Dance

So You Think You Can Dance

I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. If you’re not too familiar with the show, it is a dance competition to find the best dancer who is competent to dance in all forms of dance ranging from contemporary to Bollywood. The dancers are paired up each week and challenged to a style of dance. The couple with the least amount of votes from the viewers who call in are put in the bottom three. Then they have to dance for their life and the judges eliminates one or two dancers depending on how many left. After rounds and rounds, one dancer is left and wins it all!

I love this show for many reasons because you see dancers go out of their comfort zone to dance in a different styles. Through their athleticism and mental capacity, they execute the dance like they were never new to it. I am always amazed at how well they perform so comfortably on stage.

I can talk about this show for days and watch the performances on YouTube for hours but I won’t do that just yet.

My friend, Cindy, called KIIS FM one night to win any free tickets they were offering. After several attempts, they miraculously picked up her call and she ended up winning two tickets to So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Tour! Thankfully, she invited me knowing that I used to dance and would extremely appreciate this show.

The show was at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live. Right after security check, I recognized a well-known dancer in the dance community but also a former SYTYCD contestant. With a huge grin on my face yet feeling painfully shy, I approached him and asked hesitantly, “Are you Ch…” I was not even able to say his whole last name. He was able to read me like a book that I was having a fan girl moment. In the background, Cindy yelled sarcastically, “Have some confidence!” The dancer laughed and responded, “Sounds like a personal coach there! And yes, I’m Chbeeb.” I then asked like any other fan girl if we could take a picture together. Thanks to my “personal coach”  for taking the picture.

A crowd of young girls and their moms started to notice that I was taking a picture with someone special. One of the moms even asked me, “Who is he?” Exhilarated by this moment, I quickly said, “He was a former contestant on SYTYCD and he’s in Taylor Swift’s recent music video Shake It Off!”

If you are curious about his performance in T-Swift’s music video, check out the video below. He’s one of the hip-hoppers who is in a silver jumpsuit and does some tutting.

Cindy was not excited as much as I was since she was not aware of this show.

Side note: I fan girl when I see well-known dancers. I would probably get more nervous and excited to meet dancers compared to Hollywood actors.

We were seated in the orchestra section but on the far right of the stage. They were pretty decent seats especially for being free! Could not complain!

All of the performances that night were truly breath taking. There is something about watching people dance so elegantly with so much emotion that makes the viewers feel so vulnerable. Cindy and I definitely had moments where we were moved by the stories shared on stage. I even had quite a few moments where I got emotional and teary-eyed.  So many of the routines were so powerful that it just made me speechless.

During intermission, we explored the theater and found another former dancer on SYTYCD. We met Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall who was the first hip-hop dancer to win SYTYCD Season 10.

It was such an honor to meet him because he paved a new way to inspire other hip hop dancers that it is possible to accomplish as much as he did on the show. Usually, the contemporary dancers win the show but with his win, he turned the show around!

After intermission, the show continued to amaze me and Cindy. The Bollywood and hip-hop dances made us want to dance on stage with them! That obviously did not happen but maybe next time we will consider doing that.

The show ended around 10pm and I was ready to go home to YouTube everything! Here is something that was not on the tour but I really enjoyed this piece from Season 11:

Thank you, thank you Cindy for inviting me to this! I hope we can go again together for the next season! Let’s choreograph something and possibly audition for this show! Ok, see you at the auditions!

 

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Sam Smith

In the past week, I’ve been listening to Sam Smith’s music on repeat through Spotify. The addiction all started when I learned a danced to “Dirty Boy” by La La La which featured Sam Smith.

After I learned the dance, I researched the music at home. From Wikipedia, I learned that Sam Smith is from the UK! He was born in 1992, so you know that means he’s one very young talented singer! I then realized that he is the one who also sings “Stay With Me” which is a beautiful song.

After that, I was caught off guard that he also sings “Lay Me Down” which is another beautiful song filled with heavy emotion.

I’ve listened to all of these songs multiple times before especially on the radio but somehow never knew the artist. If TRL still existed on MTV, I would have learned about Sam Smith sooner! Nowadays, I don’t know who sings what until I make the effort to research it or stumble upon it online just like now.

Question. Am I the only one who’s surprised by how his voice doesn’t match his appearance? There’s so much maturity within his lyrics and in his voice for a young adult! That voice of his is one of a kind. It’s soulful, powerful, and simply unique. Perhaps you can compare him to Adele where they’re both honest in their music and actually talented! And the obvious common denominator is that they’re both from the UK.

I feel relieved now that I know Sam Smith at a personal level after all that research. Ok, back to listening to him on repeat!

Thank you Kaba Modern’s dance class for encouraging me to discover new music. Final thanks to YouTube and Wikipedia for helping me with my research on Sam Smith!

Kevin Garcia | Hunter by Pharrell

I took another class from Kaba Modern at Focus Dance Center but this time Kevin Garcia taught the class! We learned a dance to Hunter by Pharrell. The choreography and the music itself had an old funk soul to it which made it more fun to dance in that style.

