Derek Brown Advanced Beginner Jazz at Joy of Motion/Atlas
August 10, 2010 2 Comments
Finally back in DC and dancing again. I signed up for a few classes at Joy of Motion since I still had a couple credits left from that Tippr deal I mentioned in my Helen Hayes Modern post. This time I ventured out to the studio at Atlas Performing Arts Center for advanced beginner jazz with Derek Brown. On my way there, I opted to take the Circulator up to U Street then the 92 bus to 8th and H Street NE. The entire trip including the 5 1/2 block walk from the bus stop to Joy of Motion took about an hour.
Derek was teaching a beginner hip hop class directly before advanced beginner jazz at 7:30pm. Some of the hip hop students stuck around for jazz but numbers for the second class were a lot smaller than the first. About 17 students came to the jazz class with experience levels ranging from beginner to advanced. (I’ve always been confused about the advanced beginner level. Why not just have beginner and when you have enough experience move up to intermediate then advanced?)
Derek started out with stretching in the center, then followed with a series of across the floor exercises – mostly turns. Seriously, I was really dizzy afterward. After across the floor, he went right into teaching the combination. He started with four counts of eight then continued to add on a few more eight counts at a time. We went over the combination a ton of times it seemed because he would have us market the first time then do it full out. It was actually a great way to build muscle memory. No cool down after the combo, but Derek recommended walking around a bit before sitting down as to not hurt your body.
On the way back, I decided to take the free H Street shuttle to Chinatown and walk back to Logan Circle. This trip didn’t cost me a thing and took me the same amount of time as taking the two bus routes. Of course, it involved a bit more walking. Overall, I think this class was worth the trek out to Atlas. Derek is an encouraging teacher and definitely dances with passion. If you’re a beginner, you may have a hard time following along but keep trying. That’s all he asks!