I’m so exhausted that I can barely focus. My hips are killing me. My hands are hurt from giving high-fives to someone else for 30 minutes straight. I can’t stop smiling.
These are all symptoms of the fact that Get Down 2010 is currently ongoing in Vancouver, and I’ve just finished the second day of three days that I’ll be attending workshops. As the preceding paragraph suggests, the workshop is a deeply rewarding experience, and the opportunity to dance with the some of the founders of the funk styles that I dance and teach is a rare treat.
I cannot go into too much depth, because I just don’t have the energy right now. That’s not a complaint – it feels incredible to leave everything you have on the dance floor at the end of the day. I do, however, want to capture some of what we’ve learned today.
One of the first things you learn training with the creators is that dancing is a social activity. Before there was popping, before there was locking, before there was hiphop, there were people getting together and dancing. Social dances have evolved as time has gone on because they allow people to get together and share in a groove. It gives you an opportunity to mutually experience the physicality of music with someone, and that is an amazing feeling.
Social dances aren’t a style – they’re just dancing. While any one particular social dance (eg, the Bart Simpson*) can be attributed to the genre that inspired it, there’s nothing stopping someone from taking that social dance and interpreting it to a different style of music.
*yes, there is a social dance called the Bart Simpson, and yes, it is awesome.
The more I dance with the originators, the more I see how much influence this social aspect of dancing has, and by that virtue, how much influence social dances have had. You see them everywhere.
My theory is that these dances teach you how to move a certain way with your body. Think of them as little programs that you can install into Neo’s brain in the Matrix (“I know how to move my hips this way now Morpheus!”). Once you’ve learned a particular social dance, that movement becomes inherent to you, and it starts to influence and inspire the rest of the way you dance.
Anyhow, enough about this epiphany I’m having, I want to document the social dances that Sugarpop and Lockadelic taught us today, and you want to hear their silly (awesome) names:
- The Stevie Lock
Throw away your ab machines, this dance is the new way to blast your abs. Sitting up and down has never been such an ordeal. I imagine that Sugarpop has abs that can stop bullets based on the ease with which he can move his body and perform this dance.
- The Texas Hop
I told you right – dope names! After breaking down the parts of this dance for us, Sugarpop lined us up and had us do a Soul Train line. Class cut down the middle, and everyone repeatedly does part of the dance. The two people at the end then do the full social dance down the line, then join the line at the bottom. I’m sure that this may sound intimidating to a lot of people (myself included!), but the truth is that after standing in that line, surrounded by people doing the same simple part of the dance as you, enjoying the same groove that you are, it feels completely natural to just let it out and bust your way down.
Sugarpop and Lockadelic had awesome synergy together, and I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to take the classes today with both of them teaching. Sugarpop handed over the reins to Lockadelic this afternoon, who taught us this funky dance. Once we’d learned it? Back to the Soul Train line! This time, instead of going down the line, two at a time, we went back and forth across the line with whoever was in front of us. Again, it may sound intimidating, but when you’re in that groove with someone, you learn so much faster. Sharing that moment is what dancing is about!
- The Funky Chicken
One of things that I really appreciated about Lockadelic was that she would teach us a social dance, and then we would just spend time moving around in it. I never realized what the Funky Chicken actually looks like; it’s not the dance done at weddings, although this is a perfect example of a social dance. And hey, we all have fun doing that right?
Unfortunately, I can feel my concentration losing, and the desire to play video games and let my mind regenerate is overwhelming. I will sign-off on that note, but there’s certainly more to come – the challenge during this week is always absorbing and recalling as much knowledge as possible!