My Dance Process:
I dance every day. I dance on my own. I dance when I go out. Every week, I dance to prepare for my Dancehall Hip Hop Class, and then I dance in class. I dance in my sleep!
I teach a new choreography weekly for a month and it can be a real challenge. I am not inspired every time I need to come up with new choreography. There is not always a song that “tells me” how to move. Once in awhile, I have to dig really deep and harness all of my energy and ability to bring a dance to life. Most of the time, though, I find a gem of a song that moves me and guides me through choreography so beautifully.
It doesn’t matter if I am inspired or not, the process stays the same:
It finds me a few weeks or a few days before I have to start putting something together. I usually hear it out of the blue; maybe a movie or commercial, a car passing by, or in a restaurant or store. I become obsessed with the song and have to listen to it over and over, which I usually do in the car. I count to it, learn the lyrics, think of moves that will go to the certain beats and words. I listen to that song more times than the person who made it, well I’m guessing… It’s a miracle if I don’t get sick of a song after the first class I teach using it!
It never fails that one move will come to me for that song, and that one move will be the theme for the dance. Whether it’s some kind of kick or jump, I’ll incorporate it into the dance in a few different ways. With the music on, I like to freestyle for a bit to see what happens naturally and see what flows. Transitions are so important. They need to be smooth or it can feel really unnatural and awkward. We tend to get the least amount of time with the last move, typically introduced around the 3rd or 4th week, so it is common for it to incorporate itself into the next dance.
One might guess that I practice in the studio. That would seem to make the most sense, but no, I start out in my kitchen. It’s my comfort zone of dance. I like to watch what my feet are doing in the oven door reflection. As a teenager in dance class, I had a teacher who was also a friend, and we would practice in her tiny apartment bedroom. Feeling more contained at first gives me a sense of stability and grace before I take it to the big dance floor where I can be all over the place.
What to Teach:
I have realized that 5 counts of 8 is the perfect amount to teach in one class and sometimes that’s actually too much. 5 counts of 8 is not a lot, maybe 40 seconds of choreography when it’s all said and done, but that’s the nature of this art. It sure feels like a lot when I am breaking it down to a group!
My Dance Philosophy:
Dancing is an expression of self. We are all unique and we have our own dance style. I invite my students to bring their own flavor into each dance I choreograph once they have the basic moves down. My favorite piece of dance advice that I always like to give: whatever moves you really get and feel good about, bust those out and the rest will come in time.
Why You Should Try It:
I know dance classes can seem intimidating, especially when you see videos on the website or you’ve never done what we do before. Just know that the videos we post are after weeks of practice. No one is ever obligated to be in a video, but we like to share all the fun we are having! Every class is accessible to all levels, that includes first timers. Each class is treated like it’s never been taught before with a warm-up and a thorough breakdown of all the steps. Sometimes the class moves faster than others, but there is always time for questions!
I would love to dance with you! Come join the Dancehall Hip Hop experience, Tuesday nights at 7:00pm!
As Always: Check out our schedule at www.hustleflowstudio.com for class times, workshops, cancellations and changes!
We’ll see you on the dance floor!