The class was pretty challenging because there were some intricate parts to that choreography! When everyone was dancing downwards, I was the one who was up. I was pretty much all over the place as the choreography became more difficult. In the midst of that though, I had a lot of fun and was inspired by the other dancers in that room! Check out what we learned and please don’t look for me but it might not be hard to find me, heh…

Kevin Garcia mentioned how dope Pharrell’s new album, Girl, is. Right after that class, I started listening to his album and I must say, it is dope! There’s a new taste to his style that I’m really digging!

K-Gar aka Kevin Garcia said that he’s more on the quiet side but when you see him dance, you definitely see his personality come out. Watch his group audition in the video below. He’s the one who starts on the right side.

I hope Kevin Garcia teaches more in the future! I’m looking forward to seeing him perform live and on YouTube!

Dancing In The Dark

There are some dances out there online that I can watch on repeat for hours and hours especially when the dancers can evoke such deep and raw emotions for the viewers to experience. I recently watched one that gave me the chills and brought me into a pensive mood. Watch Dancing In The Dark performed by Matt Luck and Emma Portner:

Did this dance just change your mood or what? Did it make you pause and think for a second? It sure made me reflect on the lyrics and the emotions that built up within me. Even though I’ve seen this so many times, I am constantly in awe by the artwork of this dance. You can feel the story they are telling us because Matt and Emma are so honest in every movement within this dance. They dance so effortlessly and flawlessly that their story is told naturally.

Thanks Chelsea for sharing this beautiful dance with me! Oh man, I’m definitely going to watch again now.

Mike Song | Stranger by Skrillex

Mike Song is a dancer and choreographer who I admire just from watching his work on YouTube. I thought I would never be able to take a class from him because of the difficulty of how meticulous his work is, but when I found out that he was teaching at Focus Dance Center in Irvine, I knew I had to take his class. To be honest, I was really scared because it’s MIKE SONG. He is one creative artist who is so talented that it’s intimidating. I just thought his class would be so hard but it was totally what I did not expect.

He broke down every 8 count so thoroughly that it was easy to remember. Now, the challenging part about the class was to make the moves look good. I couldn’t overcome that challenge because I just don’t have that swag yet. What I cared the most was remembering the choreography. Because I haven’t danced in a long, long time, my memory in picking up choreography isn’t as quick as before. But because he took the time to explain every move clearly, I was able to catch on! Thank you, God!

We learned a fun piece to Stranger by Skrillex. Here’s a clip of what he taught us that night:

After watching him do his solo, I realized that what made the dance look so good was the fact that there were small and natural movements that created a powerful statement. For this choreography in particular, less was more.

Chelsea, this is for you. Check out one of his most popular videos that got him to Ellen Degeneres’ show with his mom:

Ok, one more video! Check this one out also:

If you want to take Mike Song’s class in the future or any other classes hosted by Kaba Modern, feel free to join me at any time! April is a perfect month to take these classes since Kaba Modern is hosting 12 classes this month in Irvine. Each class is $10 to drop in or you can purchase the package for $40 to attend all 12!

Thanks RPM for challenging me this month to be active by trying a new physical activity! Also, thank you Kat, Daniel, and Andrew for joining me spontaneously! Lastly, thanks Mike Song (if you read this), for making this class so much fun and memorable for me and especially for my friends who were first timers in taking a dance class!

Back to Tap

I took a tap class at Jimmie DeFore Dance Center in Costa Mesa for the first time in 11 years! Eleven years, I tell you! Eleven! I had this planned out at least a week in advance and I was so excited that I dreamt about it the night before! I actually don’t remember my dream but I remember waking up and thinking how ridiculous it was to have dreamt it.

I decided to take a beginning level class because I was afraid that I forgot the terminologies in tap or that I just forgot everything. I got to class early and had the chance to just play around. Tapping for the first time was like tapping my foot in the pool just to see how cold the water was. I was shy and scared of what sound to make but once I started tapping here and there, it just all came to me and I was so ready to tap my life away!

Overall, the class was a lot easier than expected. Sometimes at Jimmie Defore, their beginning classes can actually be hard because there are experienced dancers in the class but not in this case. Luckily, there were a few first time tappers so it wasn’t so intimidating. We did a warm up, went across the floor, and did some improvisation.

After class, I stayed a few minutes longer to tap my heart out. Here’s a brief clip of me doing some random tapping:

Ever since that class, I’ve been wanting to tap dance everywhere I go! I just can’t wait for my next class to tap some more! Because I’m so in love with tapping right now, I started YouTubing tap dances. I found a cute tap routine on Cups sung by Anna Kendrick from the movie Pitch Perfect. Check this dance out:

I loved how smooth yet crisp they were in their rhythm and movements. You can really hear them hit every beat that possibly exists in that song. I would love to learn this routine one day!

The next time I take another tap class, I’m hoping to learn a routine and record it for you to see! Wish me luck in my next class because I’m definitely going to step up my game!