Dance Planet 16 successfully introduces a variety of dance styles through free master classes
Dallas – Hundreds of performers, dancers and dance enthusiasts filled the hallways of Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts March 31-April 1 for Dance Planet 16, presented by the Dance Council of North Texas.
With more than 30 FREE master classes to choose from I had a difficult time selecting my Saturday classes. After much thought (mainly how sore I was going to be later) I ended up taking Modern with Joshua Peugh, the associate director of the Bruce Wood Dance Project, and Yoga with Nicole Payseur who currently holds a 500-hour certification from Yoga Works.
No matter how old you are or how many dance classes you have taken walking into a new class with an unknown instructor is still intimidating. It didn’t help that the class, which was held in Studio C on the street level of Booker T., was packed with some 50 plus dancers dressed in sport tops and tiny shorts showcasing their long limbs and toned bodies. Even the young men appeared loose and limber in their form fitting pants and T-shirts. Ages ranged from early teens to late twenties and even a few more seasoned dancers. Many of the dancers go to Booker T. but I also spoke to some people from Colin County Community College and Eastfield College.
Peugh began class with an improvisational exercise that had us rubbing imagery oil all over our bodies. Peugh aided our explorations with saying such as “Feel the warm of your hand on your body. Feel the softness of your knees, shoulders and hips and your passion to move. Now start moving around slowly.” His soothing voice helped me let go of my technique and simply enjoy moving. As our movement quickened Peugh encouraged us to surprise ourselves. “Have the ability to laugh at yourself. Today’s class is about connecting you to your love for dance and your love for movement.”
The rest of class was dedicated to a short combination filled with quirky swirls, walks, turns and body pops. And Peugh surprised us all when he turned on a Pit bull song. He then broke us into four groups and told us to go for it. Everyone gave it their all and each group was rewarded with hoots and applause. The entire class was filled with excited energy and a sense of unity that only occurs in the right place with the right teacher.
The Yoga class afterward was a more intimate affair. About 20 of us stretched on our mats while Payseur went around introducing herself and asking each of us about our problem areas. Her calm energy immediately put me at ease. We started class with a couple of breathing exercises to help us clear our minds before moving into some familiar Yoga poses i.e. child pose, plank and downward facing dog.
Who knew breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth would be so difficult. I kept taking shallow breaths and had a hard time relaxing my jaw. Add in some very still asymmetrical stretches and my body was spent. At the end of class we breathed in peace, exhaled fear; breathed in prosperity, exhaled doubt; and breathed in love, exhaled hate. I left class feeling pleasantly tired. I am now in search of my next Yoga class.