Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Workshop Fun!

Who doesn't love a good dance workshop? It's an opportunity to experience new styles and different teachers than you're used to. It's very beneficial to get a new perspective and insight on what you should be working on and how to improve. After all, the more opinions the better!

Along with strengthening and improving your technique and ability to pick up choreography, workshops and intensives are fun! It's a break from the usual schedule, and it tends to remind you why you love to dance so much. Last Sunday the studio had four amazing guest teachers: Robert Taylor Jr. from SYTYCD teaching hip hop, one of our past teachers at the studio, Autumn Schneider, teaching jazz, and Lance and Danielle Guillermo from On the DL teaching hip hop and lyrical. Each had their own way of inspiring the dancers to be their best selves.

I met Robert when I lived in NYC and was taking his class at Broadway Dance Center. Even though I wouldn't call myself a hip hop dancer at all, his class was definitely my favorite out of all the classes I took at BDC. Being in his class is a blast, and you can let loose and be yourself as a dancer and person. He puts a smile on every single persons' face and makes you feel truly happy to be dancing. I took both of his classes (for each age group) and his combinations were so much fun to do in their own individual ways.

I didn't get a chance to take Autumn's class because I took both of Robert's, but she used to be a teacher at our studio and I absolutely love her. She's always energetic and supportive, which really uplifts the class and makes them want to do better. Her combination for the workshop was to, "Another One Bites the Dust" and  everyone was working it out and having a great time.

Lance's style of hip hop is usually very intricate and I'm always amazed by his precision and clarity. He talked about how important it is to be a "smart dancer" and not just a good dancer, as well as being well-rounded in order to succeed. Being a smart dancer and being well-rounded kind of go hand-in-hand because a smart dancer practices all different styles so that they become more versatile. You are more likely to get a job as a dancer if you are capable of many different things, not just one style. His combination was very silly and quirky, so it was fun playing up those characters.

Normally with Danielle we focus on a combination the whole time, but this time we worked on technique as well. I like having a combination of technique and choreography because you need strong technique in order to pick up choreography quickly and easily. When you are sure of your technique, you can focus your attention on what you're going to add to it such as artistry and dynamics. We did an intense ab workout, then went across the floor. The first combination across the floor was somewhat long and she taught it quickly. It was practice in truly learning the movement and picking it up as fast as possible. This is a skill that is absolutely essential in the dance world. The next combination focused on turns and pirouettes. I loved Danielle's "I mean business" attitude in this class; it made me really nervous because I felt like I was at an audition! That is exactly what I needed to push me and challenge my abilities. Since we spent time on technique, she also taught her center combination very quickly, so that was even more practice with picking up choreography effectively.

This was a long, but wonderful day of dancing that I feel like I really needed. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to take class from these talented and inspiring teachers :)


Elizabeth said...

When I was training to be a ballet dancer I should have learned more than one form of dance. It's so true that dancers need to be competent in a variety of dance styles, which is partly why I decided I didn't want to be a professional dancer. I was only interested in classical ballet, but of course that doesn't work too well in today's dance world.

Kelsey Stenta said...

It's true that today's dancers have become more and more versatile. It used to be that you studied in one style and danced in that style as a professional. But nowadays, dancers have to be able to do everything! That's great that you found something that you love. Of course, there are plenty of professional ballerinas that probably only train in ballet, but you can learn new things from other styles and apply that to your ballet training. But, if you're passionate about it, don't stop!