Refocusing again…and again…and again!

Wow, wow, wow, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged!

Things have been crazy and moving so fast I’m not even sure where to begin,  so I’ll just cut to the chase and fast forward to the realization that I’ve been having recently!

If you were to ask me last year what my main goal was at the time it would be to be signed with a dance agency.

Interestingly enough, the past couple of months have opened a bunch of doors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed for me if I hadn’t known some of the people that I was introduced to by a fellow dancer. These people are dancers that have been dancing for YEARS since before I was even born, and have been so kind and giving with me because they recognize the potential within. You can see them performing just about every week out on Hollywood Boulevard. That’s right, I’m talking about street performers.

I went out to Hollywood Blvd. for a mini-rehearsal tonight and ended up freestyling shortly here and there, and came home with a little more confidence in myself and a better understanding of where I am as a dancer, to boot.

I know a bunch of dancers out here in LA and even some back home in Arizona who started out as strictly freestyle dancers or in crews that would compete in competitions, etc, who eventually started furthering their craft by diving into technique classes (which, for the Arizonans is where our paths really crossed).

I guess you could say that I realized this last year, but I don’t think I had fully accepted it until tonight- I am the complete opposite of the dancers I just described. I started in technique classes, I’ve done plenty of choreography in my dance journey, and now I want to learn how to freestyle.

As some of you may or may not know, part of my passion for dance comes from the freedom it gives me. Even less of you may know that improvisation was one of my favorite things to do in dance class for the reason listed above. Improv is one of the places in dance that has no rules (unless we’re given structure by our instructors). I can throw in whatever styles I want, dance as small or big as I want, move as hard or soft as I want, to the music or not.

Freestyling is a lot like improv, but with the goal of dancing within the means of the music. A different challenge, but a challenge for me nonetheless.

So to sum things up for those that are lost… I’m shifting my mindset. I want to take some time away from classes and learn from people who have been making part of their living by dancing and sharing their passion with passerby on the street. Probably one of the most frequent and strongest suggestions that I’ve heard when it comes to street styles – whether it be popping, locking, breaking, house, waacking, vogueing, etc.- is to learn from the source. These wonderful people are just about as close as I’m going to get to the source for the time being, free of charge, and I feel it’d be crazy not to take this opportunity to learn!

That all being said, I feel it necessary to make it a point to say that I have absolutely nothing against people taking classes at whatever studio you may choose! I’ll be back to taking classes as soon as I’m financially able to. I just wanna take the opportunity to learn from some very seasoned dancers who are willing to train me without cost! 😉

I’ve made the decision to go out and learn from and perform alongside of some of the dancers that make their appearance out on Hollywood Blvd. Freestyling is still a very new thing for me so I’m super nervous about doing it…which I take as a sign that it HAS to be done! haha

And now for the condensed version!!

TL;DR:

  1. Instead of constantly trying to break into the dance industry by getting an agency on my side, I’ve decided to carve my own path for the time being. Once I’ve gained enough knowledge, I’ll make a decision on whether an agent or manager is what I should be looking for. 🙂
  2. I’m gonna be street performing here and there as part of my street-style training! I am all sorts of nervous, but keep an eye out for me if you frequent the Hollywood/Highland area. I have no set dates in mind or anything of that sort but when I feel ready, you’ll definitely know where I’m at thanks to social media. 😉
  3. For those of you in my Elite Team fam, this post is my scary thing for the month of October!! EEK!!

That about wraps things up!! Thank you to everyone being so supportive! For those of you who dance with me on a company or on a team, don’t worry, I’m not dipping out on y’all!! Just doing some rearranging to my dance journey! See you all soon!!

#IAMMOVINGFORWARD!

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And so a new chapter begins…

I can’t believe yesterday marked the sixth month of me being out here in LA. Tomorrow, the 22nd, will mark the end of the first chapter of my LA life at Home for Dancers and the next chapter will open in Koreatown with the amazing Tintin V.- who quickly became one of my closest LA friends when I met him back in August of last year.

It’s been a crazy journey of breakdowns and breakthroughs (but mostly breakthroughs!!) I’ve booked a TV pilot (which nothing came out of so far); I’ve been cut from auditions; I’ve made auditions; I’ve been hired; I’ve been let go; I’ve been in two music videos; I’ve been in a concept video; I’ve been in a dance company debut video I’ve been in a class video; I’ve been called out for groups during classes; I’ve begun to embrace my body; I’ve gotten a bit faster at putting on makeup; I’ve made tons of new friends who I am beyond grateful to have in my life; I’ve begun my first dance video project…

And perhaps one of the biggest things that has come out of my time here in LA is the fact that I (along with the great Michael Avelino and TinTin) will be one of the teachers for the Kpop MVP classes run by Aimee Lee Lucas, LLC.! This is a huge honor to me, and I can’t thank Aimee enough for this opportunity! ❤

Rest assured this is only the beginning of many things to come… next on the list includes agency auditions, an Alvin Ailey audition, and job-hunt part 2.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for being so supportive of me; especially my mom, grandparents, family-friend Jermaine, and my amazing boyfriend, Odom. Thank you for believing in me at times that I didn’t know how to believe in myself and always encouraging me to follow my dreams no matter how far from home they may take me.

