Contemporary at Six Step Studios

Met up with Lisa K again for another class out in Fairfax.  Seriously, I don’t know how she finds these places.  From Crystal City, it was about a 20-30 minute drive.  Without her TomTom, I’m not sure we would have made it as the studio is tucked away in a warehouse of an industrial park.  There is no big sign on the main street marking Six Step Studios, but there is a small sign on the door.  The space is a converted warehouse with a loft for the office and waiting room.  It’s only one room, but it feels spacious since the ceilings are so high.

According to the website, the contemporary class with Chelsea Cooper starts at 9pm but it was more like 930pm.  She explained that they are pretty lax so warned students (and probably more so the parents since the majority looked a bit younger) to plan on staying longer than the scheduled time.

She opened the garage door of the space which freaked me out since it is so humid out these days, but it was fine and actually nice to sweat.  She started the class with a warm up and then had us move to the music in the dark.  Yes, no lights!  It was comforting to not be seen because I didn’t feel like such a loser when I was moving around awkwardly.

Chelsea gave a thorough explanation before teaching the combination.  She shared her personal experience and how it related to the song she chose.  She even cited Bill T. Jones dance theory somewhere in there.  According to Chelsea, she choreographs the movement first and then makes the combination fit to the music she is using.  This made it a little difficult to follow along, but after doing the combination a few times I think I was able to fake my way through the timing.  Overall, I think it’s a great class if you want to become a better contemporary dancer.  She is really passionate about dance and fosters a really welcoming educational environment.

Here’s a YouTube clip of a contemporary workshop Chelsea previously did at Six Step:

The Deets

  • Chelsea Cooper
  • Contemporary
  • Six Step Studios – 2724 Dorr Ave, Bay #3; Fairfax, VA 22031
  • Wednesdays 9pm-10pm
  • $18 cash only
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BTI Dance Institute Opens in Logan Circle

Long before moving to the District, Alvaro Maldonado resided in war torn El Salvador as a youth.  Free dance classes at the National Ballet School kept him away from the violence and gangs that surrounded him and the lessons he learned in the classroom truly changed his life.  “I wouldn’t be able to be here without dance,” he said.  “Dance transformed my life and I hope to use the power of dance to transform the lives of others.”

Alvaro Maldonado (source: Luis Gomez Photos)

Inspired by his personal experience, Maldonado, who is also a nutrition consultant and co-owner of personal training gym Fit on 17th Street NW, began to implement dance programs in his home country, as well as other troubled areas in Central America.  According to Maldonado, the goal of the program is not to create dancers, but instead to inspire students and provide them the tools needed to succeed in life.   He now brings this transformational outreach program to District schools and youth groups through BTI Dance Institute, which opened its doors on 14th Street NW last weekend.

In addition to its outreach programs, BTI Dance Institute has both an adult and youth dance training program.  To promote its repertoire of classes and to test out the current schedule of its adult dance training program, the studio is offering free classes until Friday, July 23rd.  First time students and experienced dancers alike will have the chance to try a variety of classes before regular rates go into effect this Saturday.  They will also be able to purchase discount cards at reduced rates before the 24th.

The success of the first few weeks of BTI Dance Institute is not only important to keep the studio going, but it is also key to building a solid financial base for its youth dance training program scheduled to start this September.  Maldonado, who serves as the Founder and Artistic Director of BTI Dance Institute, hopes to train the modern dancers of the future through this program.

Students of BTI Dance Institute’s youth dance training program will take dance history and other relevant academic classes, as well as daily technique and modern dance classes.  Graduates of the program will receive a diploma in contemporary dance concert performance and will be prepared to audition for modern dance companies all over the world.

Students interested in the training program and ballet dancers who have been out of practice may be interested in BTI’s Classical Ballet Performance Workshop with Elizabeth Wisenberg of the Stuttgart Ballet.  The two week intensive workshop runs Monday through Friday 10:30am-12:30pm from August 16th until August 27th.  Total cost for the workshop is $190, but students can also pay for drop in classes with Wisenberg.  Dancers who participate in the workshop will take an hour of technique class and an hour of repertory to learn one of the well-known pieces from “Swan Lake.”  The workshop culminates with a small performance of the “Swan Lake” piece for family and friends at the studio.

Maldonado noted that BTI is still working on its studio but hopes to complete everything over the next couple weeks.  Classes will be adjusted and added to meet the needs of the studio and its clientele, but hip hop and flamenco fans will be disappointed to hear that these types of classes will not be included in the roster.  For more information about BTI Dance Institute, visit their site or read Lawrence Luk’s story from Express.  You can also read this story and see more photos on local blog Borderstan.

10/05/10 Update – BTI Dance Institute recently added hip hop classes to their schedule.

1/15/11 Update – As of February 12th, classes will be held at 1643 Connecticut Ave NW.

12/6/11 Update – BTI Dance Institute will be closing as of December 9th, 2011.

Contemporary Modern Workshop at Joy of Motion Tomorrow

Joy of Motion Friendship Heights welcomes dancers to ‘melt into and out of the floor with Keira Hart-Mendoza of UpRooted Dance.’ 

If you don’t like floor work, this is not the masterclass for you.  But if so, class starts tomorrow Saturday, July 10th at 11am and runs until 1pm.  $25 advance registration and $30 the day of.

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