10.00 am – Zumba, taught by me @ Flushing YMCA
6.00 pm – Lila, taught by Oscar Trujillo @ Studio Anya
7.30 pm – Elisa Monte and Jennifer Muller @ New York Live Arts Academy
Yesterday, the first day of NYC Dance Week, was the trifector for me – being a teacher, being a student, being an observer. And now writing about it. A dream day in a dancer’s world. The only thing that could have topped it off for me was if I was choreographing as well. Although, I’m coming to see that all of life is a work in choreography. An artist is always in the process of creating work just by observing life and storing images and memories in preparation for the next great moment of creative expression.
My festival activities for Day 1….
Admittedly, the Zumba class I taught at the YMCA today was not a part of the festival. Just my regular (awesome) Thursday morning class and my favorite group of crazy Zumba lovers who have been with me since the beginning of my Zumba journey. I always get a thrill out of teaching this class. The energy is super high and sweat is pouring. We eat up the moves together. Today I introduced three new choreos (songs) for only the second time. We have something new to gnash our teeth on for while.
Then I headed downtown to try a class called Lila (pronounced “leela”) at Studio Anya in Chelsea taught by Oscar Trujillo. Inspired by a Hindu concept meaning sacred play or cosmic dance, Lila combines ballet barre, modern dance, vinyasa yoga, pilates and tai chi. I had to try it to believe. And yes, the experience is true to it’s word. Of course, there is only so much one can do in a 60 minute class. My guess is, if one keep’s coming back, you would likely see more of these different styles and techniques woven in, probably leaning more towards one style or another depending on the day. It was a fascinating experience. My body is thoroughly confused and thankful for it.
My thrilling day got even more exciting as I accompanied the fabulous Christine Jowers of The Dance Enthusiast to see Elisa Monte and Jennifer Muller at New York Live Arts. The new work by Muller, GRASS, was one of the more memorable works for me of the evening. Performed on actual ‘grass’ turf lining the stage floor, to a live cello soloist, the piece is a whirling winding story of couples and threesomes and individuals, in a constant flow of breaking and remaking. There are many singular moments that stand out, but the overall message that I received is that humans can come together and make something beautiful. And this beauty is in the wholeness as much as it is in the cracks. Watching this piece was an experience in wabi-sabi.
In my cruising around on the web for info related to NYC Dance Week, I found the following tool that maybe be helpful for you as you are taking classes. It’s a website by FitEngine that gives reviews on a bunch of classes, many of which are offered for free during this festival. It can be helpful as a kind of ‘know before you go’ service http://www.fitengine.com/work-out-reviews/.
All my best. And until tomorrow, let the rhythm get ya!