Love you all and I hope that everyone has a great 2013! Let’s make this OUR time.

#IAMREADY

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NO JOKE – 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!! 🙂
Hope everyone had a great one!

A lot has been happening in the past few months and I figure now would be a great time to talk about one of the biggest things going on for me! 🙂

November 30th was the first day of the Creating Opps: Elite Team seminar and now that the 4 weeks of the seminar are over I feel ready to take on the world! Elite Team helps you create a project that will pertain to a goal that you would like to attain, and one of my goals was actually to pursue becoming a Kpop choreographer…

And thus, “No Joke -2013” (the working title of my project) was born!

This project involves me creating original choreography to a Kpop song. I chose Block B’s “No Joke” because I’ve been wanting to choreograph to it since I heard it and the choreography that I envisioned was out of my comfort zone because it’s much more hip hop based than my typical contemporary style. And I’ve wanted to choreograph to a Kpop song and have a concept video filmed for it, so everything just fell into place! 🙂

I learned a TON of things in the 4 weeks with Elite Team and encourage ALL dancers who are feeling lost or stuck with what they want/should do in their dance careers to participate in it!!! Apply here: http://www.creatingopps.com/eliteteam/ I promise you that you won’t regret it!

Oh, and I’ll be posting the link to the video when it’s finished (likely in March sometime) so stay tuned! 😉

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Don’t be afraid to move!

A few weeks back, I took Willdabeast’s class at Millennium. It was fun tour-style choreography and I really enjoyed it, and found myself keeping up with the pace quite well.

A little past halfway through the class, two boys came in, maybe around 9 or 10 years old, and Willdabeast invited the two of them (who he proclaimed as his protégés) to come to the front of the class since they had already learned the choreography he was teaching.

One of the boys impressed me with how he grooved to the music without reservation, and I realized that was part of what made him such a good dancer overall. He wasn’t afraid to move to the music in whatever way his body chose while he listened to it.

He wasn’t just grooving to fill in time between the first couple of eight counts of the music and when the choreography started; he was dancing because he truly enjoyed dancing.

He continued to be great in the next class as well, moving on his own whenever it was called for and doing a great job of helping the next instructor (Kenya Clay) remember her choreography -since he had been in her class when she had taught it before.

Something I often discuss with dancers who are close to my age is how part of the reason that young kids are so great and so fun to watch and blow us all out of the water is because they are 100% unashamed at all times. They’re not worried about looking “cool” while doing the choreography, they’re not stressing about how the person next to them seems to be picking up choreography at lightning speed, they’re not thinking “I have to do this really good so I can get picked for a group today”; They’re wholeheartedly dancing simply because they LOVE to dance.

Those boys from Willdabeast’s class reminded me of why I continue to dance to this day- because it’s something that I LOVE. That I shouldn’t worry about what I look like, because as long as I’m ENJOYING myself, there’s a good chance that I look good while doing it- and even if I don’t, WHO CARES?

This segues into what happened for me at my last class of the day.

I took Karon Lynn’s class again after avoiding it like the plague since I first took it back in July. When I took his first class I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, his musicality was extremely difficult for me to follow, and I just felt like at the end of class I had crashed and burned.

But this second time was completely different.

I walked into class nervous, not sure what to expected since I hadn’t done his choreography in forever, but I pushed through that nervousness, constantly reminding myself, “It doesn’t matter if you get picked for a group or not, just do your best and take away as much from the class as you can, and most importantly HAVE FUN.”

Lo and behold, I held that mindset throughout the class, and ended up getting picked for one of the groups that went up. We weren’t recorded, but the fact of the matter is that something in me had clearly improved to the point that I got put in a group at the end. I had accepted that I couldn’t do multiple body rolls like Karon did as he walked back in the first couple of steps of choreography, but I did the best that I could and I concentrated on myself, only watching others when it was time to support each other as each half of the room went up to do the routine.

It was a really special moment for me, not because I “killed” the routine or because I did it perfectly and got recognized for doing such (because none of the above things happened in any way), but because I remembered the reason that I dance.

Because it’s my PASSION and it is truly something that I CANNOT live without.

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Freak. Your. Dream.

For those of you who are reading this and are completely unaware, let me start this post off by saying that I am a fan of Korean pop music, a.k.a. “Kpop”. I’ve been a fan of it for about 3 years now, and still going fairly strong (despite the less-than-great internet connection that I have where I’m staying that keeps me from enjoying new music videos in 1080p without horrendously long loading times).

I’m a Kpop fan for many reasons; the 90’s nostalgia that I get from the abundance of girl and boy groups in that are produced; the upbeat danceable tracks that are released frequently; the catchy choreography…

And that last reason is one of the biggest ones.

