Sunday, October 23, 2011

Staying Creative: Not Forcing It

{Started this Sunday and...just finished. I'm really sorry guys. This week has been crazy. I'd like to say I'll get caught up and fill you in later today, but honestly, I'm not sure I'll be able to post until Sunday. This weekend is gonna be full.}

It's kind of ironic and awesome that Sunday was Don't Force It. It's even more ironic that I forgot to look at Pandora and so I didn't know that. Yesterday was the Shock Dance Convention, and it was probably the #1 place I've ever been to Not Force It.

The Convention...was totally not what I expected. I was picturing me with a schedule in one hand and map in the other, totally stressed out trying to figure out where the heckI was supposed to go next, getting everywhere late and having to jump into workouts that I couldn't do before being singled out for not getting something wrong while dodging bitches in booty shorts telling me to go back where I belong and stop messing with the REAL dancers.

God only knows why I was still really excited for the thing...

It wasn't like that at all. We stayed in the same massive room the whole time; our teachers were the ones who changed rooms. And WOW, did we ever have teachers. I'm still kind of in shock {lol} that I got to breathe the same air as these people for a little while.

Ryan Cyphert: {Hip hop} Well known for his innovative and explosive style of hip-hop choreography, Ryan perfected his skills in Phoenix, Arizona. He appeared on Star Search ‘93 and performed with Boyz II Men, Kid N Play, Salt N Pepa and others. Ryan has worked for NBC, ABC, and choreographed a number of videos and commercials.

He was the first teacher we had. He taught us hip hop, which was insanely fun. He's a great teacher. He was extremely laid back, telling us that the important thing was to feel the music and have fun. He told us about how he was a TERRIBLE dancer at age 15 when he somehow went to a dance convention and everything changed for him. He was patient and cool and funny and personal.

The hip hop dance, however, completely blew my mind. I did not think catching on to moves that fast THAT FAST was even possible. But here's the thing, guys:

Everyone else could.

Not the people I went with, but literally everyone else in the room. My friends and I were the worst dancers there. And I'm being completely honest. Do not give me any of this "You're your own worst critic" bull. We were the worst, and I am fine with that. We're still good. It's just that the other dancers there were INCREDIBLE. 50% I think could go on and win So You Think You Can Dance. The other 50% were just better than we were.

Matt Boyce: {Tap} Born and raised in New Jersey, Matt has studied and performed the art of tap dancing mentored by Mike Minery since the early age of ten. Matt made his first debut into the professional industry at the age of twelve when he became the youngest ever principal dancer for the New Jersey Tap Ensemble

God, I hated him. He was not a good teacher. He wouldn't slow down for anyone, wouldn't explain things, and his idea of "slower" is...well, not slower. There were also 70 other people in the room and I was near the back, so I couldn't SEE HIM.

When you can't SEE a tap teacher, and he doesn't TELL you what he's doing, and he won't SLOW DOWN, how the hell are you supposed to DO it?!

*clears throat and takes deep breaths*

Sorry. It's just that...I'm good at tap. Like, really I'm very good at tap. It's probably the one class I could have been really phenomenal at...if I could have seen the son of a jackal.

Gustavo Vargas {Latin}: Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Gustavo has worked with Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, Usher, Pink, Mya, Alicia Keys, Paulina Rubio, Roselyn Sanchez, Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, N'Sync, Jessica Simpson, and Eva Longoria. His TV credits are Dancing With The Stars, Bruno and Carrie Ann’s Dance Wars, the America’s Best Dance Crew intro, Eve, 7th Heaven, Drew Carey, Boston Public, AMAs, Grammys, Janet Jackson MTV-Icon and Strong Medicine. Movies include The Bachelor, Be Cool, Dirty Dancing II-Havana Nights, Spanglish, Master of Disguise, Along Came Polly, Jackass II, Rent, and Indiana Jones. Known for his partnering skills, Gustavo is technically trained and teaches all styles of dance.

He was so fun. I loved him. From him we learned the Samba {the REAL Samba, not "ballroom Samba," which, according to him, doesn't even exist. Samba came from the street and it's something you have to feel.}.

The steps were so freakin' fast and so nearly the same that I was lost half the time, but he stressed the value of having fun with it. He said the only really important thing was to be natural and feel the music.

It was also fun because the guys had a different part than the girls, so we got to watch them separately some of the time.

With dancing guys, there's a fine line between gay and hott. But when you can find the hott side...damn.

Melody Lacayanga: {Jazz} Originally from Daly City, Ca, Melody trained in classical and contemporary ballet, modern jazz, blues and Afro-Haitian at the School of the Arts. Melody was the top female dancer on season one of the hit FOX TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance” and has since traveled the world as a performer and artist.

She was pretty cool. By this time, we'd already done 3 hours of intense dancing and were starting to get a little burnt out. And hungry. And the way Melody said "Yes, guys?" after every sentence was a litttttle annoying.

The combination was insanely difficult, but I could kind of do it. It's hard for me to do multiple turns in general though, especially on carpet, so I fell behind a lot on those.

After lunch we had...

Nick Bass: {Hip hop} He has worked with Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Ciara, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Omarion, Nelly Furtado, Kylie Minogue, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, Prince, Boa, Madonna and many others. Nick has performed at the Grammy Awards, VMAs, AMAs, BETs, Soul Train Awards, and Dove Awards. He has also performed with artists on Saturday Night Live, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, TRL, The View, Good Morning America, Jay Leno, and Regis and Kelly.

Nick was the best teacher we had all day. His dance was fun and went with the music. He went over things again and again until we all got it. When it looked like our brains were going into overload, he said, "We're gonna stop there today and have fun with what we've already learned."

Where some of the other choreographers were all about finishing THEIR dance because it was just that awesome and we lowly students would just have to either get it or get out, Nick seemed interested in us as people. He was just a really patient guy and good at explaining things. I feel like I took away a lot of good stuff from him.

Then a lady named Tina that I did not like taught us lyrical. My brain just doesn't do lyrical. It's just doesn't make sense to me. The way she counted off... "A one....twothree....four.....five....sixseveneight." I never could get with her groove XD

Then we had Hannah Wintrode who was INSANELY AMAZING. Great teacher, INCREDIBLE dancer. Like. Oh my gosh. Click HERE for a video of her doing the exact dance we learned {we stopped learning after like a minute or so in though. Also, there's a part where the dancers are suddenly all in lingerie. Didn't learn that, wasn't aware it was there. I apologize XD}

Then we had...Merissa Gassel. She was good, I think, but by this time, I was completely wiped out. All I could do was fuzzily copy her movements, couldn't really commit anything more to memory XD

I left the convention feeling odd. I felt good, but also a little let down because there hadn't been a single dance that I had completely gotten. I felt like I hadn't actually gotten much out of the day, besides being disillusioned as to how good my friends and I are.

But then at dance last night, and I felt different. I could do all our dances twice as well as normal, and when we stretched, I could go much farther than usual. I felt more confident the whole class.

So maybe I did get something out of the day :)



  1. Could even professional dancers learn what, six new dances in one day? The last two paragraphs are what I was waiting for, I think you learned more than you realized :)

  2. Jay: I guess you're right XD I think I did take something pretty big away after all!