7th Way to Redefine Yourself: HIP with Miasia at Joy of Motion/Bethesda

HIP with MiasiaToday, I was back at Joy of Motion/Bethesda for HIP with Miasia. This Middle Eastern inspired dance and fitness class is part of Joy of Motion’s Move Program, which also includes Zumba and Kukuwa Dance Workout. We started class working in pairs on the floor. I was partnered with Miasia since I was the only new student. Everyone else had taken the class before. I held Miasia’s ankles while she demonstrated different ab exercises. Then we switched and I mirrored what she had just done.

The class continued with students mimicking Miasia’s moves. Hip rolls, undulations of the chest and shimmying to the music had me feeling like I was in another world (and also out of my element since this was my first time taking a belly dance class). Miasia did a great job explaining how to execute moves that look deceptively simple. At one point, she had us squeezing our glutes to create an extra bounce in our hips. It is surprisingly difficult to squeeze one cheek at a time! I liked that Miasia told us what some of the moves meant. How great is it that your body can say things like “I see right through you” or “Just you wait?” My favorite had to be “I can handle it. I’m a woman.” Talk about girl power. If you’re looking to explore another culture through dance, try HIP with Miasia.


5th Way to Redefine Yourself: Street Jazz with Maurice at Joy of Motion/Bethesda

Street JazzWhen I first started my blog, I also created my Twitter account @dance_DC. I’ve connected with several dancers through the social media network and on occasion ask for class recommendations. Street Jazz with Maurice Johnson has been a response from many dance tweeps so I was excited to include it in my 10 day dance challenge.

The class is described by Joy of Motion Dance Center as a dance form that combines jazz, hip hop and funk. The level is considered advanced beginner (at least six months dance experience), but I thought it was more of an intermediate class. Maurice started out with a fast, choreographed warm up. He also did a decent amount of ab work including plank exercises and crunches. The combination he taught was extremely fast paced. It had a lot of sassy moves and reminded me of a hip hop class I used to take and absolutely loved while I was living in Boston. I forgot to ask Maurice what song he chose for the class, but it was one I had never heard before. I think I overheard him after class mentioning that the artist was some kind of MySpace sensation (not Tila Tequila). According to Maurice, he teaches the same choreography at his intermediate level class which he teaches on Saturdays. The difference between his advanced beginner and intermediate level classes is that he teaches at an even faster pace. If you’re looking for a challenging advanced beginner class and love sassing it up, Maurice is the man for you.

2nd Way to Redefine Yourself: Afro-Jazz with Tyrone at Joy of Motion/Bethesda

Afro-JazzDay two of my 10 day challenge and I’m already sore. Not a good sign! Tonight I was at Joy of Motion/Bethesda for Afro-Jazz with Tyrone Murray. This was the first time I took the class so I had no idea what to expect. We started off with a center barre warm up; but instead of standing up, we were laying on our backs. The exercise made you think about the placement of your hips and your technique overall. On the floor, we did a LOT of stretching, as well as some sit ups and push ups. The stretching continued when we finally stood up. Picture this: You’re doing a lunge and then you straighten the bent knee so you’re almost in a split position. Now lean forward with a flat back. It was killer! In addition to having to work on stretching, I realized I need to work on my balance. At one point, he had us doing releves while we were hunched over with our hands on the ground then roll up to standing position while on the balls of our feet. Yup, need to work on that.

Class continued with African inspired across the floor exercises. Tyrone used a lot of analogies to describe the movement including animals tip toeing through the forest while they’re looking for prey and eagles in flight. He expanded on one of the across the floor exercises and taught about six eight counts of a center combination. At the end of class, he let us know that one of his goals for the year is to challenge his dancers and push them to the next level. He joked that it was not just for the students, but also to keep him in shape. If you’re looking to learn from a 30 year veteran of Joy of Motion, Afro-Jazz may be the class for you.

10 Ways to Redefine Yourself in the New Year at Joy of Motion

Joy of Motion Dance Center recently did a Twitter promotion – 10 Ways to Redefine Yourself in the New Year. The idea behind the promotion which offered 10 free classes was that you can be any type of dancer you want to be. The free classes gave dancers an opportunity to try different styles in order to help them redefine their dance identity.


