10th Way to Redefine Yourself: Hip Hop with Gary at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights

Hip Hop with Gary Beauford

Liz, Gary and Cecile. Thanks for taking the pic, Karen!

Last night, I was at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights for hip hop with Gary Beauford. I’ve taken his class before, but it was my birthday and the last day of my 10 day dance challenge so I decided to treat myself. The first time I took class with Gary was actually his last class with Culture Shock DC. I had also seen his choreography when his company GnC Crew performed at the DCypher show last year.

The combination Gary taught for his last class was choreo to Total’s “What About Us?” Remember that song? I think my brain had reached its mental capacity so I had a hard time picking up the routine, but the select groups he picked at the end had it down. They looked dope! He also singled out one of his students who also trains with Future Shock/Culture Shock to do the combination one last time. She did great.

About 30 dancers, including my friends Liz and Karen, came to last night’s class. Gary’s class is usually pretty crowded, but this was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it. It was probably because he announced on Twitter and Facebook that this would be his last class at Joy of Motion for almost a year. He’s leaving on Saturday to go on tour with UniverSoul Circus. Congrats on the gig, Gary! It’s sad that he won’t be here for most of 2011, but he’s hoping that Kevin Simon of GnC Crew and Culture Shock DC will be able to take over the class in his absence. He’ll be conducting the class the same way Gary did. Three weeks learning the same routine so you can really get something out of class and get your training on. It’s a bitter sweet ending to my 10 day dance challenge as I’ll miss taking class with Gary, but I’m happy to have been inspired by his creativity and wish him the best of luck.

9th Way to Redefine Yourself: Modern with Helanius at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights

modern danceFor day nine of my 10 day dance challenge, I was at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights for modern with Helanius Wilkins. I met Helanius a few months back when I interviewed him for danceDC so was excited to take his low intermediate level class. He started the class with plenty of exercises to warm up our feet. Before moving into across the floor exercises, he taught a short combination that had us constantly changing directions. I was extremely confused when he first showed it, but I think I finally had it down by the last time we did it in groups.

One of the across the floor exercises that stood out in my mind included a cart-wheel. I can’t remember the last time I had done one so was happy to give it a try. I thought we were doing another short across the floor exercise, but it turned into a longer combination that we did in smaller groups of three or four. The combination also included lots of changes in directions like the short combo from earlier in the class. I liked that the choreography traveled across the floor and used the whole space. Helanius also had such a pleasant demeanor while teaching class. I really appreciated that. If you’re looking to learn from a positive role model and also to take a fun, modern class, I hope you’ll try one of Helanius’ classes.

3rd Way to Redefine Yourself: Revolution with Heidi at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights

For the third day of my 10 day challenge, I made my way to Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights for Revolution with Heidi Schimpf. The class appeals to dancers who love retro music and people who enjoy dances from the last four decades. Revolution was another first for me and for a few of the other dancers in the MOVE Program class. Heidi started with grape vines and heel digs to get the blood moving. We did some stretching, shoulder and head isolations then moved into a combination to Katy Perry’s “California Girls.” Heidi said she was inspired to choreograph to the song because of the cold weather here in the District.

Heidi was a great teacher who really paid attention to the needs of her students. She broke down moves when she noticed dancers were having trouble and gave lots of positive reinforcement when the students were getting it right. After doing the combination full out a bunch of times, we cooled down by working our abs with sit ups and plank exercises. A few more stretches on the floor and Heidi was congratulating us for a job well done. If you’re looking for an upbeat, jazzercise class or enjoy dancing to popular music, give Revolution with Heidi a try.

Audition for Micheline Heal & Dancers Saturday, January 15th

Micheline HealMicheline Heal reached out to me after coming across danceDC on the Interwebs and asked me to post information about her upcoming dance audition on Saturday, January 15th at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights. Please see the details below if you’re looking for an opportunity to dance in the New Year!

Choreographer Micheline Heal is looking for six dancers – four female, two male – for two separate dance projects this coming spring. The first project is a series of duets in the style of “So You Think You Can Dance?” for a public performance series in April and May. For this project Micheline is looking for one female and two male dancers with partnering and contact improvisation experience as well as a strong technical background in ballet and contemporary dance.

The second project is the revision of a piece titled The Garden for Wayward Girls, multimedia installation that explores how the lessons we learn fairy tales influence our adult perspectives. Micheline is looking for three petite female dancers with a strong technical background in ballet and contemporary dance, experience with floorwork and partnering are bonuses. The piece will be performed during a performance run at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in May. All dancers for both projects will be financially compensated for performances but not for rehearsals. Dancers will be selected based on skill, suitability for a given role, and availability.

