we should, it will serve us well for the rest of our lives.

Inspiring students

“A mediocre teacher tells. A good teacher explains. A superior teacher demonstrates. A great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward

Great teachers are an inspiration to their students. They encourage them to grow. I respect and value all my students, regardless of how many years they have been studying with me and I appreciate all their years of trust in my teaching and my work.
I deal with new challenges and am inspired all the time, researching and creating. When something new inspires me, I share it with my students. In a way, that it becomes their inspiration as well.

I read a quote from some Japanese Zen masters: “When a student outgrows his teacher, the teacher becomes a master.” Can there be a greater honour than becoming a master? “No.” I encourage my students to create their own dance art, and I teach them to become teachers themselves. For instance, I already have some excellent students who can teach when I can’t and who are able to create new dance productions with me.

“It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others”
Mark Twain

nataša kočar oriental dance teacher