7.00 – 10.00 pm – Community Class, taught by H+ Crew @ Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory
When you walk into a hip-hop dance class, the last thing one would expect to be doing are Chinese meditation exercises. But this is in fact the way the three hour class began last night, and what a treat it was. Led by Principal Dancer, Sara Ahn, participants were instructed to extend their arms out to both sides of their body like a ‘T’, keeping them at shoulder height with both wrists flexed up for an unspecified amount of time (turned out to be about 10 minutes!). The goal is to strengthen the mind body connection. What does your mind do when your body signals to it that the arms hurt? Or when they begin to feel like lead weights? Sara suggests that these moments are gifts. They are opportunities to reassert your mind’s power over your body, to allow it to try something new and grow. This was the spirit and intention carried throughout the class.
What a breath of fresh air that was. This message reached right in and released a pressure valve for me. As a dancer — actually, as a human, I sometimes get caught up in ‘am I doing it right?,’ ‘what if I look foolish?,’ and ‘everybody here knows something I don’t.’ Instead, Resident Choreographer Raphaela Riemer, encouraged us to keep moving no matter what, and to try something new and grow, with her bad ass b-girl styling and liquid flow. When I grow up in hip-hop, I wanna be dope like her!
Then… Woom! Wam! Wam woom! Boom kack! Diggie diggie dah dah! These were the sounds of the choreography learning segment, otherwise known as ‘videography.’ Artistic Director, Safi Thomas, advised the class that the best way to remember choreography is by assigning value to each move or phrase. ‘You remember the things that are important to you,’ he asserts. The organic rhythmic sounds coming from the H+ dancers as they rehearsed and showed us the steps definitely made each move feel memorable and important. Soon the whole room was singing along with enthusiasm. All in all, the H+ experience was enlightening, invigorating and inviting, a whole lot more than I bargained for, a true community.
*Photos courtesy of AK47 Division