Here is additional information Micheline provided regarding what she looks for in a dancer and what dancers can expect during the audition process:

I look for multifaceted dancers with strong technique that are also willing to experiment and play in the rehearsal room. I am willing to overlook technical finesse, however, in favor of strong performers with a voracious love of dance. The audition will consist of a short warm-up, an improvisation exercise, learning some phrasework (both vertical as well as some floorwork), a contact improv exercise and a creation exercise where dancers will be paired off to create short partnering duets. Because I’m casting for two very different projects, the dancers will be asked to do a lot of different things. I’m looking for dancers that are willing to push their comfort zones and just go for it because it inspires me to make better work.

The Deets

  • Audition for Micheline Heal & Dancers
  • Joy of Motion Dance Center/Friendship Heights – 5207 Wisconsin Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20015
  • Saturday, January 15th 4:45pm-6:45pm
  • Please email a resume and headshot prior to attending the audition to micheline@michelineheal.com.

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

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 10/8-10/10

Binary Workshops

source: DMV Dance Network

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I’m excited for the opening of Artisphere this Sunday! This new art space promises ‘to showcase an eclectic mix of thought-provoking, weird and wonderful arts activities.’ What more could you want? If you’re relying on the Blue/Orange line, you’re out of luck since Metro Center, McPherson Square and Farragut West are all closed this weekend. But if you live in the Logan Circle area like I do, you can take the Circulator from Dupont straight to Rosslyn.

My parents and little bro are in town this weekend so I’m missing out on a couple great workshops here in DC so do me a favor and go to them! Binary Workshops featuring Eddie Styles at Halo Dance Studio (my tweep Teren Dickson will also be teaching) on Saturday and Luam at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights on Sunday.

If you attend and want to guest post, hit me up. Hopefully see some of you at VelocityDC tonight at Harman Center for the Arts. Enjoy your weekend and keep dancing!

Friday, October 8th

Saturday, October 9th

  • 1pm-7pm: Test of a B-Boy Battle at Riverfront Festival (The Yards Riverfront Park)
  • 1pm-7:30pm: Binary Workshops ft. Eddie Styles (Jabbazwockeez, Rock So Fresh, SDZulu) at Halo Dance Studio (Gaithersburg)
  • 2pm: VelocityDC Dance Festival at Harman Center for the Arts
  • 7:30pm: Dakshina’s Fall Festival of Indian Arts at Lincoln Theater
  • 8pm: VelocityDC Dance Festival at Harman Center for the Arts
  • 8pm: Deez Nutz 2010 at Dance Place

Sunday, October 10th

  • 10am-11pm: Artisphere Grand Opening featuring performances from Urban Artistry, Bowen McCauley Dance, Hoop Dance DC, Jane Franklin Dance
  • 3pm: Full Circle Dance Company’s 10th Anniversary Concert at Stephens Hall Theatre (Towson University)
  • 5:30pm: Hip Hop Master Class with Luam at Joy of Motion/Friendship Heights
  • 6pm: Furia Flamenca at Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage
  • 7pm: Deez Nutz 2010 at Dance Place

Capital Funk Dance Auditions Sunday, September 5th

Capital Funk hip hop dance team is holding auditions this Sunday, September 5th. Third year veteran Brad Sickels took the time to tell danceDC a little bit more about the group and what dancers can expect from Sunday’s auditions.

According to Brad, Capital Funk has been one of the most enriching experiences of his life and practicing with the team is always the highlight of his day. “It’s great to be part of a well-respected and FUN team that is really making a name for itself in the East Coast dance scene,” he said.

Who is Capital Funk?

Capital Funk is a group of extremely talented, dedicated and off-the-wall dancers. “Cfunk” as we call it is a giant family and anyone who joins is immediately adopted into that family whether they like it or not.

Capital Funk was created by a group of George Washington University students and is based at GW. However over the years, the team has opened its doors to the amazing talent of the DC community. Our team is now made up of about half GW students and half DC/MD/NOVA locals, which makes for quite the interesting dynamic. We perform frequently in the GW arena but have successfully branched out into the greater DC area. We also travel to compete all over the East Coast.

What type of dance do you do?

We’ve got so many talented individuals on the team whose styles range from botting and locking, to vogue, Baltimore club and house.We try and keep things fresh and evolving and it’s always been important to us to encompass different dance styles and techniques.

What dance background do most of your members have?

Everyone on our team is so incredibly different. For instance, there are several members on the team who are classically trained in modern and ballet and have been dancing since they could walk. We have dancers who have been doing hip hop for years, and have trained with amazing choreographers and instructors. But then, you have people on the team like me whose first time ever officially doing hip hop was at the Capital Funk audition. Capital Funk is unique in that we don’t ask for a dance resume at our auditions. We don’t require extensive training. We value talented dancers who are passionate about dance and our leaders realize that can come in ANY shape or form. We value diversity in every meaning of the word.

Where and how often do you perform?

Traditionally, our Fall season is comprised of local performances. These can include GW basketball games and events, local universities’ talent showcases/competitions, and promotional events. We spend a lot of the Fall term training, learning and growing together as a team.