Check out those moves!

Inspired by the message of redefining yourself in the New Year and taking advantage of the benefits of being a work study, I decided to create a project for myself. Starting Monday, January 3rd I’ll be taking 10 different classes in 10 days at Joy of Motion Dance Center. The schedule will be similar to the 10 free classes from the Twitter promotion with a few differences due to scheduling. The 10 days of classes will culminate on my birthday, Wednesday, January 12th.

After each class, I plan on taking a picture with the teacher (if they’re cool with that) and anyone else who wants to be featured on my blog. I hope this project will motivate you to take class and to redefine yourself as a dancer in 2011. Below is the schedule of classes I plan on taking. See you on the dance floor!

Date Time Class Teacher Location Level
Mon, 1/3 6:30pm-7:30pm Zumba Chris Atlas All levels
Tues, 1/4 7pm-8:30pm Afro-Jazz Tyrone Bethesda Advanced beginner
Wed, 1/5 6:30pm-7:30pm Revolution Heidi Friendship Heights All levels
Thur, 1/6 7:30pm-8:30pm Hip Hop Jenny Atlas Beginner
Fri, 1/7 7:30pm-9pm Street Jazz Maurice Bethesda Advanced beginner
Sat, 1/8 12pm-1pm Kukuwa Dance Workout Fatima Atlas All levels
Sun, 1/9 11am-12pm HIP Miasia Bethesda All levels
Mon, 1/10 8pm-9:30pm Contemporary Jazz Ashley Atlas Low intermediate
Tues, 1/11 7:30pm-9pm Modern Helanius Friendship Heights Low intermediate
Wed, 1/12 8pm-9:15pm Hip Hop Gary Friendship Heights Low intermediate

Alana Hill Advanced Beginner Hip Hop at Joy of Motion/Bethesda

Finally got the chance to take Alana Hill’s advanced beginner hip hop class at Joy of Motion Bethesda. As you may recall, I tried going a couple weeks ago but there weren’t enough students for the studio to hold the class. Instead, I checked out Culture Shock hip hop at Strathmore with Gary Beauford.

I got to Joy of Motion Bethesda a little early so was able to catch the tail end of Alana’s beginner class. The combination she taught was to Ryan Leslie’s “You’re Not My Girl,” which has kind of a jazz-y vibe to it. She ended up teaching the same combination from her beginner class at the advanced beginner class. The only difference between the two classes was that she was able to get through a bit more choreography.  At the advanced beginner class, there were a lot less students than in her beginner class – five compared to about fifteen plus. The manageable class size however gave Alana the opportunity to point out individual moves to work on.

A couple things that stood out in my mind about Alana’s class happened before and after she taught the combination. Her warm up included your typical stretches, sit ups and push ups, but she added a couple exercises that I haven’t seen in awhile. For example, she had students do a back bend while lunging and we did center split stretches. She also had us sit on our heels in releve while moving our arms in different positions. After we did the combination a few times, she did a short cool down which included a quick bow to the “audience.”

Overall, it seemed like a decent hip hop class for beginner/intermediate dancers. Alana is a fun and positive instructor who clearly enjoys teaching. According to one of the students who took the class with me, the style was a bit more jazz-y than some of the other hip hop classes she has taken but it was still enjoyable.

The Deets

  • Alana Hill
  • Advanced beginner hip hop
  • Joy of Motion – Air Rights Building; 7315 Wisconsin Avenue; Bethesda, MD 20814
  • Thursdays 730-830pm
  • $17 drop ins (cash or credit)

Helen Hayes Modern at Joy of Motion/Bethesda

source: http://www.joyofmotion.org

I decided to switch it up and take an intermediate/advanced modern dance class at Joy of Motion in Bethesda.  Plus I wanted to make good use of the Tippr deal I bought last week ($25 for $51 worth of classes at any Joy of Motion studio).

