Music is a passion of mine. While I enjoy listening to and discovering new music, I more so enjoy creating it (singing/songwriting), or dancing to it (hip hop).
In 8th grade, I remember getting a green sheet of paper with a list of courses. I was preparing to select my classes for high school. It was an exciting time because the ability to choose what classes you were going to take was pretty foreign at this point. In middle school, you have your list of required courses and we had just a few options for additional electives to supplement our mandatory coursework. But it was nothing like the liberty of class selection available in high school – the freedom to choose classes in college was way too far removed from my mind at this point. As is common in America, I was dealing with the problem of having an over-abundance of options.
Since I liked singing, I leaned towards guitar classes. I knew I liked to write, so journalism caught my eye. Photography might be cool…
My sister is four years older than me, so I never got to enjoy being at the same school at the same time as her. As a high school vet, she insisted that I take dance. She didn’t take, and we never really danced seriously. The extent of our structured dance classes were ones of flamenco and tap that I barely remembered taking. We loved choreographing to crazy songs in our living room as kids, but that was truly the extent of it. I was curious why she would be so adamant about me signing up for dance. She told me that she would always see them running around in dance clothes, or hear the music blasting from the studio. She said all the cool kids did it and she wished she had. Sister’s have quite a bit of pull in their little sister’s decisions, so I signed up.
I never would have thought that a beginner dance class would turn into high school dance team, advanced dance, choreographing dances for shows, and then to a passion for hip hop.
The hip hop we learned in high school dance was very limited. Whereas, ballet had weeks reserved to it, hip hop would have one special day sprinkled here and there with a guest instructor. Even then, the type of hip hop we would learn was very elementary and basic. I had so much fun and often, the instructors would recognize that I was picking this stuff up much quicker than my peers – not including the few extremely talented hip hop dancers who went on to be on and win America’s Best Dance Crew…
After high school ended, and I’m really not sure how it began, I started learning dances in my living room from my laptop. Matt Steffanina used to regularly post tutorials for his dances on a YouTube account called Dance Tutorials Live. He used to dance with his fiance, Dana Alexa. They’ve since split up. While it’s a sad thing… it also worked out great because she started choreographing more and posting tutorials. That gave me twice the video inventory to work through!
At this time, I was in San Diego for college. I knew that these choreographers were in LA but I just assumed their classes would be ridiculously expensive and hardly entertained the thought of going to an actual class. Thankfully, I had a roommate who actually bothered to check the prices ($13) and we booked our class! This is the first thing I kept knocking… but finally tried it… and ultimately LOVED IT. It was one of the most exciting days of my life, to date.
I ended up taking about 4-5 classes at IDA Hollywood. These were sweet memories! I’d drive up for a class after school, stop at Urth Cafe after class, and drive back to SD, dead tired! I even ended up trying out another choreographer, Cedric! I ran into so many dance-famous people at these classes as well. But here’s the latest thing I knocked and finally tried!
While IDA Hollywood is an elite studio, I have dubbed Millennium Dance Complex to be the business! I associate it with the best of the best and never thought I’d ever go there. There’s no way I could keep up. I would look like an idiot and people would wonder who let this girl in. These are some of the many thoughts I had about it. I’m out of excuses, though! I recently moved to LA and I had to just go for it!
Side Note: Nearly everything in this tab of my blog are things I felt sick to my stomach about doing. Every fiber in my being had to be dragged to these places and forced to do these things. This is no exception. I was going to vomit on my way to class. But here’s the trick: you sign up anyways. That’s the first step. Sign up for the class. For me, that’s typically enough motivation to actually go. Sometimes, I’m still considering backing out when the day comes, so my next step is to get dressed and ready for it as though I’m going. Usually that’s enough. In this case, my sister had to motivate me a little more. Truthfully, I even commented on the choreographer’s post saying I was reluctant about going to her class. She actually commented back and encouraged me to come! That really did it for me.
Yesterday, August 9, 2017, I went to Millennium Dance Complex under the inspiring instruction of Nika Kljun. Long story, medium-length… I’m absolutely going back next week. This class was an absolute blast. I really got inside my head, but when I got there, I knew I had to knock that off! Despite wanting to go to the back row and hide, I knew I needed to be up front so I could really see and learn the choreography. I’m still a little rusty, but I got through it! After class, I snapped a photo with her and let her know I was the reluctant dancer from the instagram comment. She so sweetly encouraged me again to keep at it! I knocked it before trying it. I tried it. I love it.