Our Spring semester has traditionally been our competition season. In the past we’ve done two to three major competitions in the Spring, traveling to Boston, New York and New Jersey. We also hold our annual Showcase at the end of the Spring season. For this Showcase, we invite local dance crews and artists, as well as talent from other East Coast cities. Our Showcase has been very successful, bringing in a crowd of over a thousand last year.

Where and how often do you rehearse?

We hold regular practice two to three times weekly at a variety of locations. We rehearse at GW and also at DC Dance Collective in Friendship Heights.

What can people expect from the auditions?

They can expect to have a lot of fun! Auditionees will learn two combinations from different choreographers, and then perform them in small groups for the captains. Each group will include at least one Capital Funk member so you can ask for help and rehearse with them.  We then have an informal freestyle cypher, where dancers are given the opportunity to show off their own styles.

Any words of advice for people trying out?

I’d say take a class or two just to fine-tune your pickup. The best way to progress as a dancer is to be constantly learning. Joy of Motion has some pretty tight classes and DC Dance Collective offers a few varieties of hip hop.  Maybe spend a little time with your headphones in just free-styling. Our auditions are fun so be ready to have a good time!

The Deets

  • Capital Funk
  • Fall Dance Auditions
  • The Marvin Center Grand Ballroom – 800 21st Street NW; Washington, DC 20052
  • Sunday, September 5th at 6:30pm

DCypher Dance Auditions at Joy of Motion Friendship Heights

After dropping by Lounge 201 for nGAGE DC, I hopped on the Red Line at Union Station and made it just in time for the DCypher dance auditions at Joy of Motion Friendship Heights.  This studio is just south of the Friendship Heights Metro station.  Walk toward the Jennifer Street exit, take the elevators up to street level, go right and walk a couple blocks south on Wisconsin.  The studio will be on the other side of the street in the same building as Chevy Chase Ballroom.

I was still in work clothes, but there was a small changing area where I could put on my sweats and sneaks.  The girl at the front desk gave me a short form to fill out and handed me a cloth number to safety pin on.  The waiting area was tight so I hung out in the hallway and read some of the fliers hanging up on the bulletin board.

The audition started with a warm up by DCypher’s founder Juli Calderon.  After some stretching and intense sit ups, Juli went into the combination.  She chose a great song ‘The Garden’ by Mirah.  If you don’t know this song, download that ish on iTunes stat!  The choreo wasn’t complicated but gave a lot of room to show your own personality with several freestyle hits.

We did the combination in two groups a few times before breaking into smaller groups of four.  Each small group went a couple times, then the judges called out individual numbers to see again.  At the end, we had a cipher where dancers could show off their other dance talents including breaking, jazz, tap and booty popping.

If you’ve never been to a dance audition, I definitely recommend it.  It’s a great way to challenge yourself as you need to perform for the panel of judges.  It’s also a free class as companies usually don’t charge for auditions.  A couple more auditions are coming up soon so stay tuned for the details.  Keep dancing!

Capital Funk Hip Hop Class at DC Dance Collective

I heard about hip hop dance group Capital Funk from some of my friends who saw them at The Main Event.  After watching the YouTube video below which shows their first place routine and doing some Googling, I found out that they hold weekly classes at the DC Dance Collective in Friendship Heights every Monday night at 730pm.  I had to leave about 40 minutes before class started to be there on time.  It was a short ride on the Metro (four stops from Dupont Circle to Tenleytown-AU) and about a 10 minute walk up Wisconsin Ave NW to the studio.

You walk downstairs to the basement of DC Dance Collective and down a long corridor full of old school recital photos to get to the front desk.  Since it was my first time at the studio, I paid $10 for the class and they waived the $15 annual registration fee.  If I do go back for another class though, I’ll have to pay up for class and the annual fee.  Luckily if you don’t carry cash around like myself, they also take cards.

After signing in, I went up two flights of creaky stairs to the third floor.  We were at the studio facing Wisconsin Ave NW, which was separated from the Flamenco class next door by a room divider.  Surprisingly though, the noise wasn’t an issue.

After a quick warmup of walks, turns and jumping jacks, Brad Sickels of Capital Funk taught a combination to ‘Bottoms Up’ by Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj!  Even though we only had about an hour, he was able to get through about six counts of eight.  The dance alternated from very fast to a moderate pace which made some parts more difficult than others.  He went over smaller sections multiple times though so it seemed like everyone had it down by the end of the class.  Since he had a lot more choreography for that song, he plans on adding to the combination next week.

At the class I went to, there were about seven people including two other Capital Funk members.  Brad said that turnout has been about four to seven people this Summer since most of their following (college students) is back at home.  During the year, it’s apparently packed so don’t be surprised if attendance shoots up come September.  If you like what you see, definitely try out their class and keep checking their Web site for upcoming audition information.

The Deets

  • Capital Funk
  • Intermediate Hip Hop
  • DC Dance Collective – 4908 Wisconsin Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20016
  • Mondays 730pm-830pm
  • $10 cash or card (plus $15 annual registration fee if you come more than once)
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