If you haven’t been to the Joy of Motion in Bethesda, it may be hard to find.  Take the Red Line to Bethesda and the studio is just a couple blocks south on Wisconsin Avenue NW.  If you take the elevator up to street level, you’re only about a block away.  Joy of Motion is in the Air Rights Building – same building as Cardinal Bank and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.    I recommend entering near Cardinal Bank, which is on a side street off of Wisconsin across from the Marriott Residence Inn.  Once you enter the building, go left to the elevators and take it one level down to LL.
I came straight from a happy hour in Dupont before coming to class so I had to change.  Luckily, there is a small changing area in the ladies’ bathroom.  I wore black leggings and a tank top, which most girls were wearing.  Some wore black tights or booty shorts and leotards.  Most people danced barefoot, but others like myself opted to wear socks.
It was obvious from the start that a lot of the students are regulars of Helen’s class.  She knew the majority of dancers by name and frequently complimented students for a job well done.  She even pointed out individual mistakes so others could benefit from correcting next time around.
Despite being a huge fan of hip hop dance, I actually have a background in ballet.  I studied for about 11 years so an intermediate/advanced modern class seemed fine to sign up for.  I have to admit.  I had a hard time keeping up with the choreography.  Her teaching style for the combinations was show, show and go.  She would ask if people had specific questions before breaking up into groups, but most people were able to pick it up rather quickly.  In some instances, she would ask us to figure out the combination to the opposite side by ourselves.
The class was scheduled to end at 930pm, but one of the students told me that she’ll probably go until 11pm.  I had to meet up with my boyfriend at 11pm so left around 10pm but she was still going strong.  On my way out, I briefly spoke with the girl that works at the front desk.  She said that she tried one of Helen’s beginner classes and even that was challenging.
If you’re just looking to dance around and learn one combination, this isn’t the class for you.  If you’re looking to work hard and improve your overall dancing ability, please give it a try.  It is a great class and you definitely get your money’s worth.

The Deets

  • Helen Hayes
  • Intermediate/Advanced Modern
  • Joy of Motion – Air Rights Building 7315 Wisconsin Avenue NW; Bethesda, MD 20814
  • Wednesdays 8pm-930pm or until Helen feels like it
  • $17 drop ins

Culture Shock Hip Hop Class at Strathmore

If you’re looking for an int/adv hip hop class, make your way to Strathmore Thursday nights for Culture Shock’s company class.  Lucky for me and other non drivers in the District, Strathmore is easily accessible by Metro.  Just hop on the Red Line to Shady Grove and get off at Grosvesnor-Strathmore.  Once you get out of the station, make your way to the parking garage and you can walk through there to get to the complex.  It’s kind of creepy walking through the garage, but it’s a short walk so tough it out.

Strathmore is one of the few places I’ve been to class where they take both cards and cash so that’s nice.  Culture Shock’s company class is also $15 for drop ins which is one of the cheaper prices I’ve seen so far (well, except for Urban Artistry’s free open practice sessions on Sundays).  The room where they teach class is absolutely huge with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows.

Class started out with a warm up from one of the Culture Shock members.  It was complete with jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups and stretching.  All of which made me realize how out of shape and NOT flexible I am these days.  Afterward, Anna Jung of the Gnc Crew and I’m assuming also Culture Shock stepped up to start teaching her combination to Le Disko’s “Shiny Toy Guns.”

The class was pretty full, about 50 students.  It was tough trying to watch Anna while she taught but she was good about changing lines frequently and having the people in front duck down every so often so those in the back could see.  After she taught the combo, she split us up into four groups.  After each group went, she had Culture Shock girls then Culture Shock boys show the combo then invited other crews to join in.  You might feel left out since many of the attendees are friends and dance together, but they teach great choreography from a variety of dancers and always have a full house.  Def worth the $4.30 round trip (from Dupont Circle Metro).

This is a video I found on YouTube posted by Miguel Almario.  It gives you a good idea about what the space looks like and how many people you’ll be dancing with.

The Deets

  • Culture Shock
  • Int/Adv Hip Hop
  • CityDance Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane; North Bethesda, MD 20852
  • Thursdays 830pm (I left around 10pm, but not sure if the class ran late)
  • $15 drop ins (cash or card)
  • 1/14/11 Update: Culture Shock DC now teaches its company class at DC Dance Collective in Friendship Heights.
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