Gettin' schooled in hip-hop
Mar 03, 2013 (Herald-Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Most of us probably have a list or two -- things to do, bucket list, groceries needed.
Over the years, we add and subtract things from that list hoping that we can accomplish the really important ones before it's too late.
So when I read about a class that would help you add hip-hop dance moves to your freestyle dance repertoire, I signed up.
For five weeks (the course was six weeks long but I was sick on week two), I tried to pop and lock, robot, walk it out and glide and slide.
The first class didn't seem too difficult as it taught the basics of pop and lock with a little bit of robot moves thrown in for good measure. But the biggest problem was watching myself in the mirror.
While Arthur Murray dance instructor James Michael demonstrated the dance moves in his suave, debonair way, my image reflected in the mirror was awkward. It was easy to see how parents cause their children's eyes to roll with embarrassment. Who would ever think to take this class and write a story about the experience complete with pictures
The third class was catch-up time as the previous class covered how to glide and slide. For those of you unfamiliar with popular dance, it's that seamless way that performers such as Usher move around the stage. For the record, I'm no Usher. In fact, an usher at the theater probably could do better than I did.
I struggled mightily to get my feet to move the right way, and I began to worry that I would never get it. But as with any new skill, I had to remember to practice. But the old adage that "practice makes perfect" was replaced by the memories of the man who taught theater at my high school who said "Practice makes permanent" which means you have to practice it the right way to get it right.
Watching YouTube videos helped to provide examples of the dance to properly practice. Then, I put on my slickest shoes and tried sliding across my kitchen floor. Soon the moves started to make sense.
During the fourth class, Michael was clear about his objective for the class. "I'd rather you learn how to do one or two things well than know a bunch of moves you can't do," he said. So the remaining classes were focused on improving the moves.
Learning something new is a reminder that practice is important.
I demonstrated my tenuous skill to my husband and daughters.
"That looks cool, Mom," was enough of an endorsement from my 13-year-old daughter to encourage me.
It wasn't easy. After one night of practice, I spent the next day hobbling around the newsroom as I'd obviously used some leg muscle that had never heard of me before then. When asked to explain my injury, most people chuckled over my revelation that hip-hop dancing was to blame.
And as with any teacher/student relationship, the best teachers bring the best out in their students. James Michael showed true joy when the students successfully learned a new move. High fives, words of encouragement, patience and repeated demonstrations were enough to keep the class trying and hopeful that at some point we'd have a vague idea of what we were doing.
Not everything was difficult. I learned to "walk it out" pretty quickly. And my robot wasn't too bad either.
Will we ever get a chance to use our newly acquired moves Maybe. Maybe not.
In the end, it doesn't matter. The class offered us a chance to add some new moves, and we did that. It may not come in handy very often, but if you see me headed to a dance floor, look out!
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