Viva: new year’s resolution #1: take more dance classes. it’s good for my soul
Sad but true: I haven’t been to a dance class since last year. My excuses are freelancing, commuting, and carpool scheduling. But the point is I haven’t been making the time or the studio trips. I took my stiff old self to three classes in the last couple of months that I need to remember my first reactions to.
De La Femme Femmes Fatale company class with Buddha Stretch – Honestly, Buddha Stretch’s choreography was not my cup of tea. It seemed like he threw a lot of stuff together, like he wasn’t entirely invested in the class. The other downside was the sheer number of people who turned out for the evening – There was no room for personal attention, barely enough to see yourself in the mirror. Of course this is a beautiful predicament for DLF, but when you’re this close to being scared into playing the wallflower, you kind of hope for a break where you can actually develop.
His passion for dance really showed, though, when he got into the history of hip-hop and that call to move that music puts on dancers. “If you’re not feelin’ anything, you should just sit still,” he said, talking about that urge. I could get down with that. I had to reemember that Buddha’s was the first class I had been to in ages, and I could have just been inhibiting myself from completely feeling it and easily falling into the choreography because I’m just that rusty. I did get the choreography down, but I wasn’t able to own it.
At the end of the night, though, I was just really happy that Keylos and I made the trek. I was sore the next day. It was much needed.
House with Tsunami – House is not my forte. I think it is tons of fun to improvise and freestyle. It’s one of my favorite types of music to throw on when I’m working. However, I cannot do house choreography well. I can do it, but I feel awkward and not as adept at switching between heavy and light as I feel I should.
Tsunami is a great teacher, though, and she opens her class with background on the history of house. She surprised me when she shared with us that she started out as a studio dancer – tap, jazz, ballet, backup dancer, etc. – but that she eventually discovered house was her calling. Her eyes lit up as she talked about house originating on the streets of Chicago. Her movement is so fluid and enjoyable to watch that it’s almost a paradox imagining her performing other styles. On the one hand, she’s so good at house it seems like she couldn’t master anything else. On the other hand, she’s just so good at the versatility within house that it seems natural she’d be able to swap genres at the flip of a switch.
Gritty sexy with Allan “Big Poppa” Frias – A class with “Big Poppa” is too much fun. Oh my god, it was such a reminder of those days when I first realized that I was born too late and should have been a Fly Girl. A youngsters’ class with Big Poppa, though? SO INAPPROPRIATE. Haha. This guy’s choreo for the ’09 San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Fest caused Micaya to append a disclaimer before Mind Over Matter’s performance at the family show.
He taught the Int/Advanced class Keke Palmer’s “Superjerkin’,” and it had so many hair whips I thought I wasn’t going be able to switch lanes on the drive home. My entire body was sore for about two days straight. It was everything I expected from Allan, lots of booty and swang that made me just wanna purse my lips and get into a catfight.
Maybe one day I will. Again.
2010 is now two days under way, and after this initial week of getting into the groove of a new job, I’m pledging to myself to get into the groove of grooving again. Khamai, here we come!
Editor’s Note: I have this theory that fabulous gay men are more in tune with what makes women feminine, and thus that is why they often come up with the best, sassiest choreography for girls.