Dancing Queen, Day 2: Modern

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Just as I predicted from my first day of dancing, I was unspeakably sore the next day.

Like that would stop me from dancing.

One of the things I like about Joy of Motion is the convenient locations. One of the locations, noted as Atlas in the class schedule, is a healthy walk from my house. I intend to take the rest of my classes there.

For Day 2, I picked Modern, not knowing at all what it meant. What does it even mean to be modern in dance? Contemporary, recent, done in whatever was convenient instead of some of the other dances which seemed to require a costume and other appropriate clothing? (I’m looking at you flamenco… and also, always, ballet.) I went to class to find out.

As our instructor  put it, it was “hippy dippy” dancing. Modern meant dancing that reflected your feelings, with looser structure than ballet which required so many precise hand and leg positions. Modern had structure, much in the same way that improvisational theatre has “games” but is otherwise random, in-the-moment stuff. The structure was put in place so you could try and do things that you normally wouldn’t do.

Speaking of improv, we did improvise some dance moves. Our instructor gave us prompts (floor, folding, internal, external) which we were instructed to dance in whatever way we interpreted. It’s about as weird as you think it is.

A lot of what we were taught actually echoed things I’d learned from my Movement class at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory– my instructor in that did have a dance background. One of the things she had emphasized (and again, the Modern dance instructor said the same thing) was doing more with less. The less effort required, the better. Useful advice when you’re an actor putting yourself in the body of a character that isn’t you.

It was much less rigorous and demanding than the Afro-Cuban Jazz class, but was a blast all the same. Watching myself in the mirror, trying to master this or that bit of choreography… it brought back such joyous memories from my youth. Can’t wait to do more.

NOTE: As a budding filmmaker, I am highly inspired by how invigorating dance is. I want to shoot a series of Dance Gives Me Life videos around Washington, D.C. I want to showcase the city, showcase different kinds of dance, and most of all, showcase how dance gives me and others life! If you’re a dance or a filmmaker local to Washington, DC and this sounds invigorating to you, email me at thecreativity.ambassador@gmail.com.

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