Dallas Black Dance Workshop 2011: Day 1

The nerves kicked in as soon as I entered the classroom. The other students are much younger than I expected. Most of them are students at Booker T. Washington, making them at least 10 years younger than me, Oh Boy. Thank goodness I had my friend and fellow dancer Jordan Asa there for moral support. 🙂

Our first class is Graham technique with Dudley Williams. I haven’t taken a Graham class in years but my body still remembered most of the movement. (Thank God for muscle memory.) We spent the first 40 minutes on the floor doing a series of contract and release exercises. We then did some exercises across the floor which included walking, opposition walking and a combo that included walking, upper body curves and attitudes.

Next up is jazz with Jamal Story. Ah my comfort zone! We stretched to some sultry jazz music. The perfect atmosphere f body isolations and hip rolls. My favorite things. We moved on to a plie combo that traveled from right to left. His warm-up exercises are a yummy blend of simple technique mixed with challenging arm and direction changes. We then kicked, pranced and jumped our way across the floor before learning the first part of a comb with lots of musicality and attitude. So pumped to learn more.

We finished the evening with African Dance with Baba Chuck Davis. By this point my body had enough and I really struggled through warm up. The movement is simple enough but when you do it at lightening speed I just couldn’t keep up. I had to take a break and gather my strength. Being the Dance history buff I am, I enjoy learning about the African traditional dancing which includes some chanting, singing and drum playing. Also, every movement has a meaning and when you put them together you tell a story. There is so much more to learn and I just hope I can make it through the whole class today.

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