A couple weeks ago I did something that really intimidated me. I didn’t go skydiving or anything like that. But I did go to a dance class that was a level too high for me. That may not sound like much to you. For me, it was something I’d wanted to do for a few months but had been too chicken to try.
The class: Jazz Funk. The level: Beginner. Sounds easy, right? But, a “beginner” class at Broadway Dance Center is for someone who has been studying the discipline for 2-5 years. My experience is…a little short of that.
I’d at least had some experience with Jazz Funk. Earlier this year, I did a four week Jazz Funk Absolute Beginner Workshop with Chio at Broadway Dance Center. These Absolute Beginner Workshops are for dancers with 0 dance experience in the discipline, so this was the perfect introduction for me. And since the workshop is typically four weeks longer, Chio offered an extension session, which I happily signed up for. I was able to attend two of the three extension weeks, giving me a total of six weeks of Jazz Funk experience. Just a little less than the Beginner requirements, right? Hehe
Here’s a video for one dance we learned in the follow-on sessi0n. It’s “Close” by Nick Jonas featuring Tove L0.
I really love Chio’s dance and choreography style. It’s sassy and fun. Her choreo tends to be pretty flowy with a good amount of complicated foot-arm coordination that always takes me a bit to get. While it may look like I know what I’m doing here, I put a lot of practice into it. This is choreo from her regular class that we learned over two weeks. Her regulars learned this (and maybe even more!) in one class. For this song, I had the opportunity to practice after class to really get the moves to click in my head. Sometimes I don’t get the choreography until I sleep on it. So after class practice really benefits me.
Fast forward to the present. For this beginner class, I knew I’d have to learn all the choreo right there and then. I was in for a challenge! But Chio had encouraged me to attend her regular classes, so I knew it wasn’t impossible. She didn’t sugarcoat things. She said it would be really hard at first but that things would get easier with time.
Luckily, I had reinforcements. My dance friend Amy came with me. Together, we hovered near the back of class.
The class was packed full of Chio regulars. One of whom I’d recognized from Chio’s videos on YouTube. Charles (with the long blond hair) is just as amazing a dancer in person as in video. I actually got to chat with Charles a bit after class and felt very encouraged from our conversation.
So, how did class go?
The warm-up was fast-paced and pretty intense for a dance class warm-up. Chio is famous for her warm-ups! Luckily, she had broken this down for our ABW, so I felt great here.
For the choreography, Chio did a song they’d done in class before. I could tell many of the regulars remembered it from before, so I was a little nervous that I’d look even more behind. But, I reminded myself to focus on my own learning. As expected, the pace of class was much faster than what I normally do. I had moments where I thought “this isn’t so bad” to moments of “maybe I can sneak out of that back door? It’s so close!”
Not gonna lie, the regulars in class intimidated me too. They were so good and seemed to be following the choreo with no trouble. And when it came time to break into groups, Amy and I sort of hid in one of the corners. I knew I didn’t know all of the choreo through and through, so I decided to do more of a step through in the back. I’m kind of mad at myself for not at least attempting the choreo (and just trying to focus on the parts I did kn0w). But, even attending the class at all was a big step for me, so there’s that. Could be a good goal for next time.
Overall, the class went as I expected. It was hard as hell, but I truly felt more encouraged than defeated. I plan on attending more of Chio’s classes in the future. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have a fabulous Jazz Funk video to share with you all. I do have a good before and after pair of dance videos to share from a different class. Stay tuned for that.
Shout out to Chio, Charles, and Amy for their support with class.
Now, how about you? What’s something you’re scared to try? What are you waiting for? Remember: if you want to change, you have to challenge yourself.1