“These are not the classes you are looking for.” A hand waved in front of my face in an attempt to erase my memory. “No!” I insisted, “I had plans to dance with Kite and Gucchon!” “…These are not the classes you are looking for.” Hand wave. “Dammit! Stop waving at me!” Japan frowned and looked at its hands, puzzled. Japan’s forehead wrinkles got deeper and more numerous with increased concentration as its stance widened. Some serious shit was about to happen. Its hands were glowing now, fingers curled and aiming at me. “HAAAAAAAAA!” Japan screamed at the top of its lungs as it formed a house-shaped ball of light and hurled it at my chest. “OUCH! WTF?” The little house fell to to floor and settled at my feet. I picked it up, and as I brought it nearer to my face for inspection I felt compelled to take a bite of it. My eyes glazed over and my mouth went slack. “It tastes amaaaaaaazing…”
Obviously you can see that I’m nutty about hip hop dance styles. When I started belly dancing eleven years ago I was the same brand of nutty, I just hadn’t been blogging back then. I owe belly dance, my instructors, and my fellow belly dancers some props.
There are an infinite number of ways to move your body and Camo Wagner knows all of them. Ask him a question about how to do a particular move and you’ll get a Bubba-Blue-from-Forrest-Gump style answer that will leave you dizzy. “Anyway, like I was sayin’, you can do this movement right here. You can wave it, pop it, bounce it, freeze it, dime stop it. There’s uh, threading, tutting, squidding. Finger waves, snake style, cobra style. There’s pineapple movement, lemon movement, coconut movement, pepper movement, movement soup, movement stew, movement salad, movement and potatoes, movement burger, movement sandwich. That- that’s about it. No wait… you can… ” I am in the presence of a movement lexicon.
I have a lot of catching up to do. A lot. Like… lots. Up until now my musical preferences rotated between Buck Tick (a Japanese band from the 80’s with a hot lead singer), my favorite band: The Beastie Boys, low-fi chillout music, 80’s wave, EDM (electronic dance music), some belly dance music sprinkled in there, and audio books. Audio books usually take precedence over music. OH! Plus I really really like silence.
It didn’t take long into my new obsession to hurt myself. You see, my Ego and my Brain, we feel like we’re 25 and that there’s no reason why we can’t go from laying on the couch playing video games for hours to suddenly performing acrobatic feats like the rest of the dancers. My Body has conflicting ideas, however, and keeps getting in the way of my goals.
If there were ever a phrase that I have uttered that carries with it a gravity stronger than earth’s pull on your water-filled bodies, it is this one: I absolutely freaking love dance battles. From time to time I will find myself drifting subconsciously to a video of one on the internet and then, well, there goes half of my day as I start researching a dancer that I liked so that I can watch more videos of that dancer only to lead me to yet another dancer…
I don’t know how I wound up in an advanced hip hop class with Kevin when I’d never taken beginning or intermediate hip hop. Let me tell you – it’s as intimidating now as it was on the first day but I’ve accepted that as a brand new baby hip hop dancer it’s natural to be several steps behind. It’s pretty frustrating starting out in any new hobby when your brain understands the task at hand but your body glitches out. I was anxious about it in the first few classes but now I no longer punish myself for not being able to keep up. I have goals and I will get there eventually.
Day 2: I have successfully infiltrated my urban dance classes and eliminated their suspicions. My college-aged peers smile at me when I use their language and seem very receptive. At the beginning of class I remarked to one girl, “Yo, chillin’ home fresh cool breeze, those moves be fly. Word to ya mutha.” The mix of emotion on her face was truly something to behold. It went from surprise to confusion to a struggle to hold in a smile. My compliment made her feel joy! It was beautiful. When it came time to show off my moves I left the room speechless with my cabbage patch. My high school-aged peers acted as if they were seeing this dance for the first time. Nailed it! They will never guess that I am twice or in some cases even three times their age. Will continue to share intel with you as I learn their secrets.
I am excited. I’ve been excruciatingly excited since November. When I found out about the classes offered at two dance studios in Plano, not only did I crawl all over their websites, I typed the names of all of the instructors into youtube and watched videos for hours. Hours! On the Wednesday following my inaugural dance battle (as a spectator) in downtown Plano I had a meeting that would put me only seven minutes away from the studios. I decided that I should check them out and make sure I knew where they were since I was planning to take my first classes on Thursday.
The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is today. That’s what I keep telling myself when I have doubts about my new hobby. You see, I’ve started hip hop dancing and I’m jumping in with evangelical fervor. I’ve stopped counting how many complete strangers I’ve run off when I approach them with the crazy eyes and accost their general area with, “HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT HIP HOP DANCING AND ALL OF THE DANCES THAT FALL UNDER THAT UMBRELLA? WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I WANTED TO SHOW YOU SOME VIDEOS!” It’s so sad that they won’t let me tell them about hip hop dancing.