When I say the choreography is “catchy,” I mean it; there are always moves that remain in your mind and linger there every time you hear the song.

I bring this up because, out of all the panels that I could have attended, I only chose to attend TWO of them.

The first of the two was the Choreographer’s Panel, where Aimee Lee Lucas, Ellen Kim, Kyle Hanagami, and Rino Nakasone were speaking about what it’s like to work with Kpop groups, how the choreography process works out in Korea, etc.

In a turn of interesting events, I recently became an overnight lover of Rino, who’s love and passion for dance is blindingly clear and almost brought me to tears when I saw it in her GAP commercial from Japan. (I kid you not when I saw I almost cried watching this. She was just so happy and full of life and love for dance; and it was so obvious that it was genuine that it made me happy FOR her that she’s out there dancing.)

During the panel I basically got a much needed pep talk from the choreographers (especially from Rino) and I am forever grateful for that.

I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately; feeling myself lacking motivation to start taking as many classes as possible again; I still wasn’t 100% sure about what my long-term goal was other than making auditions, i.e, what I want career wise (and I’m still not 100% clear about it, really); and I’ve been accomplishing things but still feeling like I’m not accomplishing as much as some of the people that I am around.

The pep talk was this in a nutshell (which doubles as my TL;DR for today):

  1. Take classes and work hard in them. Don’t worry about how good everyone else is, just focus on learning.
  2. Study the people who you think are good, and figure out what it is that makes them good.
  3.  You may have your OWN “Korea”. In other words, your path may not be the same as someone else’s, but that doesn’t make either path any less important.
  4. Don’t be jealous. #3 ties in with this as well. Love each other. Encourage your fellow dancers and the people around you. Be each other’s support system.

I needed to hear this. ALL of this. Whether I had heard it before or not, I needed someone to basically pull me aside and say “if you want it, GO FOR IT” and this was the equivalent.

To top off the day, the second panel I went to was for Aimee Lee Lucas‘ workshop where she taught B.A.P.’s “No Mercy”. I had learned the choreography a few days prior because I was her assistant at her M.V.P. class the night before KCON; and because of some last minute changes I ended up assisting her during the workshop at KCON, as well.Add that to the fact that I recognized some of the grooves used in many of the Kpop groups’ choreography (basic hip hop classes have been treating me well!) and the fact that I got to be with some amazing, wonderful people who are just as in love with Kpop as I am…I would easily call October 13th, 2012 a fantastic day.

In the words of the Beat Freaks,

Freak your dream!

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Up and at ’em.

I’ll be trying out a new blog posting method, so please bear with me as I attempt to post my first update in this manner. 🙂

(This method is also subject to change, but I’ll try to keep my TL;DR at the end of all my blog posts, regardless of the manner in which they are written.)

The (nearly) two weeks of torture (or 2T as I have just now decided to nickname them) have finally ended. My pinky toe is well on the road to full recovery, all that is necessary at this point is for me to listen to my body and make wise decisions based on how I’m feeling that day.

The beginning of the end of 2T was the Show Off Dance Company audition – which I received an email for because I auditioned for Show Off Dolls (a burlesque-fusion crew whose dancers often trained within SODC). It was one of the best auditions I have had EVER, and I’m hoping to hear back from them next week or so. I definitely have a good feeling about it.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Coffee Bean, but after calling today and talking with the store manager (who told me that if it was up to him -as opposed to his General Manager I would already have the job), I have a good feeling about that as well.
If anything, I think the two weeks of torture were meant to teach me patience, and to reevaluate the way I’ve been thinking about classes. I’ve gotten lazy at a time that I should be pushing myself to take as many classes as physically possible every single day. I should be grateful that I am even able to dance at all, that my injury wasn’t bad enough to keep me out of the game longer than a couple of weeks, and that I have received this opportunity to take classes for FREE. If I have to rearrange my dance schedule because of a full-time job then I am more than willing to do it because I need financial sustainability in the long-run. It is also because of this, however that I really need to take advantage of all the free time I DO have at this moment to take classes and train and progress.

 

A huge thank you to all that read this post!

As for those who are pressed for time (or just prefer my summarized versions), the TL;DR is below. 🙂

TL;DR:

  • Patience is necessary. There’s just no way around it. The skill comes in when you learn when to pursue opportunities and be persistent in making it known that you are interested, and when to pull away and give people ample time to make decisions. This does not mean to sit and wait for EVERYTHING to happen. It only means waiting for a response when a response is necessary to move forward. You can’t expect to receive something if you never even attempted to ask for it in the first place.
  • It’s time to stop being lazy and take advantage of my free classes. When my Millennium scholarship is up I can make the transition to taking more classes at Debbie Reynolds, but for now, it’s best to use what I’ve been given for as long as I can.
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NoHo: Week 8!

NoHo Week 8 updates!

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