ReFresH Dance

Learning from the Masters

Perhaps something I get from getting my inspiration from old dance legends like Bob Fosse is that there is some kind of old refinement in their art. Sometimes things can only be created with age, and when people have been practicing an art long enough it starts to gain some of its own wisdom. This isn’t to say learning from the young is unsatisfying or unfulfilling, it’s just different.

After doing Funkanometry Summer Intensive, I had gotten a summer full of young inspired and highly talented dancers. They are a fun, loving, and passionate bunch. The dances of Funkanometry SF are beautiful and touch upon many everyday issues and problems that we as human beings exist. Stuff that we as young adults especially can relate to, such as sex, relationships, struggles with relationships, violence, alcohol, identity loss even. I’m not embarrassed to say I was nearly moved to tears with Mariel Martin and Kyle Hanagami’s piece at the Sockhop.

After a highly fulfilling summer over at San Francisco dancing, working with at-risk youth, and writing several hundreds of pages of field notes for my practicum, I’ve returned to New York for a short break before I return to Evanston. One of the things I love about New York is the underlying historical presence of the arts. Hip-hop is here, but it is embedded in a rich history of performance art, such as jazz, Broadway, and a lot more. The city has a beautiful spirit, and I encourage all those who can to come and experience it. Not just the hip-hop, but all the other aspects of performance art that it offers as well.

I was supposed to go to Eric Negron’s Intermediate Hip-hop class yesterday, but since he wasn’t there Brian Green substituted for him. Brian Green teaches regularly at BDC, and I didn’t realize how much of a priviledge it was to have taken class with him. According to Brian, the piece he was teaching us was to R&B music, but he made the point that the dance was “straight-up hip-hop” meaning there wasn’t so much of a smoothness to it. It was a solo hip-hop piece he has been performing for about a year now, based on his experience as a 10-year-old child where a girl he knew got shot in the mouth by her 18-year-old boyfriend when she was 12. He found her with her head blown off down the block. He told us that it had haunted him for 20 years before he could finally be released through this dance that choreographed. He looked at our solemn faces and told us to smile, because he had learned to move on.
The piece itself progresses from young, happy, physical love, into abuse, into her realizing that she should move on, but throughout the piece there’s that theme of keep going back (The song used was “Slowly Surely” by Jill Scott). The choreography was what Brian called “party moves”. By that I think he meant popping and house, because that’s what he’s known for. I hope someday I get to see his performance of this…the whole 20 minutes.



September 4, 2008 - Posted by | Other

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