I’ve really been wanting to take a dance class. Start searching online and find a place that does swing – Mike considers doing it with me. Seems expensive. I find another place called Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City. It has so many different classes to choose from. I tell Mike I’ll try it first and see what it’s like. Narrow down my options by seeing what classes work with my schedule. There’s a 12:30 class on Thursdays called Pop Video. This could be really cheesy. I have no idea, but what the heck, I’ll try it.
It’s not far, but with stupid traffic, I get there just as class is starting and beg the lady to let me in before filling out the mandatory paperwork. She does. I rush in as the class is warming up. The music is loud. There are about eight girls here. The instructor is Brandon – tall, black, very fit, incredibly talented, and I’ll say a little flamboyant. He’s amazing. And just seems happy about life. After the warm up, he changes the music and begins the choreographed dance. Everything is done in 8 counts. You know you’re starting after he says, “5,6,7,8.” Then he counts out loud, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.” He goes through the 8 counts, then breaks it down and does it slower. Sometimes he’ll only do 4 counts at a time if it’s a relatively difficult move. Once we’ve got it, we go back to regular time and do it fast. Then he stops doing it with us and watches. And again. And again. Once we’ve got it, we move onto the next 8 counts.
Once we have that, he’ll say from the top, and we’ll start over from the beginning. Most times Brandon will just twirl his finger or top the tap of his head. That’s our signal to get ready to go again. Because the music is really, really loud. Which I love. I’ve always listened to music as loud as it would play. In elementary school we all got to do the morning announcements at some point. It was just over the loudspeaker, and all I remember is getting to pick the song that played. Obviously, I picked River of Dreams by Billy Joel and played it so loud that no one could hear it because it was crackling too much. Another time we were doing a performance to Genesis’ We Can’t Dance. No idea why our teacher let us do this in class, but I was again blaring it as loud as possible and was immediately yelled at to turn it down. I tried. Anytime I had the chance to blare music at home, I did. Usually when no one else was around, because it was obnoxiously loud or because no one wanted to listen to the music I was playing.
Brandon plays a new song every time, but somehow, the moves always seem to go with the song. (The dance is all for one specific song, but he won’t play the real song until the end of class.) He gives us a water break and I can’t stop smiling. This is so fun! I immediately think of Colette and the Stever twins. They would love this. Brings me back to our lip sync contest days. We would practice sort of like this, learning new moves until we got it down, then starting over from the beginning and bringing it all together.
Some of the moves are harder for me to get. I’m a little intimidated that a lot of people are getting them down so fast, but there are others who aren’t quite catching on, so I don’t feel too bad. Brandon finally reveals the real song this is for – Die Young, by Ke$ha. Oh my God I love this song. I was just thinking the other day how I still love this song and most people are probably sick of it by now. I’m always behind on current music, so I almost always still like it after it’s been played out. By the end of class we have the first half of the dance down. Brandon turns up Ke$sha and we perform it for him about six times in a row. After class I find out that most of these girls already learned this on Monday and just came back to get the moves down. Now I really feel better. No wonder they were getting the moves so quickly!
Next Friday night I go to the 5:00 class and it’s packed, as I figured a night class would be. Again, the second half of the dance was already taught earlier this week, so I’m playing catch up to learn with the others. (This is how I will probably always do it, because who wants to learn the same moves two classes in a row?) At the end, Brandon splits us up into two groups and we watch each other perform. He sets up a camera in the corner of the room to record us. I watch the group and realize how much I didn’t notice any of them while we were practicing. It’s really hard to observe others when you’re staring at Brandon to get the moves right and then staring at yourself to make sure you look like him. Some of them are really good. Some are really bad. I think it’s safe to say I fall somewhere in the middle. Then we all come together and do it one last time. I am on such a high.
The following week is only one dance for the one week – some song by Beyonce about being a freak all night. Something like that. I don’t know it, but it’s still fun. The week after that it’s Rihanna’s Where Have you Been? Who doesn’t love Rihanna? I only learn the first half and love it. I’m getting more and more into these dances and letting go a bit. It actually reminds me of improv in that you can’t care about what other people think. Letting go is liberating. I’m obsessed with Pop Video!
Oh, there are a couple guys in class now and again. But I don’t think this is up Mike’s alley.